Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Day 9: Chicago Summer Solstice Countdown

Photo taken June 1997 at the closure of my fourth grade year.
I'm pictured on the left in the striped shirt.

Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability. 
-- Sam Keen

Find time this summer just to let loose and hang out!!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Day 8: Chicago Summer Solstice Countdown

My Perfect Chicago Day
Written by: Chris Coons
Residence: Pilsen
Astrological Sign: Cancer

I'm going to get an early start to my summer day. The sun starts to shine through my open windows before 6:00am, and with that cue I'm going to yawn and stretch and slide out of bed. A cup of coffee on the fire escape with Steely Dan playing in the background should get me up to speed with the rest of the city. After that I'm going to go for a jog along the lakefront. If I get out there before the summer sun has risen too high, I can catch the lingering coolness of night while still enjoying the sparkle of sunlight on the water.

After I get home from my run and get cleaned up, I'm going to head down to the Pilsen Community Market. A good score there might include some fresh produce, a mason jar of homemade salsa, and a used book. 

By the time I drop that stuff off at home, its going to be time to head to Bridgeport. Sunday afternoon White Sox games don't start until 1:10, but I've got a couple of stops to make before I get to the ballpark. The first stop is at Morrie O'Malley's for two hot dogs with everything on them, a side of fries, and an orange pop. After I scarf that down, I'm off to First Base on 32nd and Normal to share a couple of tall cans of Old Style with a few good friends. Like the rest of the bars around Bridgeport, this place has an intimate neighborhood feel that is hard to find around most ballparks, and it gets me in the mood for a lazy afternoon at Comiskey.

The next stop is the game itself. We've got seats in the bleachers, where the sun will shine on us all game long. Mark Buehrle is on the mound, so the game is going to move quickly. By the time the clock hits 3:30, Buehrle has thrown a gem, Konerko has hit a three run homer, and my friends and I put that Sox victory in our pocket and walk over to the Red Line. 

After transferring to the Blue Line and getting off at Division, we climb out of the subway and head to the Do Division Street Festival. Chicago has many street festivals throughout the summer, and they all have their strengths and weaknesses. But today, Division is going to be awesome. The kebabs are hot and juicy, the funnel cake is soft and fresh, and the beer is cold and crisp. The 1900s and Mannequin Men are both playing this evening. And as the summer sun begins its western descent, I've got a belly full of grub, a pleasant buzz, some good friends and an easy smile. 

Once the music winds down and the street lamps are on, I know I'm going to start feeling the fatigue that comes from a day well spent. But I want to squeeze a little more out of the day. I've been out in the sun for hours, and a dip in the cool waters of Lake Michigan is going to call to me. So after a cab ride to the nearest beach, I'm going to shed as many clothes as the law allows and let the refreshing power of the lake do its work. Partially revived from the swim, I'm going to finish my day by taking my pretty little gal's hand and setting out for a long, slow walk home.  
Back at home, I can kick off my shoes, open a beer that I'll never finish, and sink into the couch. And from there, I can be grateful for the city that I call home, for the celebration of everything bright and beautiful that happens here every summer, and for the limitless possibilities that the city presents to those of us that know it and love it. 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Day 7: Chicago Summer Solstice Countdown


Ukrainian Village

Astrological Sign:

Thoughts on Chicago Summer:
I'm excited to go to the beach for the first time in Chicago and get a tan.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Day 6: Chicago Summer Solstice Countdown

Jun makes a sassy face to demonstrate her frustration with the
absence of summer-like weather in Chicago currently.

Ukrainian Village

Astrological Sign:

Thoughts on Chicago summer:
I'm looking forward to patronizing Mario's Italian Ice, attending Lollapalooza, running by the lake and  heading to the New Maxwell Street Market on Sundays.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Day 5: Chicago Summer Solstice Countdown

A thespian from a young age (although I do not perform currently), I naturally became apart of the drama club when I entered high school. I often spent long hours at school rehearsing for a show, completing assistant directing duties, painting sets or tearing sets down after long weekends of performances. Call me a dork, but drama club was one of the most memorable meaningful activities I participated in, in high school.

Although most drama club activities died down for the summer, a few fundraising events were sporadically planned. Above is a photo taken about seven years ago. I'm the gal on the left side of the photo with the hose. I'm clearly dutifully fulfilling my responsibilities as treasurer by hosting a car wash at the local gas station. I had some interesting tactics to get people to work. ;) Thanks Emily (pictured on the right) for being a good sport!

Participated in summer car wash fundraisers in high school?? Have great memories of spraying people with garden hoses on horrendously hot days?? Post some comments below!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Day 4: Chicago Summer Solstice Countdown

I took this photo while riding my bike through the Lakeview neighborhood one evening during the summer of 2009. This is a great message to keep in mind when a summer evening isn't quite living up to your expectations.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Day 3: Chicago Summer Solstice Countdown


Ukrainian Village

Astrological Sign:

Thoughts on Chicago Summer:
"I'm looking forward to lots of sunlight that allows for late nights outside, barbecues on my roof, swimming and bike rides along the lake. I love summer because it makes me feel generally more carefree!"

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Day 2: Chicago Summer Solstice Countdown



Astrological Sign: 

Thoughts on Chicago Summer:
"I am most looking froward to having a cold drink on a roof top deck with friends and picnicking at movies in the park!"

Monday, May 23, 2011

Day 1: Chicago Summer Solstice Countdown

Alright, everyone get ready!!!! Chicago summer is just around the corner and Underlined and Bold is celebrating. For the next 30 days Underlined and Bold will be doing a count down to the summer solstice. Therefore, from today until June 21st a new blog entry will be posted everyday that celebrates the official arrival of summer. The majority of the posts will feature photos of fellow Chicagoans talking about why this city is so amazing June through September. Other posts will feature my own personal stories, childhood memories, quotes and photos that express why I love summer so much. 

Please feel free to leave comments and start discussions concerning the content you will be viewing over the next 30 days. My hope is to inspire everyone to make the most of this beautiful time of year. A time of year when the city comes alive as people come out from their winter hibernation and enjoy the long sunny days and the warm summer nights. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Chronicles of my Green Thumb - Entry 4

Yesterday, I promised you a photo of the finished product of my newly potted green beans! Hopefully this will satisfy your curiosity! Enjoy!

Summer and Lemon Meringue Pie!

Every August my family piled into the car to make the 7 hour drive to upstate NY to visit my Grandparents . I loved that week, heading to the old farm where the air I always thought smelled fresher than my Connecticut hometown. So crisp and clean.  I loved wandering through the endless fields, bonfires next to the old barn, sitting on the front porch at night looking up at the sky that appeared to go on forever, and eating my Grandfather's corn hand picked from the fields.  

One thing in particular though that I always remember is my Grandma's pies, her Lemon Meringue Pie to be exact.  Yes there were lots of other baked goods. A chocolate cake that forever goes down in history, blueberry pies each Thanksgiving, and chocolate chip cookies that my Grandmother seemed to have strategically waiting for me when I arrived, as if she knew just what would hit the spot.  But for some reason, her Lemon Meringue always stood out to me. 

Sneaking out onto the porch I would peer into the little refrigerator, where all the pies seemed to magically end up, hidden from my touch.  And there it would be, the Lemon Meringue Pie that forever stole my heart.  Waiting every night after dinner I would hope that tonight would be the night when I could dig my fork into the bright yellow pie savoring every lemony flavor.  And eventually it would happen, as I finished off every last crumb, sadly knowing it would be another year before my Grandmother's Lemon Meringue Pie crossed my taste buds.

Over the past month as the summer weather has been creeping into Chicago, I've found myself craving the pie that my Grandmother made for us each summer.  The other day I decided to channel my inner Grandma and made my very own Lemon Meringue Pie.  While it'll never be the same, if I sit with the windows open and close my eyes, feeling the breeze run through the kitchen I like to imagine that I'm 10 again, sitting in my Grandmother's kitchen with a fresh piece a pie in front of me. 

Here's my own version of the recipe if you find yourself needing a lemony treat!

For the Lemon Curd:
3 Eggs 3 Egg Yolk (save the egg whites for the meringue
1 3/4 c. Sugar
12 T. Butter
3/4 C. Lemon Juice (fresh squeezed tastes better, the equivalent of 4 lemons)
2 T. Lemon Zest

1. In a saucepan, combine 3 eggs with 3 egg yolk, saving the egg whites for later.  Add the sugar, butter, and lemon juice into the pan cooking over medium-low.  
2. Cook the lemon curd, trying to not let it boil so that the eggs do not curdle, until it thickens.  You know it's done when the curd can coat the back of a spoon.  This should take about 15 minutes, make sure you stir consistently. 
3. Let the lemon curd cool in the fridge for about an hour before baking.  

For the Crust:
1 3/4 C. Crushed Graham Crackers
1/3 C. Melted Butter
1/4 C. Sugar

1. Crush the graham crackers (can be done by putting them in a ziploc bag and smooshing it with your hands).
2. In a bowl add the melted butter and sugar to the crushed graham crackers and mix. 
3. In a pie pan push the graham cracker mix into the pan to form a crust, going about an inch up the sides. 
4. Cook the crust for 8 min. at 375 F. Let the crust cool. 

For the Meringue:
3 Egg Whites
1/2 C. Sugar

1. In a glass bowl mix the egg whites with a hand mixer gradually adding the sugar in a little bit at a time as you mix the egg whites.  
2. Mix the egg whites until soft peaks form.

And to put it all together...
1. Once the crust has cooled pour the lemon curd into the crust.  
2. Put the meringue on top of the lemon curd, using the back of a spoon or fork to form soft peaks.
3. Bake in the over at 400 F for about 10 min, or until the meringue is slightly brown.
4. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Chronicles of my Green Thumb - Entry 3

With each passing day I've noticed subtle differences in the growth of my plants. My green bean plants maturing the fastest, I decided to place them in their final home; a 13 inch turquoise pot I purchased from Home Depot a few months ago. 

The process of placing the plants in their final home was a little more involved then just plopping them into soil. With the desire to create the optimum conditions for growth, I meticulously made adjustments to their pot. 

First I made holes in the bottom of the pot to facilitate water drainage. Then I smashed plates I purchased cheaply at a thrift store. 

(To learn how to safely smash plates for any DIY project click here.)

Next, I filled the bottom of the pot 2 inches deep with medium and small plate pieces. Many people use gravel, but the plates were super cheap at the thrift store (and were really fun to break). The purpose of putting gravel or broken plates at the bottom of a pot is to aide with water drainage. Improper water drainage can cause root rot! Eeek!

Next, I proceeded to get my hands dirty! I opened up my 40 pound bag of potting soil, and scooped the soil into the pot. When the pot was half full I placed my plants in the soil and proceeded to bury their roots and the bottom portion of their stem.

Check back tomorrow to see photos of the finished product!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Emma's Chicago Top 5

by guest blogger Emma

Having lived in Chicago for 6 years now, I've discovered many things that make me happy about living here.  I've compiled a list of a few things that I not only enjoy doing in the city, but various places to check out yourself!

1. The Chicago Lakefront
One of the things I miss the most about the east coast is being around nature.  I miss being able to hike on the weekends, ski in the winter, and run the trails in the summer.  While, yes, the midwest is known for it's corn fields and flat landscape, I really wish there was more nature around the city.  One of the reasons I love Lakeview so much is how close it is to the water and the parks.  I've always found it to be the best place to go to get away from the noise of the city and just relax with a book.  If you walk down to the Belmont Harbor and all the way to the end of the harbor, you get an awesome view of the Chicago skyline looking south.  While it gets pretty crowded in the summer, the best time to enjoy these views is before a lot of the boats start to dock in the harbor around Memorial Day.  

2. Cooking
Having just finished the first year of my master's program, I have a glorious month off before summer school starts, to do basically nothing.  While doing nothing is only fun for so long, one thing I have begun to once again enjoy is cooking.  One of my favorite little stores to go to in Lakeview for food is called Milk and More located on Diversey, just west of Clark.  Despite the new Trader Joes that was just put in across the street, Milk and More is the perfect corner store to find organic ingredients to cook healthy dinners and top it off with a beer from their wide selection. They also have a deli with sandwiches in the back.  Despite being a vegetarian, it hasn't stopped me from enjoying one of their pretzel bread veggie sandwiches!

Once June hits and the beautiful warm weather nights come upon us, the Chicago Parks District sets up Movies in the Park all over the city.  I've attended these the past few summers that I've lived here and the movies have ranged from oldies, to more recent releases.  I usually go to the park with a couple friends, a picnic blanket, and a homemade dinner to enjoy the movie with hundreds of others in the grass.  Best of all, it's free!

4. Running
I love running, plain and simple.  Sure I have my days where it feels like 3 miles has turned into 30, but as a whole I love the feeling of being outside in the city, enjoying some music, while bouncing along the pavement.  Living in Lakeview, I'm a bit biased, but I think there's no other place to run in the city than along the lakeshore path.  Three years ago I ran the Chicago Marathon with my sister and used the lakeshore path for the majority of our training runs.  It's not only beautiful, but I've always found it to be motivating seeing all the other runners/walkers/bikers, and the ever questionable rollerblader along the way.  The ever constant view of the city as you run along the beaches, snaking past Navy Pier, through the boat harbors, around the beautiful Shedd Aquarium, and over to Soldier field always reminds me of not only my love of running, but my love of the city.  

5. And then there's Oscar....
If you know me, you know my dog Oscar.  Or at least my obsession with him.  Oscar, who hates the rain, has an aversion to being brushed, is afraid of the el, loves treats, and drags me through the city on our runs, always makes me smile.  I rescued him two years ago from the Animal Care League in Oak Park through the PAWS Angels with Tails event held a few times in the city each year.  Chicago is a perfect place to own a dog. After I adopted my mild mannered dog, who turned out to be anything but mild mannered, I realized that the dog park was a great place for him to get out his energy.  One of our favorites is the Montrose dog beach, just off of Montrose Ave. and Lakeshore.  The gated in beach is always full of friendly humans and happy dogs.  Even though we quickly discovered that Oscar is a terrible swimmer, it doesn't stop him from enjoying a good run around the beach.   If you ever hear a high screeched barking when passing the Montrose dog beach, you just know that Oscar is having a good time. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Guest Blogger!!

Over the next month or so, my good friend Emma will be my first guest blogger on Underlined and Bold. Emma's blog posts will provide insight into the life of a twentysomething gal living in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago. Enjoy!

I'm Emma, former dog walker turned social work student living in the windy city.  As an east coast
transplant, I have lived in the city for 6 years now and have learned to love it here despite
the somewhat (ok very) cold winters. I can be found running along the lake front with my four-legged
furry friend Oscar,cooking vegetarian meals with friends, or sitting on a porch
with a cold New Belgium beer!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Chronicles of my Green Thumb - Entry 2

Birds eye view of my growing veggies! The green bean plants are the most
 visible -- stretching their long leaves across the photo.

My small garden has bloomed! Over a month ago these plants were mere seeds. Since then, they've matured from babies to children who seek more room to grow. I'm so proud!

 I'm beginning to gather all the necessary materials to put them into pots; their final home before consumption. But before I jump to this next step, I took photos providing a glimpse of my efforts as an urban dweller trying out my "green thumb". Enjoy!

Pepper plants emerging from the soil.

Roma tomato plants standing tall!

So my "green thumb" endeavors haven't been perfect. This is
a pepper plant looking quite droopy. Additionally, one pepper seed and
 one Roma tomato seed I planted never sprouted.

If you're curious about the beginnings of my "green thumb'" endeavors, click here!
Otherwise, stayed tuned for another update coming soon.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Be Social! Get Botox!

The other day I opened the inbox of my gmail account and burst into laughter. Living Social (Chicago) featured discounted Botox treatments as their daily deal! 

Now, I understand that Botox can treat some legitimate health issues including crossed eyes as well as severe back and neck pain. And that is no laughing matter. But for some reason, I have a feeling that the majority of the 234 people who bought this deal below are not managing back pain.   

There is a chance though that the joke is on me. There is a chance that ridding my face of all emotion via a neurotoxic protein for the sake of "Living Social" will improve my life. I won't rule out the possibility.

But for now I think I'll take my chances. I'll skip the face injections in hope that I'll still be able to live socially.

The Women Institute
20 Units of Botox
buy now!send as a gift
  • 50%
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  • 18 : 48 : 03
Although wrinkles can indicate wisdom, many would prefer another way to illustrate their deep understanding and insight. Let today's deal show you the light with 20 units of Botox for $150 at The Women Institute in Lakeview (a $300 value). Led by Dr. Claudia Rodriguez, this medspa and wellness center promotes overall health and wellness just for women. Sagely target crow's feet, brow lines, and other wrinkles with this virtually painless, physician-performed procedure. It takes just 15 to 20 minutes, and within a few days, you'll see dramatic, youthful results. Show off your smarts and nab this deal -- the price isn't the only thing that will be de-creased.
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