Best Friends Since the Beginning

Over the past nine and a half months, I’ve witnessed one of the most special things: Ellie becoming best friends with her pal, Graham.

Graham is the son of one of my best friends, Sandra, who I met when we were co-workers years ago. Sandra and I have laughed together, cried together (ok, so maybe it’s mostly me crying to her, honestly), vacationed together, enjoyed being pregnant together, and now our little ones spend lots of time together. 

What is so amazing to me is observing their friendship. Graham is a few months older, and definitely takes care of her, teases her, shows affection to her: all signs of a wonderful friend. Haha. 

What makes me so happy, though, is the way she waves her arms with excitement when we get to their house. And the look she gives him when they are together, totally content. Or how worn out she gets after being with him–thanks, G!

This weekend was Graham’s first birthday, and I’m feeling a little reflective. I’m grateful to know E and G have each other warms my heart like no other. To think that they are just starting to navigate this crazy world we live in and they can do it together? That’s pretty special. 

The cherry on top? I get to share it all with Sandra and our hubbies, too.  

Week #24 – Farmhouse Tavern

My time has been pretty occupied lately with work and apartment hunting, so I was desperate for some time with my girls. Lauren, Tara, and I decided Farmhouse Tavern was the best place for our meet up!

Right when you walk in, you are greeted with friendly hostesses, but also an incredibly warm décor. Think: wire light fixtures, recycled tin tiles, saturated stained wood, tea lights in small mason jars, chalkboards with barn scenes…should I keep going? The farm feel brought me right back to Knoxville, where Nate is from. My home away from home.

It’s important to note that Farmhouse features local (from the Midwest) and seasonal fare, which is something I really appreciate. As I get older (okay, grandma…), I try to know what I’m eating and where my food is coming from. There’s nothing like eating beef from a butcher you know and eggs from the chickens outside.

We sat upstairs in a cozy corner near the bar. Our servers—Emma and Sam—were attentive and kind. I always love servers who offers suggestions, and when Emma recommended The Swing (Deaths Door Gin, Lime Juice, Simple, Cucumber, and Parsley), I gladly took her up on it. (They have a very extensive drink list.) I didn’t know if I’m a gin fan or not, but this drink was tart, yet refreshing. Good pick!

We started with a flatbread of red onion jam, goat cheese, arugula, and currants on a thin, whole-wheat crust. Melted in my mouth.

I then moved on to the fish and chips, another hit. The presentation of the fries and fish together in a paper cone was playful and fun. I was a little hesitant about the malted mustard seed, but it was such an unexpected delicious addition to the dish. The girls had burgers, grass-fed beef and veggie, with smoked gouda and blue cheese, respectively. Is your mouth watering yet? Just wait.

We finished up with lavender angel food cake, honey vanilla bean yogurt, macerated strawberries, raspberry powder, and heirloom oat crumble. Because the ingredients were mostly dry, the strawberries really brought everything together. The added crunch factor was a bonus, for sure.

My meal was about $35 (with tip), which I think is a great deal in Chicago for a cocktail, appetizer, main course, and dessert. I left Farmhouse full both in my stomach and my heart. Just what I needed!

Farmhouse Tavern
228 West Chicago Avenue
River North/Near North Side

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Week #23 – “Breakup at a Wedding” Movie Screening & Miller’s Pub

A handful of my friends are moving back to Chicago this summer, including Ali, my good friend from college, and her husband Adam. Ali and I met freshman year through our sorority, and lived together our senior year at U of I—needless to say, we’ve been through a lot.

Ali has lived and worked in NYC as an actress since we graduated from college, and although I visit New York often, it just got hard to see each other. So I was pretty excited when she messaged me on Facebook to announce her move!

We reunited over sushi last week, and I’m happy to say it was just like old times. When she asked me to come to the screening of her new feature film, Breakup at a WeddingI couldn’t wait to support her. Watch the trailer here! Having planned my wedding less than two years ago I was pretty intrigued by the title…ha!

We went to DePaul University’s CDM Theatre, where Ali and her co-star Mary Grill (she also appears on The Mindy Project) were hosting the screening. The movie features a bunch of hilarious young actors Ali’s been working with for years. With a small budget and 12 days of filming near JFK Airport, they were able to make a laugh-out-loud, heartfelt film.

Here’s the scoop: The night before her wedding, the bride-to-be (Ali!) decides she doesn’t want to married, but convinces her fiancé to go through the motions on their wedding day (except for signing the marriage certificate part). The groom hopes a present at the wedding with change Ali’s mind. Does it? (This is the part where you go to the website and pre-order the movie that comes out on June 18th if you want, hint hint.)

Seeing Ali larger than life on the silver screen for the first time was surreal. I’m so proud of her and her friends for the awesome film they made, and I’m glad we saw it in a theater. It’s pretty cool to hear people laughing at your friend’s jokes—especially when your friend is on screen.

I should also mention that at the screening, I also met Ali’s husband Adam and saw one of our sorority sisters, Stacey, who I haven’t seen since college (many years, people)!

After we snapped some photos at DePaul (Ali’s dad even brought his own red carpet!), we headed over to Miller’s Pub (another new spot) for a celebratory cocktail or two (a Midwest Mule and a wheat beer for me). This place felt so old-school Chicago, like the décor (with it’s street signs and Chicago memorabilia), the bartenders (in white shirts with black vests), and the people (a solo man next to us has been coming since the early ’90s) haven’t changed in years. There’s comfort in the familiar, and this was a great place to get together with old friends, and new, in my beloved city of Chicago.

Cheers, Ali!

Breakup at a Wedding
Release Date: June 18, 2013

Miller’s Pub
134 S. Wabash
The Loop

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