oh happy day

i went to a photography class today!

i've been thinking/talking about it for awhile now. after chatting with a friend this week, i figured now is as good a time as ever to do it. well, i lucked out because when i went online yesterday to find a class, there was one starting today. it's at one of the city colleges, so it's a great deal for 7 weeks.

i'm so excited.



our building shakes pretty frequently and at first i would have that native californian knee-jerk reaction of wanting to duck and cover every time i felt a tremor.  over the past few weeks i've grown accustomed to the shaking and told myself there are no earthquakes in chicago.

well, right when i was getting over stressing every time our building shook (like 5 times a day), will tells me that once in awhile there are earthquakes in chicago.  

just great.

sicilian bakery

for some reason, i didn't try many desserts when i was in italy.  i missed out!  but last night we died and went to heaven at pasticceria natalina.  from the moment we walked in, i absolutely loved the place.  it was cozy, with one bar, and the decor was sparse but very well chosen.  the young woman behind the counter was so friendly and helpful.  she described in detail that they don't use any processed or industrial goods in their baking, that everything is made from scratch, and that the desserts are made every morning.

it turned out she was the owner, natalie (thus the name of the shop), along with her husband.  they actually import sheep's milk ricotta from italy and use it in their desserts.  

well, it was SO good.  we ended up getting 3 desserts (will's weakness) and tea.  here is the cannoli we had.  it wasn't super sweet.  it was just right.  and they filled it on the spot, telling us that this was the right way to serve cannoli.  


cabin fever: part 2

lately will and i go out at night because by then i've gone stir crazy.  last night we were desperately in search of a good taco.  how i miss atacor!  we tried el taco veloz, based on chow and yelp reviews, but it was eh.  i don't know about these midwesterners' takes on tacos.  

while waiting for the elevator to go home, we had this convo:

bo:    honey, when do you think it will get warmer?
will:  i don't know honey.
bo:    when will it hit 40 degrees?
will:  i don't know. 
bo:    how about 50 degrees?
will:  i don't know.
bo:    how about 60 degrees?
wlll:  i don't know.  i think it will hit 60 degrees in may.
bo:    MAY????!!!

cabin fever: part 1

i have been struck with cabin fever.  my life consists of cooking, cleaning, looking for a job, and studying for a standardized test, most of which happens inside the house.  i try to make an effort to go outside at least once a day - which is the highlight of my day, including studying at a coffee shop or bookstore, going to the post office and yes, going to target.

it is quite an ordeal, getting out of the house.  the way i described it to an LA friend is, it's like being in big bear everyday.  i wear layers, get in my big poofy down jacket, gloves, earmuffs and boots when i go out.  

part of the problem is that i like to get work done at home during the day.  and i also prefer to get out of the house when the sun is still out.  it's a catch 22.  by the time i'm sick of staying indoors and want to get out, the sun is setting.  another problem is that i don't even want to spend money on a cup of coffee because i'm unemployed. 

btw, this photo has nothing to do with this post.  will wanted me to post it and let you get a glimpse of what you might get if you come visit us.


other wine

will heard about sam's wine here in chicago (like a costco for wine - reminded me of bevmo), so we checked it out over the weekend.  we were looking for an affordable, smooth, not dry cabernet.  the guy there was super helpful and recommended this one:

it's a 2005 cab.  the guy described it as smooth and complex.  it was oak-ey and smokey at the same time.  we loved it.

here are some other wines we have at the moment.  the first is the requisite 2 buck chuck sauv blanc for cooking.  the fetzer (vintage 2006) is one we picked up from the store to pair with cheese and crackers on our date night 2 weeks ago.  it was a wild guess but turned out to be a great riesling.  sweet, of course, but not syrup-y.  everyone we've served it to has loved it.  and $10.


wedding wine

we had the privilege of getting two cases of wine from one of our favorite napa wineries, cosentino.  we had taken a trip to napa in 2007 and visited cosentino, on recommendation from a friend, whose brother-in-law worked there.  well, that friend got us a great deal for our wedding.  so we picked a case of will's favorite (cab) and mine (chardonnay) for the wedding.  

it was great.  i definitely recommend visiting cosentino winery and picking up a bottle if you are ever in napa.  it's a very unpretentious winery with friendly staff.  and you can't find their wines at the grocery store.  

i don't know what happened to the leftovers, or if there were any.  hmmm.


bachelorette wine

allison brought this wine to my bachelorette party.  i think it was a strong wine, but don't quote me on that.  regardless, i liked the bottle. ;)


inauguration celebration

i kept postponing writing about this, and here i am, 4 days later, finally getting to it.  i celebrated the historic inauguration of our 44th president here in chicago.  although i received an invitation, it got to my hands a bit late and so i decided not to go to washington.  

instead, hanna and i went to the silver room to watch it on TV.  a modest crowd of 50-60 gathered to watch together.  i'm glad i went out to watch it with other people, and it wasn't too crazy or crowded.  it was cool to be with other chicagoans.  their pride in ushering in a fellow chicagoan into the presidency was evident.  

the silver room is in an area called wicker park, and it was my first time going out there.  i also ended up cabbing it because i was running late.  my first time on a cab alone!  wicker park is a retro yuppy area.  sorta reminded me of silverlake in LA.

i thought LA had major obama fever.  but when i got to chicago, it was on another level.

anyways, i totally savored watching the inauguration.  it was a great day.

engagement wine

i haven't posted about wine for awhile.  but i wanted to record some stuff, just for my own recollection.  as many of you know, will and i went to santa barbara to celebrate one year of dating.  he ended up taking me back to santa barbara to propose, and it's where we got engaged.

the only wineries i remember trying out that day are zaca mesa and fess parker.  zaca mesa was okay, but we really enjoyed fess parker.  we even took a little nap out there on their big lawn, and another couple was having a picnic there.

more wine posts to come...


the main space

on with the house tour!  this is the other main area besides the bedroom/bathroom.  here is the best view i could get of the entire room.  it contains our living, office, dining and kitchen areas all in one.

here's the sitting area.  i picked light furniture as not to overwhelm the space.  we also have a futon so we could host guests (right).  

here's where we work.  will uses one of the dining chairs at his desk.  

and where we eat.

and where we cook.

and the place from another angle.

that's about it!  now that it's set up, i'm feeling more settled and good about being here.  it's amazing how much having the place set up makes a difference.  


the bedroom

you will see a common theme in our humble abode: IKEA, baby!  i assembled exactly TEN pieces of furniture from ikea with my bare hands, and i have the blisters to prove it.  you would not believe how mind numbing it was to twist the little ikea tool over and over again.  BUT, it is finished, and well worth it!

here's our bedroom.  the walls are a bit bare.  i'm trying to figure out what i want to do - whether i should leave it as is, or put some stuff on the wall above the bed.  will is against making holes in walls.  we shall see.

our home

some people have asked to see pics of our new home, so i will begin posting some.  it is still a work in progress, but we have worked very hard to make a home here!

it has definitely been an adjustment, living in a city.  to get into my unit, i have to walk through two sets of double doors, one set of which i use an electronic key, and then i have to ride up seven floors on a verrry slow elevator.

but the great thing is that public transport is very accessible!  here is our building from the outside.  it's the one on the left.

i've been in chicago for almost 3 weeks now.  it actually feels longer.  i am beginning to feel more familiar with the city.  i've figured out where to shop for what.  we go to the korean grocery store, the neighborhood market, trader joe's, costco, and an organic produce store.  the produce store has been such a great find.  they have really affordable and really fresh produce.  it's just as good as california produce!  i laid out some of the fruit and took a photo.


chicago at sunset

my friend hanna has been here for the last few days, out for an interview.  she took these shots by uic.

we went to intelligentsia coffee last night...

chicago at night

it has been so utterly cold here.  but they say this is the worst they've seen in awhile, so it can only get better right?

here are some photos from last night.  the first is from michigan and randolph.

this church is around the corner from our place.


i'm invited!

my first visitor to chicago came into town last night.  i had asked her to drop by my mom's place and pick up a few things for me.  when i opened the package, i found a large envelope with the return address saying "The Presidential Inaugural Committee".  i opened it and look what i found!

at first i thought it was some kind of joke.  but then i remembered that i had written the congress person, requesting admission to the inauguration!  i feel so honored!

will thinks i should frame it.  my friend thinks i should give it away.  what should i do?  i'm planning on enjoying the festivities in chicago, and i think it's too late for anyone to make plans...

i think i will keep it.


playing in the snow

ok, i promise these are the last pics of our balcony.  i know these pics are totally boring.  i want to take some beautiful outside pics of the snow, but it's always way too cold to take the time to get the camera out and take a pic.  and i can't do it without taking my gloves off.

anyways, the other night we came home and had the urge to make snow angels outside on the pristine snow.  then we ended up just playing in it and throwing it everywhere.  

here it is before, all perfect:

and then after:

and finally, a photo of me walking to the car after dinner with friends.  it was pretty peaceful that night, after having snowed all day.

today we are going to ikea.  yay!  we're having our first guest this week and need to get a futon so she has somewhere to sleep.  and a few other essentials.  it's been an ordeal setting this up, with will's busy schedule, and also because we need to rent a big van as our little honda coup won't be able to fit everything in it.


snow progress

i know i am sooo LA, with my constant posting about the snow, but it really intrigues me.  first off, here is the progress of the snow.  if you look at the second pic on my previous post, you can see how much more snow has fallen since then.

i totally had a moment coming up the elevator at home today.  

so it's been snowing on and off for the last 3 days.  today was the worst.  i guess this is what they call a snowstorm.  anyways, i chose today of all days to go run an errand.  i had to walk 2.5 blocks to get to the bus stop.  no biggie, right?  

well, halfway to the bus stop, with snow blowing in my face and sloshing through snow, ice, slush and mud, i thought "what was i thinking???"  but i was at the point of no return, so i trudged on.  in my non-waterproof shoes.  haha.

anyways, somehow i finished running my errands, and was carrying this now really heavy shopping bag and trudging back through the snow to get home.  at one point, i was crossing the street and thought i might never get to the other side because the wind was blowing against me so hard that i couldn't take another step forward.  

by the time i got to our building, went through a set of double doors, walked through the icy patio, to another set of double doors, checked the mail and got in the elevator, i stood there for a second and then started laughing at myself.  i think it was the combination of being part hysterical, part relieved to know that i made it, and part laughing at my folly in venturing out into a snowstorm without the proper shoes.

next task: get a good pair of snowboots.



i experienced my first snow in chicago today.  pretty exciting stuff!  here are some photos of our balcony...

i spent the day driving around, running errands, getting lost and finding my way again.  it was a productive day.

yesterday i ran errands on foot, bus and train.  i can't say enough about the public transport here.  it rocks.

also, it is very cold here.  today i found myself saying "the weather's not bad today.  it's in the 30s."


happy new year

a belated post. this is what we ate at will's house on 1/1/08. his mom is an awesome cook...

janice, his sister, wraps these so perfectly

gettin' ready

warming the sake

kalbi jjim

evolution of the shrimp: first phase (i don't know why this is underlined. i can't make it stop)

shrimp: second phase

final product. this is the most coveted dish