Monthly Archives: March 2016


Chicago April Events

March 31, 2016

Chicago April Events

April 2     River North Donut Fest
Old Crow Smokehouse River North, Sat 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Donut Tastings From Chicago’s Favorite Donut Shops & Bakeries, & 3 Drink Tickets Valid For Beer, Mimosas, Irish Coffee or Adult Hot Chocolate. Lots of freebies included with ticket. Use promo code: Chi20 for $15 off $50 ticket price.
more details + ticket info

April 13-17     Hit Chicago International Movies & Music Festival
various times & places
Over 100 movies & concerts showing around Chicago!
more details + ticket info

April 16   Record Store Day
various time & places
Best day to buy vinyl. Some stores will have live music.
more details

April 16-17   Chicago Artisan Chocolate Festival
Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Union Hall, 11:00 am
A chocolate lover’s dream with cash to spare. $55 to sample goods from 40 different artisan chocolate vendors.
more details + ticket info

April 17   Vintage Garage Chicago 2016 Season Opener
Vintage Garage Chicago, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Season opener for Chicago’s only vintage monthly flea market! Supposed to be the biggest one yet.
more details

April 17   Fischman Liquors Anniversary Party
Fischman Liquors & Tavern, 11:00 am – 9:00 pm
Celebrating 20 years of serving local craft brews on tap. New kegs (rare & reserve beers) opening that night!
more details

April 23   Coffee & Conversation
Blue 1647, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Coffee & Conversation is a community of entrepreneurs and innovators who get together on Saturday morning to work, talk, and socialize. Come connect over a cup of coffee and join a community of motivated people determined to hustle for their passions.
more details

April 29   Madewell Mini Book Tour
Madewell on Rush St., 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Book launch for Annie Novak, cofounder of Brooklyn’s Eagle Street Rooftop Farm, with special workshops, seasonal treats and, of course, shopping. They’re offering 20% off $125 or more during the event.
more details


Easy Pasta Dish Pasta Al Pomodoro

March 29, 2016

Easy Pasta Dish Pasta Al Pomodoro

In an effort to cook more but not spend hours in the kitchen, pasta dishes always seem like the best go-to. But how can you elevate the sauce jar dump to something truly savory? Pasta Al Pomodoro is an easy and light way to intensify your basic sauce. In just 30 minutes you can have a satisfying weeknight dinner. Game changer.

My friends at Italian Expo shared this recipe to show people how to cook the Italian way. The recipe has been tested and parts are edited for clarity, but the techniques are authentic. Mangia!

Easy Pasta Dish Pasta Al Pomodoro

Pasta Al Pomodoro | makes 4 servings
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 onion
1/4 medium carrot
1/4 celery stick
1 can passata (tomato puree)
1 packet of spaghetti
fresh basil
freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan cheese)
salt & pepper (to taste)

Easy Pasta Dish Pasta Al Pomodoro

Warm the olive oil in a large sautè pan over medium-low heat. As the oil is warming, finely chop the onion, carrot, & celery. Transfer the veggies into the pan and cook for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure they don’t burn.

Easy Pasta Dish Pasta Al Pomodoro

Cook until the onion, carrot, & celery are soft. Add the can of passata, salt, & pepper, cover, and cook for another 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally.

While the sauce is cooking, boil water in a large pot. Make sure there is enough water to fully cover the pasta. Once the water is boiling, add a dash of salt and your spaghetti. Cook 1 minute under the al dente box instructions.

Easy Pasta Dish Pasta Al Pomodoro

Drain the pasta but save ~1/2 c of the pasta water. You can add this into the sauce if you find it too dry. Finish cooking the pasta in the sauce for another minute. Add Parmesan & basil to taste. Take a bite and realize your pasta game will never bee the same.

Easy Pasta Dish Pasta Al Pomodoro

sweet potato nutrient facts


Curly Hair Updo: French Twist & Crown

March 23, 2016

Curly Hair Updo

Growing up I had no idea how to deal with my curls. My mom would try to relax it and encourage flat ironing as a way to manage. Special events always meant spending 2 hrs smoothing out every kink. So many years of dead ends and frizz.

Thankfully Pinterest & Tumblr have made learning about “naturally curly” hair care easier and I now love playing with my texture. This hair style would be perfect for upcoming Easter brunches or any time you need a protective style.

Curly Hair Updo

bobby pins, lots & lots of bobby pins
hair tie or clip to partition hair
decorative barrette (I got mine from Madewell)

1| Start by finding your favorite part line and clipping the smaller section out of the way.

2| Take varying sized sections from the large section of hair and start double-strand twisting pieces along the crown. It’s helpful to tie the piece ends with tiny rubber bands as you go to keep them from unraveling.

3| With all your front sections twisted, slowly twist the strands together and pin as you go. Once you reach about your ear, tie off for now. The end pieces will be incorporated into the French Twist later.

4| Moving on to the small section, repeat the same double strand twisting. Twist together and down the crown until your ear again.

5| Grab the bulk of hair left loose and start slowly start twisting up into a French Twist. Place bobby pins about every inch or so, making sure to use a threading technique to ensure hold. If bobby pins don’t seem to stay in, try spraying them with hairspray before using them.

6| Double check that your crown twist ends are tucked and pinned within the French Twist. Add adornment and feel fly as hell.

Curly Hair Updo

Styling Tips
Use a thick moisturizing cream to smooth down fizz and help the twists retain hold.
When using bobby pins, make sure to use ridge side down.

Remember, one of the great things about curly hair is the playful texture! Slightly undone works beautifully with this look.

Curly Hair Updo Curly Hair Updo

Eat - Explore

Forno Rosso Review + How to Identify Real Italian Food

March 20, 2016

Forno Rosso Review

Have you ever noticed how  your basic spaghetti & meatballs at home never matches the Italian dishes at restaurants? The flavors a bit flat or uninspiring? More reminiscent of a middle school cafeteria lunch then a hug from grandma?

It might be the ingredients.

Forno Rosso Review + How to Identify Real Italian Food

I recently went to an event at Forno Rosso to learn about real Italian vs. Italian sounding products. Food and wine experts led talks about what it means to protect Italian food heritage, how truly Italian products tie into traditional cooking methods, and gave tips on how to spot the real stuff.

Forno Rosso Review + How to Identify Real Italian Food

To prove their point, they gave us everything we needed to make Pasta Al Pomodoro to try the difference ourselves. The only things different from my usual ingredients were the pasta, sauce, & olive oil. Not kidding, the pasta had more bite and the sauce a slight sweetness I’ve never been able to do at home. Leftover pasta was now worth fighting for.

So, how can you tell if a product is truly Italian? Flip straight to the back and look for:
1. An Italian manufacturing address
2. “Made in Italy” not “Product of Italy”

If your curious to learn more about “Truly Italian” food & products, The Italian Chamber of Commerce is hosting a tradeshow May 18th-19th at Venue One complete with cooking classes, seminars, and workshops. More details will be added in the May events calendar once the press release is made available!

Forno Rosso Review + How to Identify Real Italian Food

If you don’t feel like cooking but want an authentic taste, I highly recommend Forno Rosso. They are a certified Neapolitan pizzeria that uses Italian milled flour, San Marzano plum tomatoes, & buffalo mozzarella. Buffalo mozzarella? Heck yes.

It’s the perfect, creamy topper. Just look at this perfect antipasti.

Forno Rosso Review + How to Identify Real Italian Food

Every dish served was excellent. Because it was a private event, I can’t speak to their normal service, but I imagine it would be the perfect date spot.

Disclaimer: Not a sponsored post. I just love my Italian heritage and want to share the deliciousness.


Easter Placeholder | Pinch Pot Egg Holder DIY

March 17, 2016

egg holder diy

Hoppy Easter! I never realized how kid centered Easter was until this first year living away from home. I don’t particularly want to cover the apartment in neon eggs & bunny motifs, but still want to celebrate the holiday.

So at the intersection of candy overloaded Easter & new apartment living, there is brunch! Embrace having your own kitchen and host a small Easter brunch filled with as much adult drinks you can muster. These pinch pot egg holders are ridiculously easy to make. You can pop them in the oven in between meal preps and have them ready the day of. They look great with just a plain hard boiled egg or with an initial painted on.

“grey granite” polymer clay
large grain salt (optional)
initials sheet

egg holder diy

1| Each egg holder will use about an 1/8th of the polymer pack. Roll into a small ball.

2| Rolling the ball in salt will give it more texture later. The salt will indent the clay and bake off. Be careful not to mix the salt into the clay though- nothing bad will happen but the baked salt won’t come out.

3| Loosely pinch from the center outwards to create the holder’s shape. You can focus on pressing the salt grains deeper into the clay here.

4| Check to see if the pot will hold the egg, then bake at 275 F for 20 min.

egg holder diy

5| To paint initials on the eggs, I did a graphite transfer with the print out sheet. Rub a pencil across the back of the printout, place over the egg, and trace the initial using a blunt tip of a pen/pencil to transfer. Carefully trace over with white paint or a paint pen.

egg holder diy egg holder diy

Pair with a few baby’s breath clippings for an easy (and edible!) table decor.