Where to Eat in Chicago: Bar Siena

You know my love affair with West Loop in Chicago, so when I found out Bar Siena was opening this past July on W Randoph St, I knew I had to stop by immediately!

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Bar Siena has a beautiful atmosphere and unique decor. The outside patio is small but quaint and full of flowers and shaded tables, and the inside is lit up, rustic, and really cool, complete with a huge bar and TVs to watch your favorite sporting events.

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I ordered the Wild Mushroom Pizza, Kale and Granny Smith Apple salad, and of course, an Oberon beer with an orange slice. My ideal meal! The service was great and so was the food. You can tell that they prepare fresh, real dishes, and I was very pleased with both plates (which soon were very, very clean). Check out Bar Siena’s dinner menu here!

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The restaurant has unique dishes, including sweet corn ravioli and duck mac and cheese to name a couple, and the food I ordered was fantastic, along with the drinks. The prices are a bit steep for the portion sizes, but I’ve learned to expect that from a trendy West Loop restaurant, and the ambiance alone is worth it!

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SISTER TIP: Bar Siena started serving brunch last week! Although I didn’t order breakfast, the dishes looked amazing on other tables, so add that to your list of awesome restaurants for Sunday morning. :)

Will you stop by Bar Siena??

BAR SIENA
832 W RANDOLPH STREET, CHICAGO IL 60607

Yup… Overalls are Back.

YOU GUYS! I bought a pair of overalls and I’ve never been happier! They are SO cute and SO comfortable, I can’t even express to you how much I love them. I feel like I fell asleep and woke up in 1990 and I am diggin’ it.

Overalls

Will these truly come back in style? Ehhhhhh… that is yet to be decided. HOWEVER, I WILL say that many celebrities have gotten on the overall trend! Rihanna, Kylie Jenner, Alessandra Ambrosia… if it’s good enough for them it’s good enough for me. :)

Overalls

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Snag these adorable stretch denim overalls from Target for $34.99 here!

Overalls Side View

How to spend a girly girl summer day in Chicago

Summer is coming to an end, so that means I need to soak up all of the great things Chicago has to offer while I still can! I recently had a day off and I decided to spend it in the city doing all of the girly girl things I love to do. If you have an afternoon to spend in Chicago, copy my itinerary and have a lovely day of pampering and fun! :)

Breakfast

One of my favorite breakfast joints is Meli Cafe in River North. They have really good homestyle dishes, but my favorite part of the meal is the fresh juice and smoothies! Start of your day right with a Green Envy hand crafted juice blend: Wheatgrass, Apple, Pear, Pineapple, and Lemon. Yuummmm.

IMG_7403_2Pampering

A girly girl day in Chicago definitely calls for some relaxation. I recommend Ambra Salon and European Spa – this Gold Coast spa is amazing at what they do! Ambra use BioSculpture No Chip which is super rare to find – only a few salons in Chicago have it, Ambra being one of them.

IMG_8042It helps your nails grow strong and looks incredible. They were kind enough to let me try out this no chip manicure, and my nails have never looked better. Plus it lasts for 2-3 weeks! Ambra offer massages, waxing, hair care and more, so check them out!

 

Lunch

One of my go-to lunch spots is Little Goat on Randolph in the West Loop. It’s a classic diner experience with just really, really good food and a great atmosphere. Every time I go, it’s packed, and there’s no wonder why! The menu includes unique spins on homestyle dishes, and of course, there’s goat, if you like that sort of thing! I recommend the Bull’s Eye French Toast: eggs,  crispy chicken, sweet onion brioche, and bbq maple syrup. Mmmmm.

IMG_7086Drinks

I’ve written about it before, and I’ll write again… Maude’s Liquor Bar is such a fun place to grab drinks! They have an adorable patio and a really chic bar to get a drink with a friend or your beau. Check out my blog post on Maude’s!

SISTER TIP: Maude’s has a house bottle of red or white wine that’s pretty tasty for only $24! Great deal for around 4 glasses to split with a friend. :)

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What did I miss?! What’s your favorite girly thing to do in Chicago??

The Perfect Engagement Gift Mug

My little sissy just got engaged! We’re at that age where friends and family are hoppin’ down on one knee and popping the big question, and then your next question may be… what do I get the bride for an engagement gift??

Engagement gifts are not necessary, let’s be clear. But weddings are always are great excuse to shower the ones you love with presents, so why not gift her with a small trinket that shows your love and shows off that new rock of hers? :)

Engagement Mug

I found this engagement mug on Etsy from user: ByTracey. It’s $14, but she has lovingly offered a 20% off promo code for the month of August for any gifts from her Etsy shop – she has way more than just engagement mugs!

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She has awesome customer service, responds to emails quickly, and does custom orders. Just use SUMMER20 and you’re sure to give the cutest mug for tons of different occasions.

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Buy this mug or others here for under 10 bucks!

Where to Eat in Chicago: Big Star

I love to go out to eat in the city, especially during the summertime when the weather is beautiful and Chicago is alive! I was craving a great ambiance with some tasty food, so I took my friend to the Tex-Mex Wicker Park favorite – Big Star.

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Big Star is on 1531 N Damen, and offers awesome tacos and margaritas on a fantastic outdoor patio. You’ll know the restaurant from a distance because of its charming bright yellow umbrellas, and doi, the big star, posted up outside. The place is always packed, especially on summer nights, but it’s worth the wait! The tacos are diverse, creative, and filled to the brim with goodness – they run you $3-4, so 2-3 should fill you right up.

Big Star Chicago

We split a chipotle and verde chips and salsa (not complimentary, unfortunately), and each had:

  • Taco de Panza: braised pork belly, tomato guajillo sauce, queso fresco, onion and cilantro
  • Taco de Pescado: beer battered tilapia fillet, chipotle mayo, cabbage, red onion, lime, and of course cilantro.

They were. Phenom. We finished both and felt totally satisfied. With our draft beers, the check total was under 30 bucks, and we had a lovely lunch, if I do say so myself!

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If you have an out-of-town friend, or just want to grab an awesome Tex Mex lunch outside (or inside, in their super cool and chic bar), stop by Big Star in Wicker Park!

SISTER TIP: Big Star is a cash-only restaurant so make sure to grab some mula before you dine!

Big Star 1531 N Damen
Chicago, IL 60622
773.235.4039

5 Reasons to Watch Broad City. Like… TODAY.

You guys. Broad City is THE best comedy show on TV right now.

If you haven’t heard of this Comedy Central show, allow me to expand your horizons, and ultimately improve your life by sharing reasons why you NEED to watch it ASAP!

Broad City stars two real-life besties named Abbi and Ilana – Jewesses living in New York City trying to make ends meet and getting into lots o’trouble along the way. It started off as a web series with 2-3 minute YouTube videos chronicling Abbi & Ilana’s goofy friendship and hilarious (and usually inappropriate) conversations. But Comedy Central made the best decision ever and picked up the show, and their jump to the small screen will have you lol-ing for 30 minutes straight – I’m so glad my sister turned me on to it. Here’s why you should start watching Broad City. Like… today.

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5) It Translates Joy

Yup, joy! Comedy genius Jon Stewart hosted Abbi and Ilana on The Daily Show a few months ago, and said it best to the girls: “What I love about your show is joy. You somehow translate joy to that show. It is such a rare quality in this stupid business to bring a joyful expression of your comedy to the screen.” It’s SO true! The show is unbelievably happy and fun, it’s hard to explain, but you will end each episode more joyful than when you started and you’re sure to laugh and fall more in love with the characters each time.

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4) Amy Poehler is the Executive Producer

Right, so let’s be clear… anything that Amy Poehler is behind, I’m behind too. Anything. (Except Baby Mama, I guess.) She is one of my absolute favorite funny women, and the fact that she saw something special in Broad City makes me love her even more. She even guest stars in an episode! PLUS, the three are like BFFs in real life, which makes me all tingly and happy inside.

3) Lincoln

Lincoln is Ilana’s hookup/pseudo-boyfriend dentist in the show, and he’s played by Hannibal Buress – aka one of the funniest comedians in the game right now. Whoever cast this man deserves a medal and a hug. He is such a perfect character plus he’s from Chicago! Ugh I love him.

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2) Abbi & Ilana are so… real

These millennials are the greatest characters on TV. They’re awkward, disgusting, crude, sassy, independent, and hilarious, and totally relatable. Abbi even wears the same expensive dress everytime she goes out in the city because she can’t afford another one! They look like real girls, act like real girls, and you end up rooting for them and wanting a friendship just like theirs.

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1) Female Power, Man

I love powerful women, especially powerful women who make me laugh and prove that female friendships can be powerful, uplifting, and fun. It’s great to see a show that depicts a real friendship between two gals that is based on love and loyalty and that is badass – TV needs more of it! While Broad City is nowhere near appropriate for kids, I’d rather show my future daughter Abbi & Ilana reruns rather than Desperate Housewives, let’s be real clear.

Now that you’ve heard my thoughts, watch the clip below. If you don’t LOL once, you’re off the hook and you never have to hear about Broad City again. But if you DO think it’s awesome and funny, head over to Comedy Central and watch full episodes from Season 2! You won’t regret it! :)

Neoprene Asymmetrical Fun

IMG_7228Neoprene – a synthetic polymer resembling rubber, resistant to oil, heat, and weathering.

Asymmetrical – having parts or aspects that are unequal in some respect.

Rent the Runway – my favorite online company that allows you to rent fancy & fun outfits for a weekend at a reasonable cost!

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Put those three together, and you’ve got the coolest outfit I’ve worn this whole summer! My sister got engaged this past weekend (future wedding posts to come!) so I knew I wanted to rent a super chic, cool dress to celebrate the occasion. This David Koma asymmetrical crop top and skirt are so fun together and the most unique combination I’ve seen on the website in a while.

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What do you think of this look?? Have you tried Rent the Runway yet?

DIY Silk Ribbon Wedges

It’s summer vacation and I’ve been reading, exercising, blogging, and watching Sex and the City marathons. Tough life, I know. I love watching SATC on rerun because I appreciate fashion statements that I never noticed before – that show was SO fashion-forward and fabulous, I want Carrie’s entire wardrobe basically.

DIY Silk Ribbon Wedges

One episode I recently watched was the one where Carrie meets Jack Berger for the first time and they go to McDonald’s for strawberry milkshakes (adorbs). Lord, her outfit is to die for; particularly the silk ribbon cork wedge sandals she wears.

Silk Ribbon Wedges

I love being inspired by Ms. Bradshaw, so I grabbed a role of silk ribbon from Michael’s, and looped two pieces through a pair of adorable black wedges from Target (get them for $29.99 here). Tie a pretty bow in the back, and you have a simple, SATC-inspired pair of ribbon wedges! So fun for summer. <3 I’ve literally been wearing them everywhere!!!

DIY Silk Ribbon Wedges

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Grilled Corn & Mango Avocado Salad

Grilled corn and mango avocado saladGrilled corn is one of my favorite summer staples. It’s such a great side dish and super inexpensive to buy at farmer’s markets on the weekends! You can boil it, grill it, or even microwave it, and it pretty much goes with everything.

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A unique dish to make with grilled corn is this mango avocado salad I read about from Trader Joe’s recipes. It’s so easy to make and you can munch on it as an appetizer with a side of chips, or serve it on top of chicken or fish to add flavor and color!

SISTER TIP: Here’s an infographic I made to show how to cut a mango! Chop off the two “cheeks” on the side of the pit, the slice into cubes and scoop out with a spoon. Couldn’t be easier. :)

How to cut a mango

Grilled Corn & Mango Avocado Salad

Grilled Corn & Mango Avocado Salad

Whatcha Need

  • 4 ears fresh corn
  • 1 ripe avocados, cubed
  • 1 mango, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 roasted red pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup green onion, diced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Whatcha Do

  1. Drizzle cobs of corn with olive oil and grill for 10-12 minutes, turning every few minutes. Slice off kernels with a knife into a medium bowl.
  2. Add mango, olive oil, red pepper, cilantro, cumin, and salt and pepper.
  3. Refrigerate and let sit for an hour.
  4. Add avocado and lime juice. Sprinkle with green onion. Serve with chips or on top of a meat dish!
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How I Start All of My Workouts: Pilates 100

The Pilates Hundred is a classic Pilates exercise, and even the days I don’t do Pilates, I begin every workout with this move! It increases circulation, focuses on breathing, and gets your tummy flat in no time. It’s called “The 100” because you inhale for 5 counts and exhale for 5 counts until you reach 100 – simple enough!

The thing I love about this exercise is that there are so many different variations you can do based on your ability. For a beginner modification, keep your feet flat on the floor or move them to table top position and pump the arms lower to the ground. For an advanced modification, stretch your legs out eye-level – it’s a huge challenge!

The Pilates Hundred

How to do the Pilates Hundred:

Lift your head and shoulders off the mat, bring your knees into the chest, stretch your legs up to a 45 degree angle (point your feet in a “v” shape). Reach your finger tips and pump your arms up and down as you breathe. Squeeze your inner thighs and butt for an added challenge! Make sure you have energy in your arms and body and pull the belly button to your spine.

Watch the video below from my favorite Pilates instructor – Mari Winsor!

Check out my fun yoga pants from TJ Maxx!
Check out my fun yoga pants from TJ Maxx!