I miss last March

Maybe you recall that almost exactly a year ago, I posted this weather forecast for Chicago:


(It actually ended up being much warmer than that.)

And here’s the current 5-day forecast for Chicago:

Screen Shot 2013-03-14 at 8.21.13 PMI just. I can’t.

I guess a lot can change in a year. Including the weather.com website design, apparently.

If you live in Chicago and are a true masochist, check out more posts here and here about the freakishly gorgeous weather we had a year ago, which I will now refer to as The Golden Age.



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

Do you ever type “carliecrash.com” 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 “megancrash.com”?  No…that kinda sounds weird.   Okay, you can keep your blog title.  🙂

Instagram lately

Don’t mind me. I’m just here on my couch working and occasionally finding a minute here and there to edit my photos from NYC. So in the meantime, you get… Instagram! (I’m really using these Instagram posts as a crutch, aren’t I?)

Polka dots and arm candy. If I ever start a band, I think that’s what I’m going to call it. And I shall play the bass. (Thick bracelet is from C.Wonder in NYC, thin bracelet is from Italy and polka dots are from Anthropologie on sale.)

“I just want to be alone.”

View of the Chicago Public School teachers striking from my office window. And that is all I will say about that touchy subject. #callmeSwitzerland

Look! It’s my friends Kelly and Luke getting married last weekend at the gorgeous Cuneo Mansion! (Confession: I did not take this photo. I was honestly having too much fun at this wedding to even think about reaching for my camera. I totally stole this Instagram pic from my friend Sheena–hope she doesn’t mind!) (Fun fact: The Cuneo Mansion is where My Best Friend’s Wedding was filmed.)

Another wedding pic stolen from Sheena featuring some of my favorite people on the planet. (Side note: Check out Sheena’s new education blog if you’re interested in how she’s piloting an iPad program in her classroom. Very cool!)

The wedding after party.

A shot from our Saturday evening stroll. Sometimes I forget how lucky I am to be able to walk ten minutes down the street and see this. Not this time, though. I was feeling pretty lucky.

And just when I thought Saturday night couldn’t get any better, we ended up at Sprinkles! They may look like boobs (what’s with that??), but these cupcakes are cray-mazing. Peanut butter chocolate for the win!

40 years of wedded Bliss

My amazing parents have been married for 40 years. Four zero. That’s a long time.

We celebrated their love in style last Saturday night on a yacht cruise on Lake Michigan and in the Chicago River. And if you have anything to celebrate, at all, for any reason, ever, I would highly recommend this method. We rented the SunSea yacht for 3 hours, capped off by the fireworks display at Navy Pier and it was one of the best nights ever.

Congrats Mom and Dad! I love you guys!

P.S. After this party, and Kelly’s bachelorette party, I’ve had a very yacht-y month! Awesome.

Cray-mazing weekend

Yes, I’m still trying to make cray-mazing happen. All the cool kids are saying it, and I suggest you get on board.

But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about my epic weekend, made possible by my awesome husband and our 5th anniversary (whoa), beautiful weather, my friend Kelly’s bachelorette party, and one gorgeous yacht.

Well done, weekend. You really outdid yourself this time.

In case you’re curious, Will and I celebrated our anniversary with drinks at RM Champagne Salon and dinner at Piccolo Sogno. Both places were great and had amazing patios.

The yacht (oh the yacht...) belongs to a friend of Kelly’s sister, and has refueled my quest to find a BFF who owns a boat. The search continues. Apply within.

And that about wraps up my super fun weekend of celebrating with people I love. Doesn’t get much better. This life of mine is kind of ridiculous in the best way possible.


The office I work at right now is in the heart of a very busy part of the Loop. This is a place where various individuals and/or groups like to position themselves along the sidewalks holding up protest signs, asking for money, handing out pamphlets, pushing petitions and trying to convince you to change your feelings regarding politics/religion/morals/having discussions with complete strangers on the street.

There’s also a woman selling chocolate and singing the same song everyday. (“World’s Finest Chocolate, how ya doin’ today!”)

Yesterday, as I did my “city walk” through this three-ring circus to grab some lunch (sunglasses on, brisk walk, no eye contact), I was approached by no less than three people who mistook me for someone actively seeking information on the evils of abortion.

The first person shoved a pamphlet in my face, forcing me to do a quick sidestep as I narrowly avoided sustaining a paper cut to the eye.

The second person just stood there, her assault tactic being the picture of a ginormous bloody human fetus on her protest sign.

And the third person actually stepped into my path and  tried to talk to me (the worst!), asking, “Do you have a minute to help stop the mass murder of innocent babies?”

Well that’s a loaded question if I ever heard one.

“No,” was my response.

No, I would rather let those innocent babies die because they are less important than me getting to Subway one minute faster. And I’m a horrible person. Is that what you want me to say??

I just have one question for these people: If you are pro-life, then why are you making me want to kill you??

Also, some advice: Don’t mess with me at lunchtime. When I’m hungry, helping fetuses not get murdered takes a backseat to putting a turkey sub in my stomach.

And now you know why I’m going to hell.

I’m just wondering, how many people actually say, “Yes, I do have a minute, as a matter of fact. I was just walking aimlessly through the Loop, hoping someone would come up to me and engage me in conversation. I have absolutely nothing else I need to be doing right now.”


I’d like to get some stats on that.

And before I start getting hate comments, I’d just like to say that I’m not necessarily pro-choice or pro-life.  I’m just anti-getting accosted in the street. If you’d like to share your political/religious/moral views with me, I’m all ears–that’s what the comment section is for!

Rant over.

Image via

Wham, Bam, Instagram

Just being my usual slacker self over here, with not much time to formulate a post of any sort of substance…

So thank God for Instagram! Here’s a little peek at what I’ve been up to this past week:

Enjoying some beautiful weather… checking out the fancy new Target on State Street… walking to Kilwin’s for my beloved chocolate peanut butter ice cream… hanging out in my deserted office on a Friday afternoon (but not for too long!)… getting in some beach time… attending the gorgeous wedding of Dan and Kaitlin… and, of course, showering The Cutest Dog in the World with adoration.

That’s a good week in my book!


Last week, Will and I had a moment of complete insanity and indulgence.

A friend was able to score 4 tickets to Next restaurant and invited us to go. And even though it was a total splurge (I’m pretty sure we could go on a weekend vacation for the amount we spent), it was absolutely worth it.

Have you heard of Next? It’s a Grant Achatz restaurant (of Alinea fame), but the cool thing is that it changes every three months. When we went, the theme was Sicily. Other concepts from the past include El Bulli, Childhood and Paris 1906. You have to buy tickets ahead of time–and they are NOT easy to get. So you understand why we HAD to go.

Everything I ate (and drank) was delicious. I even ate some swordfish, and I HATE fish. I would actually very much appreciate it if every single fish would disappear from the earth and never return because they are ugly, smelly, slimy, scaly horrid creatures. I don’t even care about the environmental ramifications that would result. But the swordfish did not make me gag, and that says a lot.

The very best thing we ate was the pork shoulder above. (Sorry for the blurry photos, I didn’t have my good camera with me.) It was served with a spoon – that’s how soft and melt-in-your-mouth juicy it was. So crazy. And amazing. Cray-mazing! See? It inspired me to create a whole new word just to describe it!

I honestly can’t remember everything we ate–there were a lot of courses, all of which included wine. But I do remember that this was a blood orange granita. Or taste bud heaven, as I like to call it.

And for dessert, they brought out some sort of insanely delicious cake that used to be made by Sicilian nuns, plus some other assorted treats.

Here’s what the menu looked like. But unless you can read Italian, it’s not super informative.

In addition to the amazing mouth party we were treated to, the service was also excellent. We got tons of information and history about each dish that came out, and our wine glasses were never empty.

Cray-mazing, I tell you. Simply cray-mazing.

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!