Tuesday, February 28, 2012


I feel more a Chicagoan than I did before Steppenwolf Theater.

Do you know about Steppenwolf?
It's one of those words you hear enough around here to know that it belongs to Chicago, like "Wrigley" and "Shedd's" and  "The Bean." 

Steppenwolf is as "Chicago" as they come-- the ensemble theater brainchild of actors, directors, and playwrights that reside in Chicago.
The theater was born locally in the 1970's, and has since become, well, kind of a big deal.
Read more about them and their nationally prestigious, award-winning self here and here.

What I love about it is that it's local, practically in our backyard, and small.
No microphones, no bad seats in the house.

We saw the play Time Stands Still, which highlighted a woman photographer who covers wars all over the world.
She recently was nearly killed in the war in Iraq, not to mention the mental and emotional trauma she sustained from the many images her lens captured.
The play spans the time of her one-year recovery back in New York.
It's gritty, emotional, conflictual, dark, full of questions, and at once intellectually and morally stimulating.
In other words, it's completely the love of my life.

Read the Chicago Tribune's review here.
 Go see it and become more Chicagoan yourself.
Half-price and $15 student rush tickets are available at the door one hour before the show.
Student Discounts: $15 student tickets are available online in advance using promo code: “TIME15” (Limit 2 tickets. Must present a valid student ID for each ticket).

Oh, and can I have that couch.  And that chair.  And that apartment.
The Brooklyn loft apartment set was gorgeous.

The last thing I'll say is if you go, stay for the discussion afterward.
It was probably one of my favorite parts of the night, and it gives you more questions to weigh when you leave, preferably discussed over Urban Burger Bar down the street.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Collection

We've come by this collection, and let me tell you how.
The first one we laid eyes on came out of a Starbucks bag as a gift from husband's best friend from college, after a visit from LA to Chicago.

We spotted the next one in Indianapolis, when picking up Starbucks on a holiday morning.
We hadn't seen any in Chicago Starbucks yet, so the second one came home with us to join the first.
Vespa dates always take two.
photo for us by The Youngrens

Shortly thereafter, the third one was left on our counter top with a note from a house guest that said, "Neal & Ash, I saw this and immediately knew it had to be yours.  Love you, Ty."

So you see, a collection it is.
A collection it is! 
We feel a little bit loved, and I think our red Vespa does too.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


It's cold & flu season.
Husband is fighting a cold, and it seems every other person I pass on these city streets is too.
Other than the lack of energy that accompanies a cold, making green smoothies seems like the right idea.

I've made this one once and give it a stamp of approval. 
And this one (Kale, spinach, and pear) I want to try.
Do you have a good green smoothie recipe?
Link up a recipe in the comments section.
Stay well!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Red Velvet Valentine

Husband and I were able to settle at a Chinese restaurant last night for a couple hours before showing up for the rest of our regular and largely inescapable Tuesday night schedules.
I self-identify as a "day-of" person, so Valentine's day is Valentine's day.

Shifting celebratory days to common days somehow diminishes their intrinsic qualities for me, though I feel okay about red velvet pancakes any day that the calendar reads "February," or any event that pairs itself with red.

Red, February, sweets, dates, they all make up the in-crowd of the year's second month.
Since an early morning meeting didn't allow for our red velvet valentine tradition, you can imagine my relief that these are still a sweet little date to come.

These are the grown-up version of school valentines.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Share the Love

It is February, after all.
Here's some of my recent finds that I'm loving.
What about you?
Share the love!

Valentine's Day fondue recipes from Ruche.
 Cheese or chocolate, whichever you fancy.
Oh, do I ever have a plan for these!
I'm smitten with these desktop backgrounds.
Download them for free here.
My favorite is the typography, or the camera heart, 
or create, or the mustard yellow.
Oh wait.
This film.
Especially if you've read the book, but even if you haven't.
Husband and I both read the book this year and recommend it 
and its artsy self all the time.
It hurts, but it's brilliant.
New found Pandora station favorites,
Missy Higgins & Ron Pope.
One of these two seem to be playing in our apartment at all times,
my favorite songs so far being "Night Minds" and "A Drop in the Ocean," respectively.
Fresh playlists... now that's love.

Friday, February 3, 2012

A Writing Week

It's been a writing week.
Hours and days were likable as I worked on a little article for the student paper of the college where husband works.
It's also been a sunny week, and, this is old news now, but so nothing like winter.

It's funny to watch people's worldview of "earn and deserve" play out in street conversation about the Chicago weather.
"I don't know what we did to deserve it," people are saying as they squint in the sunlight at the L stops in a way that is part functional to shield the bright light, and part confused affect.

Some Chicagoans are downright ill at ease with the common grace of winter-relief.
To me, the easier weather translates to my acknowledgment that other places exist outside of the walls of my apartment.
This Starbucks is home away from home though, so I could have gone there to write in snowmageddon.

To me, a writing week is a good week. 
Although I have decided word count specifications are the death of the creative process.
I have also learned that a Starbucks drink only lasts for about the first 150 words. 
It seems that these are things I will have to learn to live with.