Have renovation regret? Let West Elm + Snap Kitchen make it better

I wasn’t kidding when I said we’re doing yet another home renovation, but oh man, I wish I was.

Here’s the gist: We eat and feed the baby and watch “The Night Of” and do work projects all while lying in bed, because the rest of our furniture is packed away. A flimsy sheet of plastic separates the only livable room – our former living room – from the clouds of construction dust.

Essentially, we’re living in a studio apartment with our 7 month old and the cat.

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And when you have two adults, a baby, a cat, and everyone’s belongings crammed into an 11-by-13-foot room, you try to get out of the house as often as possible. Seriously, we downloaded Pokemon Go and trained the shit out of those critters just to have another excuse to stay outside past Wilder’s bedtime.

So when we got invited to a picnic by West Elm and Snap Kitchen, we obviously jumped at the opportunity. A delicious lunch, gorgeous decor AND a few hours away from our one-room living situation? Thank you, Jesus.

I mean, this is WAY better than our current dining room situation, AKA our living room.

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How dramatic does this grapewood branch look on this wooden dining room table? I can’t imagine it would be that hard to pair it with some green moss or mountain laurel and a few faceted brass lanterns, and VOILA! You now live within the pages of a West Elm catalog.

And can we talk about gold flatware for a moment? I never felt particularly drawn to it, but then I went to this picnic and sat at this table, and now I’m all like, “Should I scour resale shops for some of this stuff, or what?” I liked it a lot, you guys. I felt fancy using it, too.
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And speaking of things that are beautiful and inspiring and practically life-affirming, check out that plate o’ deliciousness from Snap Kitchen.

You guys! SNAP KITCHEN IS THE SHIT. I’m somewhat ashamed I’d never had it before, especially because there’s a location not far from my office in the Chicago Loop, but oh man. Everything about this plate – the curried chicken salad sandwiches, the Summer Fling salad with coconut chicken, the fresh veggies and hummus and the juices and espresso I didn’t take pictures of because I was too busy chugging them – is totally recommended by yours truly.

So go there. Go there for lunch TODAY. And let me know when so I can meet you there, because it really was that delish. And did I mention it’s healthy, too? BECAUSE IT IS.

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Do you guys have any West Elm faves? Or if it’s too close to lunch to think about home decor, what about food faves? I tell ya what, I could eat about 10 things on that Snap Kitchen menu right about now … it’s been that kind of day.

A Friday five + the start of the cat’s diet (she just doesn’t know it yet)

I don’t know about you guys, but I am SO THANKFUL this week is over. I don’t know if it was the return of the cold weather or what, but weekend seemed to take three times as long to get here.

But enough of the small talk. Are YOU ready for a Friday Five? Let’s go LEGGO.

FOOD

When James and I were on Oahu, we saw ramen shop lines that wrapped around the block. But having never had ramen (other than microwavable variety, of course), we didn’t see what the big deal was. Noodles and broth? Gimme a break. And gimme a burger.

Enter Furious Spoon, one of Milwaukee Avenue’s newest establishments, which prides itself on serving traditional ramen at affordable prices. Wanting to keep up with the trends, James and I decided to wait in line and give it a whirl, and we’ve yet to stop thinking about HOW FREAKING GOOD IT WAS.

Furious Spoon location and hours:
1571 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Wicker Park

  • Monday-Thursday, Sunday: 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.
  • Friday-Saturday: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
  • No reservations, no carry-out. Big-ass soup spoons.

MUSIC

Have you guys heard about Jimmy Whispers? Nah? It’s cool, I hadn’t either until my friend told me he was the NEXT BIG THING (her emphasis, not mine) and informed me of his free record release at Empty Bottle next Tuesday. Jimmy Whispers is also playing at Pitchfork this year, and you guys know what kind of nutcase I am about that shit.

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Step 1: Listen to his new album in its entirety on Spin.com.

Step 2: If you like what you hear, RSVP for the free show at Empty Bottle next Tuesday.

Step 3: Go to Leghorn Chicken before the show and OMG SO GOOD. DROOL.

WEEKEND IDEA

In the mood for music? Head to Mother’s tonight at 9 p.m. to see Saved by the Belvedere, a TV THEME COVER BAND. I KNOW. Totally worth having to venture out to the Viagra Triangle, honestly.

Or, are you in the mood for hair braids and tarot cards? Get ‘yer booty over to Lost Girls Vintage in Pilsen this Saturday and Sunday from 12 to 4 p.m. for a braid bar, tarot card readings, Moroccan-Inspired cocktails, and the launch of the Lost Girls Vintage Moroccan Collection.

BLOGGER(s)

There are some bloggers you just want to hug when you (finally!) meet them in real life, and I did just that to Lauren and Claire of Foxtail + Moss at an event last night. They were total peaches, and I’m probably going to try and force them to be my IRL friends outside the blogosphere. Weird?

Also, they feature really, really amazing projects on their blog, including a series of astrology stitch posters. I’m partial to Pisces for obvious reasons.

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Seriously, check these gals out!

POTPOURRI (AKA THE RANDOM-ASS CATEGORY, NOT THE DRIED FLOWER VARIETY)

My beloved cat, Cha Cha, is starting her diet next week – she just doesn’t know it yet.

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Here she is snoozin’ in the kitchen, her squishy body hanging off the cart. Also yes, this is a post spoiler, because I’m going to tell you all how to make a plate wall without spending a billion dollars on those hideous plate-hangers. GET YOUR VINTAGE CHINA READY.

What are you guys doing this weekend, in Chicago and beyond? Any good weather to look forward to?

An ode to Black Bull’s Tabla Mixta, AKA the greatest thing to consume on a date (or, you know, alone)

If you live in Chicago, you know that Division Street in Wicker Park is the greatest place to do basically anything you can imagine.

• Want to eat a delicious sandwich? Go to Jerry’s.

• Want to go to a dive bar that has live music AND a basketball court/beer garden out back, which is totally cool because there’s nothing better than drinking and playing H-O-R-S-E? Go to Phyllis’ Musical Inn.

• Want to buy your pregnant friends the cutest things, because ALL your friends are pregnant? Sprout Kids is the shit.

• Looking for a sick beer list and some kick-ass karaoke? Obviously you’re going to go to Bangers & Lace, then cross the street to Bob San karaoke, where you will stay until they turn on the lights and kick you out at 2 a.m.

But. BUT. I have to tell you guys that I have discovered the greatest thing to eat on Division Street and in the entire city of Chicago, and it’s perfect to order on a date or with friends. Or alone, because more deliciousness for you, you lucky duck.

The Tabla Mixta from Black Bull. Apparently Black Bull is also home to a speakeasy that needs a password to access (James may have been pulling my leg, so let’s go with it), but I will never go because I can’t get over the Tabla Mixta for long enough to go upstairs.

Behold:

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What you’re seeing here is jamon serrano, chorizo, salchichon, olives, fruit, bread and spanish cheese with sprigs of rosemary that are literally LIT ON FIRE with a torch.

Pardon me while I hold myself back from licking my computer screen.

It’s best to devour this meat and cheese board with a pitcher of Black Bull’s homemade sangria or an entire bottle of Nabucco Spanish red. In my opinion, it’s best to not limit yourself in this department – Bob San karaoke is less than a block away, afterall.black bull tapas division street chicagoImage via Black Bull Chicago – picture those walls open in the summertime, because IT IS REALLY CHARMING.

Anybody out there been to Black Bull? More importantly, any Tabla Mixta-lovers in the house? Share your favorite Division Street hot spots, too!

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