Tuesday

Favorite Things- September

Wow. September just whooshed by, didn't it? I thought because it went so fast that I was going to have a really hard time coming up with my monthly list of favorite things, but now that I've got my brain working on it, I can't seem to shut it up! There are so many things, old and new, that I used, saw, bought and ate this month that I'm going to have a hard time narrowing it down. But here goes...

1. Le Colonial, Chicago



One of my all-time favorite restaurants, Shawn and I stumbled upon it years ago while staying at the Sofitel near Water Tower. It just looked charming and the menu, sublime. Since then, I've been back 5 or 6 times and if it were my neighborhood spot, I'd be broke as a joke because I'd be there every day. It's Colonial decor (antique shutters, beautiful tiles and gorgeous plants flown in every 8 weeks) and the intimate closeness of the tables, might not be for everyone, but I love it. The food is great (albeit a bit pricey for what, at the end of the day, is really just great Vietnamese food with a French flair) and so I say, if you get a chance, check it out. I recommend going after dusk when the dim lighting casts a glow on the space and going a bit before the time of your reservations to sit upstairs and have one of their fabulous cocktails.





























2. The Vampire Craze

So, yes, I have to admit that I really enjoyed The Twilight Series...the books and the movies so far. I also love True Blood on HBO, although I tend to watch it in bulk on one of my days off rather than every Sunday night and I even will sit through one of husband's favorite shows, Forever Knight, which takes up a good 25% of our dvr at any given point. Recently, I've read a couple of books I can happily recommend to anyone who loves or even just like the vampire genre. One is "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" by Seth Grahame-Smith and the other is "Blood Oath" by Christopher Farnsworth. Both have to do with presidential relationships with the "un-dead" and the fact that they intertwine so much actual history makes them read like non-fiction in an odd and fabulous way.



3.  Flower Bomb by Viktor & Rolf


After running out of my favorite scent months ago and reconciling with the fact that I didn't need to go spend my hard-earned money on more of it when I have about 15 bottles of perfume sitting on my vanity, I finally, thanks to a gift certificate from my beautiful and generous mama, bought myself a new bottle. There are only about 5 scents I've ever worn that I can barely leave the house without getting compliments on...1.) Amarige, back in the day. 3.)Vanilla oil from Bath and Body Works (which they no longer carry :( ). 4.)Angel by Thierry Mugler and 5.) Flower Bomb. Hmmm, actually there were 6 I guess, because I always get compliments on Hypnotiq by Poison. Anyhoo, if you're looking for a signature scent or need a great gift to give someone, Flower Bomb is a perfect choice. 


4. Garrett's Popcorn


Um, I'm just gonna apologize in advance for exposing you to what I equate with crack. Had I known ahead of time, I wonder if I would have indulged in the first few bites. It's not like I wasn't warned, I suppose. I have  a friend who has sung this snack's praises for years, but I thought, "Oh, come on! It's POPCORN for God's sake!". Guess she knew what she was talking about and apparently so does Oprah since this popcorn has been on her Favorite Things list, too. The line around the corner could have cued me in except we happened to stumble upon the store at the one time of day that we were able to wander right in and grab a bag. 

Well, I should say we were led, no commanded, by our noses to follow the aroma into the shop. We were advised by the really friendly staff to try the "Chicago mix" which is a mixture of cheese popcorn and caramel corn and after my mom and I both scrinched up our noses in an "Are you crazy?" kind of way, he said, "Just trust me." And we did. And now I am a total crack head...that is, if crack in this case is Garrett's popcorn. You can find it online HERE  and trust me when I say it's worth every single penny. Yummmmmm.

5. Jamie Young Floor Lamp, Horchow

Until I noticed the armchair next to this lamp, I thought it was just an insanely good table lamp. But, then I noticed the scale of the lamp to the chair and my knees went a bit weak as I swooned with excitement. It is soooo hard to find an interesting and unique floor lamp that this one, in my opinion, is worth every darn penny. 

6. Caroline de Cesare
After stumbling across this pic and falling in love, I did a search for this designer and found that she's nothing short of genius. Not only do I love the used of purple and creamy white here, but I can't even begin to tell you how perfect I think this built-in bed/desk/nook proves to be. Can't you just imagine being 13 years old and climbing up into your nook and chatting for hours on the phone with your girlfriends about all that went on that day. Just wait...I've got a huge post coming with more of her work and you best get out your dribble cloth.

7. Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies with Brown Sugar Icing
So, I haven't made these...yet...but I was given one to taste and my, oh, my are they delicious and soooo perfect for this time of year. I begged for the recipe and was glad to see the ingredient list and instructions are basic, so they're on my to do list next week. I'm happy to share the recipe!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies w/ Brown Sugar Icing

Cookies
  • 1 c. (2 sticks) Butter
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 c. pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1 t. soda
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 1 pkg. Mini Chocolate Chips (Mini are best but regular work fine)
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cream butter, sugar together
  3. Mix in Pumkin
  4. Mix in Eggs until its all worked together
  5. Sift together flour, soda, salt and cinnamon and add to the pumpkin mixture and mix.
  6. Mix in chocolate chips
  7. Add Tablespoon sized drops on greased cookie sheet
  8. Bake for 12-15 min
Icing
  • 3 T. butter
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 4 t. evaporated milk
  • add in 1 c powdered sugar
  • add in 1 tsp vanilla
  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat mix together butter, brown sugar and milk and heat until sugar is dissoved
  2. Add mixture to powdered sugar and add vanilla and mix until smooth
  3. After cookies have cooled, frost


8. Chanel Particuliere Nail Polish

I joined some of my favorite girlfriends for a birthday celebration recently and could not stop staring at one of their hands! Her nail color was ROCKING and I of course asked her what it was and she of course pulled it right out of her purse! Of course it had to be Chanel and not even a more reasonable OPI, but ladies, it's worth every penny. I'm not even a girl that likes any other nail color besides French, pale pink or a true red and I love this. Great for this time of year and would be great with bright colors as well!

9. Makeup and Hair Tutorials on Youtube.com

Ok. I know I should be embarrassed by this and truth be told, I am just a bit, but I have been getting my hair and makeup tips from one particular girl on Youtube and she's kinda great. Now, I had to get past her sing-songy way of speaking and the overly perky attitude, but once I did and I just started paying attention to her tips, I really started to learn some really interesting things. I even keep a pen and paper handy when I watch one of her videos so I can jot down the tips and the particular products she uses. I haven't incorporated all or even alot of her ideas, but I have used some and I've gotten compliments each time I do. So, check her out and let me know what you think. She might just be the next big makeup artist to the stars!

10. Suavitel Fabric Softener
As a woman, there are fewer compliments that make me feel better than when someone says to me, "Wow. You smell incredible!" Maybe it goes back to that old shampoo commercial that had "Gee, your hair smells terrific!" in it. So, when I heard a friend say years ago that one of her coworkers always smelled so fabulous and eventually found out that it was just her fabric softener called Suavitel, I thought, "Done!". So, I started buying it...sometimes the blue one and sometimes the yellow and sure enough, at least a few times a day people would tell me how great I smelled and be shocked that it was simply this product. Ok, so then I came across a tip that said it's really easy to remove pet hair from fabric with a sheet of fabric softener and after trying it, I have to say...it is! AND my whole house smells like one big load of warm, fresh laundry! Love it and it's sooooo much cheaper to use them than the other pet hair removers I had been using!

So, that's it, my friends! Hope you found something you liked and I'd love to hear some of your personal favorites! Do share! Don't forget for every comment you leave, you get an entry into the next giveaway!



4 comments:

Mary said...

Jen,
I cannot wait to tell John about that restaurant! It sounds perfect! We obviously love Vietnamese food, and when in Chicago we frequent Uptown for the little family owned restaurant which are phenomenal, but the place you described sounds like a great place to try. It will be on the top of our list to try the next time we head there!

fanciliciousfairylands said...

Um ya...the vampire craze???? I am, too, a closet vampire lover...shhhh.
I LOVE this blog!

lawyerlady@aol.com said...

Ack! I fly into Chicago from WY often on business and always make a trip to both Garretts and Le Colonial! I can't believe they're both on your list! I'm really liking that finger nail polish too so I think I'll grab some this weekend. Great post, Ohmigosh!

Kris said...

Thanks for the recipe! I'm going to try making it gluten free and casein free for my boy, and I'll let you know how it turns out!
:-)

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