Medieval Times

At the end of February 20 years ago, I turned 11 and my friend Kate turned 10. And how did we decide to celebrate? A birthday feast at Medieval Times! (Festivities also included playing Dr. Mario for several hours.)

In the spirit of nostalgia, we decided to celebrate our 31st and 30th birthdays this year by convincing our families to head back to that very same majestic concrete castle to don paper crowns, check out some jousting, and eat mini chickens using only our hands.

SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSCWe were cheering for the Black & White Knight. Sadly, he met his untimely end at the hand of the Red Knight, who seemed like kind of a jerk. But whatever.

Even though our knight lost and we were perhaps the only group in attendance who was not accompanied by at least one child under the age of 12, it was a great way to celebrate. And now that I’ve got both feet planted firmly in the 4th decade of my life, it’s kind of fun to revisit a childhood memory. Because what they say is true–“some things never change.”

They also say “31 is the new 21.” Or did I make that up? Either way, it’s true.

New Orleans

It’s been a big month for New Orleans. First the Superbowl, then Mardis Gras and then… the Irwins!



Two weekends ago, Will and I were strolling through the French Quarter, debating the difference between Cajun and Creole (does anyone know??) and popping into random bars for a drink while the upbeat notes of New Orleans jazz floated out of the clubs as we passed by.

The Big Easy did not disappoint. I was also impressed by the massive southern estates in the Garden District and the National WWII Museum, where we ended up spending the better part of a day.

Besides the obligatory stop at Cafe du Monde for cafe au lait and beignets, we also exercised our taste buds at Stanley, Lilette, Cochon Butcher, Sucre, Napoleon House, The Ruby Slipper Cafe and Domenica.

Eating, drinking and walking = a true Irwin vacation.

Lazy and Graze-y

When it comes to food preparation, I just don’t participate. The only effort I expect to exert in order to get food into my mouth is picking it up or stabbing it with a utensil and putting it there.

Obviously, this is not a realistic way to consume a nutritious and balanced diet. Thus, occasionally I find myself having to do other things like stirring, chopping, mixing and turning on the oven. What the hell?

A couple of weeks ago, I discovered my solution to this annoyance, at least when it comes to snacking: Graze!


I went to their website, signed up, and now I receive 4 healthy snacks in a cute little box every week for only $5. They are the perfect size for bringing to work or quickly satisfying an annoying hunger pang.

It’s so easy and it’s NOT McDonald’s, which is a very good thing. They have a huge variety of snack options to choose from and you can rate each snack so they know what you like and what to send more often.

Graze is invite only, but lucky for you, I have an invitation code! If you’re interested, head to their website and enter the code PHD5TW9D. You’ll get your first and fifth boxes for free!

This was not a sponsored post (pretty much none of my posts are), but I just like to make sure my readers are healthy and not starving. Because that’s how much I care about you.


Guess what? The next installment of “Carlie and Will Travel the World” (that’s what I’m calling this period in our lives) has been booked.

We’re going to New Orleans!

I’ve never been there before and CAN’T WAIT to eat beignets, stroll through the pretty streets and watch Will eat seafood (while I eat other delicious things that are not of an aquatic nature because gross.)

I’m planning this pretty last-minute, so if anyone has recommendations for things to do or places to eat, bring ’em on!

Speaking of trips, I thought I’d post some photos from our Ft. Lauderdale vacation in December.

Warning: Living in a cold climate while viewing these photos may result in feelings of sadness, jealousy, longing and hating of where you live. Rest assured, these feelings are normal. But Punxsatawney Phil predicted on early spring on Saturday…so there’s that!


Please stand by

Internet connectivity issues continue to plague the House of Irwin. Also, the plague is plaguing us. As plagues tend to do. But this stuffy nose, scratchy throat and overall feeling that my body may collapse inward on itself at any moment are all getting old. Anyway, I’m posting this from my phone, which is less than ideal. If things don’t improve by the weekend, Comcast WILL be hearing from me, oh yes. And while that may sound like a threat, it’s not – my telephone demeanor is actually quite polite and agreeable. Just know this, Comcast: if, at the end of the call, I say ” Thank you” instead of “Thank you very much“… I am NOT happy with you. And now, a picture of Gatsby:


The lost photos: Rockport 2012

As I mentioned in my last post, a few months ago, my computer decided to refuse to let me upload photos… or anything for that matter.

At that point, I’d had the thing for over 6 years. And although it had been good to me (Apple forever!), it was high time we parted ways.

I’m now writing this post on a beautiful new MacBook Pro. You’d be amazed how much more fun typing is when the keys are all brand new and click-y!

But just because I wasn’t able to upload photos doesn’t mean I wasn’t taking them. And so… here is the first installment of the “lost photos” from the end of last year, highlighting our trip to Rockport (and Gloucester), Massachusetts. Probably my favorite place on earth. Or at least in the continental U.S.


Check out my posts about my Rockport trip last year here and here.



Everything’s broken and I hate everyone

I would have posted a lot more lately, but our Internet connection decided to suck for some unknown reason.

Don’t roll your eyes at me! It’s not an excuse. It’s the truth.

Let’s talk about everything in my life that has malfunctioned this past week, shall we?

Get comfortable.

1. Our hot water heater. Last Wednesday I took an ice cold shower. No, it was colder than ice. I swear. It was painful and completely ineffective. Walking around all day with leftover conditioner matting your hair against your scalp is not pleasant or attractive. On Thursday, I brought 10 cups of warm water into the bathroom with me that I heated up on the stove and poured each of them over my head between washing, shampooing and conditioning. Sadly, 10 cups was not enough. I had to once again rinse out the conditioner in a frigid fury. At least this time I was prepared for the shock. Pounding my chest with my fists a few times, steeling my glare and uttering “LET’S DO THIS” between gritted teeth before stepping into the stream actually seemed to help. On Friday, I took a nice, hot shower thanks to a brand new water heater and I was happy enough to cry. In fact, I’m not completely sure that I didn’t.

2. The CTA. That same Wednesday morning, we encountered utter chaos as we approached the Brown line stop near our apartment. Disaster had struck. There was some sort of issue and the train wasn’t running. Armageddon was upon us (in Chicago commuter terms), and it was every man for himself. We walked by bus stop after bus stop flooded with mobs of angry yuppies tapping away at their iPhones and anxiously shifting in their Uggs. We tried hailing a cab. HA! That was a joke. Finally, 5 blocks later, we got on a bus that would take us within relative walking distance to our office buildings. I was a half hour late for work.

3. My phone. That same day (same day!), my phone battery completely died by 10:30 am. And since then, it’s been pretty much crapping out on me whenever it feels like it. Which is a lot.

4. The Internet. I’m typing this out in Word right now, and before I started writing, I entered in my browser. It’s. still. loading.

5. Hulu. We decided to subscribe to a free weeklong trial of Hulu so we can watch the last few episodes of the 2nd season of Downton Abbey before starting the 3rd season. Good idea, right? It would be if the damn thing actually worked. But with my track record lately, why on earth would I ever assume that? Also, this issue is not related to the Internet because it doesn’t work even when our connection is running smoothly. So in case you’re keeping track, that counts as two separate things that are broken and conspiring against me and I hate them.

6. Our car. Surprisingly, our ’97 Honda Accord is actually still running. But it got towed on Saturday while parked in the Loop, so I thought I’d just tack that on the end of this rant. We had to trek down to the underbelly of the city to pay a fortune to pick it up, and Will thought this would be a nice opportunity for an evening stroll. 15 minutes of dodging pigeons and their excrement beneath Wacker Drive and a somewhat nerve-wracking encounter with a growing group of unsavory-looking individuals proved otherwise. Luckily, it was relatively warm that day, so frostbite was not a concern. Unluckily, I had not checked the forecast and was walking for miles in my big puffy coat in 50-degree weather. I was actually sweating in January, which is gross. And unexpected.

But I have to say that everything else in my life is great, just so I don’t feel like a negative, spoiled, ungrateful person.

Also, here’s one thing that’s not broken (yet):


My new computer! Now I can actually upload photos again – it’s nuts! So look forward to some lost pictures from the past few months. That is, if I can ever get WordPress to load.