Life, Travel

[mommy] therapy

I love my mom.

A few months ago we got a Living Social voucher for a facial and massage at The Spa on Oak in Gold Coast. When we went we had a really good experience (warning: rooms are TINY) and they were having a special for five hours of services + a cranberry facial for $150! So my mom being the best mom ever bought it and I have had a massage almost every week leading up to the Bar exam. We also scheduled two massages for Sunday so that I could have a “Mommy Therapy Day” before the Bar Exam. I needed it.

I had a massage with Daniel (who was great!) my favorites at Spa on Oak are Andre (I very openly love him) and Logan as well. Andre’s Hot Stone will cure any ailments you may ever have. Ever. I have had a lot of massages in my life (my Aunt is a masseuse – I am not spoiled – well actually, I guess that makes me spoiled) – and Andre is Top 5 for sure!!!

She came in on the train from Michigan… (is that a song title??) and we met at Trader Joe’s (which I suspect may have been her other main reason for coming down) and stocked up on some groceries! We then set out on a Boot Adventure (more on that later). We stopped by Nordstrom Rack – where we didn’t find any boots – but we DID find two delicious pairs of ballet flats. (Sparkles and Purple – two of my favorite things!)

We then went to one of my favorite places in the world THE CHEESECAKE FACTORY! Okay judgment done? Did you know that they have a Skinny menu now? And by “skinny” I mean under 600 calories. Anyway after munching on delicious noms we headed over to Water Tower where my Boot Adventure concluded! YES. We skedaddled over to the Spa (it is right off of Michigan Ave.) and  began our relaxation. My only complaint about Spa on Oak – is that my massage ended like ten minutes early! I understand that they have to get the room ready for the next person – but my massage ended up only being about 40 minutes because I didn’t get into the room until 3:10. Regardless, Daniel was wonderful and my mom had a good massage too! After our massage we took a cab (luxury) to Union Station where I let her leave. Barely.

She left me with a bag of goodies including Butterscotch Rice Krispies and Applets!! I will try and make both of these in the future – but for now I’m giving you the recipe for the Krispies via another site. She also left me with the biggest container of Dunkin’ Donuts ground coffee you have EVER SEEN as well as lots of hugs and motivation and love – which is what I need more than anything right now. I then went home and well, I did work. Because the Bar Exam is never-ending (Just kidding! 5 days! Heart attack!)

Sometimes the only thing you need in life is 5 hours off – and I got that with my Mom!! To all of the Bar Examiners out there (or just busy people in general) remember that the most important thing is to take care of yourself!

Amanda

P.S. That picture is of my grandma (Nancy), my mom, and me… yes, we all look alike, and we also make the exact same facial expressions. When Charlie first met Nancy he said it was like meeting an 80-some version of me. If that’s what I’m like when I’m a grandma – I am a-okay!

Life, Material

how to dress comfortably…

As the Bar draws nearer and nearer I find myself caring less and less how I am presenting myself to the outside world. The only opinion that currently matters to me is the Illinois Bar Examiners. And I highly doubt they care what shoes I am wearing. (Actually, they do… “Please do not wear footwear that makes loud or distracting noise when you walk.”) Anyway, I have always been complimented on my way to dress up comfortable. One time in college a girl from my sorority ran into me wearing sweatpants and she found it necessary to call three of our mutual friends to tell them. They all followed up within ten minutes to make sure I was feeling okay. Actually, I wasn’t – but the point is – I like to present myself!!! But I also like to be really comfortable. So here we are… “How to dress comfortably… (without looking like a hobo).”

  • Zella Leggings – These leggings will legitimately blow your mind. I have had my current pair for three years and I can still bend over and not show the world my purple bunders. (We have all seen it happen – leggings weaken ladies, in case you didn’t know, I’m sure everyone around you does.) These are expensive – but worth EVERY penny.
  • Party Cardy – So this one is from J.Crew and ridiculously expensive (but it’s caaaashmere). Just go to Gap (like I did) and get a cardigan that you can wash. (But be weary of violent-button-ripping-laundry-machines).
  • Nice T-Shirt – This t-shirt is what $75? Do yourself a favor and go to the Gap and pick up 6 shirts for this. Seriously. All of the T’s in my closet are Gap… I should actually be somewhat embarrassed the ratio of Gap/non-Gap clothing in my closet. But they seem to always have the best selection – and I love their V-Necks!
  • Sperry Top-Siders – I am forever in love with these shoes. First of all – warning to the Sperry-first-timers  – these babies might make you bleed at first, but the pain is worth it. Because eventually they mold to your feet like a good pair of Birkenstocks – without the Hippie vibe. I have been a little disappointed with their lack of solid colors – they seem to mixing prints a lot – but these golds are amazing!
  • Monogrammed Earrings – I LOVE LOVE LOVE these – right now I have plain silver monogrammed earrings – but after the Bar I might just have to treat myself to these. You should definitely check out this website btw, a TON of cute things – and very very reasonable prices!
  • Lilly Pulitzer Murfee Scarf – I think the most important thing to making comfy look awesome is wearing something that catches the eye – and by that I do not mean sweatpants with holes! 🙂 I have a Murfee scarf (as well as about 12 pashminas) and I love that I can just throw them on with anything and it gives my outfit the nicest touch of color. Plus, it’s Lilly, you really cannot go wrong.

8 Days til the Bar!!!

Amanda

Food

cinnamon + popcorn = God’s favorite snack

Really. This snack is absolute perfection. One of the very few things I have tasted on this earth that might be deemed worthy of God’s snack bowl. For some reason I have been craving cinnamon like crazy the past few weeks. I think it started at a Super Bowl Party we went to.

They had cinnamon popcorn – it was delicious! But really buttery – now I’m no butter-hater, but I’m also not a Paula Deen. Save for my chocolate chip cookies I usually try to skim back on the butter a bit, if for nothing more than the false belief that what I’m eating is somewhat healthy.

So after going through two bags of Stacy’s Cinnamon Pita Chips and trying to stifle my craving with Cinnamon Sugar Toast (throwback!) I decided to Pinterest some Cinnamon Popcorn. I still don’t really know how I feel about Pinterest. I love the fact that I can stalk other people’s weddings and look up nice quotes, but sometimes I feel like it is just the same stuff over and over again – however, tonight Pinterest delivered. Beautifully. I found a recipe here – and modified it a bit… I visit Garrett’s enough that I know how to make sugar coated popcorn. So I used some tricks I siphoned off of them.

Amanda’s Cinnamon Popcorn

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 c unpopped popcorn (or 8-10 cups popped)
  • 1/2 c butter
  • 1/4 c + 1 T white sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 – 2 T cinnamon sugar

Directions:

  • Heat oven to 300 degrees.
  • I made the popcorn in my handy dandy Whirley Pop, courtesy of Charlie’s parents. (A little bit of olive oil with the 2/3 c kernels)
  • After the popcorn was done I split it up into two bowls.
  •  Melt butter, sugar, and cinnamon in the microwave until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Add vanilla.
  • Pour 1/4 of the mixture over one bowl and a 1/4 of the mixture over the other bowl.
  • “Toss” the popcorn. Move the bowl in a motion so that the kernels fly around (not TOO much flying) and they get nice and coated!
  • Pour remaining mixture evenly over both. Repeat “toss.”
  • Lay popcorn onto an aluminum foil wrapped baking pan (I had to use two).
  • Sprinkle popcorn with cinnamon sugar.
  • Bake for 5 minutes – remove from oven (BE CAREFUL IT IS HOT – IT WAS JUST IN THE OVEN), use the tin foil to pour popcorn back into mixing bowl and repeat tossing action. Spread back onto aluminum foil and baking sheet. (Do for the other one).
  • Bake for another 5 minutes. Remove from oven…

…And then try not to eat all of it in one sitting. Because you will. Like I did…

I know this seems really involved – but I think that tossing it made the difference between it being soggy buttered popcorn tasting into crispy almost Garrett-crispy popcorn!

My posts may (hopefully) be slowing down as I lead up to the Bar, but one thing is for sure – the stress baking will NOT!

Amanda

Material

So this happened today… (Retail Therapy)

The Bar exam is slowly eating away my body. I literally feel myself getting weaker. So in order to make sure I was physically still human I decided to go shopping. Reasonable, right? I set a strict budget (I have a “slushy fund” for days like this) and set off. On the list of things I “needed” – Skinny Belt and Faux Ray-Bans. (FTR I do not usually support faux anything other than fur, but with my record of sunglasses and the fact that I had a budget… they were going to be faux.)

And guess what? MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! Naturally I had to take a picture of the sunnies on before buying them so I could ask Meg her opinion. Anyway the cardigans were necessary because I collect cardigans. I also wear them, but seriously I have every color of the rainbow except red… and yellow. But that’s it!

The skinny belts are for a dress I just got off of e-bay!!! I am SO stinking excited for it to come in the mail and as soon as it does I will try it on with my new belts and show y’all. (I can do that, I went to school by Kentucky).

In the meantime, back to studying!

Amanda

Life

Personal Days

This Bar exam stuff absolutely stinks. I feel like for the past two months there has been ONE thing on my mind. And it is all consuming – from the dreadful failure dreams to the bad days at practice questions. There has been one focus for the past couple months and it hasn’t been me, Charlie, my family, my friends, or Walter. And I hate it. I LOVE taking care of other people and always being available as a friend. But between a recital, graduation, planning a Bachelorette and Shower for one of my besties and the Bar exam. I am just COOKED. (Pun. Intended.)

Today at the library I was looking over my Federal Rules of Civil Procedure notes over… and over… and over again. When I realized… nothing was clicking. Not because I didn’t get it… but my brain… it was full! And in the meantime people were texting me/emailing me/calling me. (Which I totally love!) And I realized… it was time for a personal day.

So I closed up shop and headed home to do what I’ve actually been wanting to do for the past two weeks. Which is clean my freakin’ apartment. And I did just that… 🙂

I also ate some delicious mousse (picture and recipe to come) and did my laundry. (FINALLY).

My brother’s job allows him a certain number of personal days. And I think this is genius. For Type-A personalities like me, I will not take a sick day just to do laundry and scamper around… but a personal day? Heck yes!!

So to end my personal day I am heading up to Evanston to go out to dinner with the bride-to-be! Then I’m going to watch a movie/FNL/Frasier with Charlie and I am going to sleep. (Okay so maybe I’ll do a few practice questions.) Walter will be by himself tonight 😦 but my wonderful neighbor is coming over to give him a belly rub and play a game of fetch.

It is possible to stress yourself out through too much one-track-focus. I really believe that…

So here’s to personal days… but may this be the last one until March 1st… Please.

Amanda