Wednesday, October 22, 2014

How To Survive A Horror Movie

Photo Credit: Man Crates
I recently took a quiz online to find out how long I'd last in a horror movie and I came out as First Blood. It didn't mean I was the first kill, it meant I was the first one to die gruesomely so an example could be made of me. The funny thing is, I just retook the quiz with the same exact answers and it said I was the Final Girl meaning I made it all the way through. In other words, I'm not sure how accurate the quiz is. 

For Halloween, Man Crates has put together a Zombie Annihilation Crate to make it through a Zombie Apocalypse. Man Crates is a company that puts together unique and original gifts for men in a wooden crate that even has to be opened with a crowbar. How awesome is that? Anyway, can I just say really quick...if there was every a zombie takeover, I think I'd die immediately. I am so unbelievably terrified of zombies and the idea that one screw up in science could make it happen that I think my heart would just stop beating right there. I wouldn't be able to process it. Between that quiz I took and it being Halloween soon, I thought it would be fun to participate in this horror movie business and create my list of five things to include in a horror movie so I could make it through to the end. Here we go!

1. My best friend Yeni because she is my partner in crime. We can survive anything together, I'm sure of it. Between my paranoia and her very strong state of mind, we have the perfect balance. I expect the worst, she determines when I'm being ridiculous or when I have a point. To top it off, if this were being filmed for entertainment we'd be a hit. Seriously, a box office smash.

2. A portable phone charger. This one I'm stealing from Man Crate's "Horror Film Survival Strategy" because it's a good one. There are two phone issues that typically lead to trouble in a scary movie. The first is no service but considering I would never, under any circumstances, find my self in a remote area, it doesn't apply to me. The second is the low and ultimately dead battery. That's an easy fix if we all carried around portable chargers!!! I'm investing in one right now because this post is making me paranoid (obviously).

Photo Credit: Google Images - Crazy Town Blog
3. An escape route. We have got to have a reliable escape route. Honestly, this would probably depend on the movie or situation. If we were in the city avoiding a serial killer or, god help me, zombie apocalypse, I know just what I'd do and where I'd go. Put me in a haunted house, I'm done for. Yeni would have to take the lead there. I'd be an absolute wreck.

4. A bad ass axe like Buffy used in the final season. Why? because it's the ultimate weapon to kill anything. It has a wooden stake to take care of vamps and stab anything else that moves. The blade is silver (hopefully) which would kill werewolves and the thing could easily bash in a zombie's brain. In regards to anything human, you're totally covered. My advice would be to burn all the bodies to be safe though. I mean, I hope there's only one thing after us but  you never know.

5. Xanax or something of the sort. I'm convinced that the most paranoid of the bunch are the ones that die. Yeni wouldn't need this but if I were in a horror movie, I think a Xanax would take my paranoia down just enough so that I could be the perfect partner in crime. I'd still be slightly paranoid which is good for awareness but I wouldn't be in a hippy-like, everything's fine mood hat would definitely lead to my demise.

So what about you? What are the top things you'd want to include to help you survive a horror movie?

I also had to include this little fun bit from Man Crates. They created 10 Commandments of the Horror Film World and I just about died laughing while reading them especially because #1 is so typical me.
Courtesy of Man Crates

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Keeping The Girls Comfy While You Work Out

*Disclaimer: I received the #VSSportsBra VoxBox from Influenster complimentary for review. All opinions are mine.
It's no secret that I've always been a fan of Victoria's Secret. For some reason, their lingerie and clothing fits me perfectly. When I found out I was getting a #VSSportBra Vox Box in the mail from Influenster. I just about flipped. Victoria's Secret is not known for their affordable prices so to be able to try out a sports bra and workout pants was a great opportunity. 
New! Incredible by Victoria's Secret Sports Bra
I'm happy with my bra size so I have no shame in sharing it with the world. I'm a 36C so they're not too big and not too small for my height and shape. The main problem I have is keeping them in control when I work out. A bra with too much slack causes the girls to bounce around so I normally would go with my only other option, squishing them tight. Let me tell you, squishing your boobs is not fun and it's not comfortable. It hurts after a while. The Incredible by Victoria's Secret Sports Bra gives the best of both worlds. It provides comfort and security and makes the girls look good too! I don't have a uniboob anymore with this bra. I love it.
Knockout by Victoria's Secret Tight
Anything that resembles a yoga pant terrifies me. I have a big ol' butt and I'm not particularly confident wearing tight clothing. These are very practical for moving around though. They also suck it all in to give you a slimmer and more toned look, even if there some jiggly parts. I can't wait to actually execute a pilates session in these.

I also picked up a few goodies using my 25% off coupons. Check out this tank and shorts! I'm obsessed with the shorts. 

I'm offering 50% off all ad space using code FALL to celebrate the season! Visit my ad shop to get any spot for half the price.

Monday, October 20, 2014

RPM Italian

At the beginning of October, I went to dinner with two other Windy City Bloggers: Kit from The Kittchen and Jennie from Actually Just Jennie. I mentioned at an event in August that I'd never been to RPM Italian but always wanted to go and so we just decided to make a reservation. I heard great things about the restaurant and followed it since Giuliana and Bill decided to open one on their show (huge fan). Needless to say, this was one long-awaited visit. Instead of just ordering one main course for each of us, we each ordered something but shared as well so we could each get a taste of everything. That was the best idea we could have had because now I want to go back and get them all for myself. Here is our dinner for you to see! 

WARM BREAD: Fresh Homemade Ricotta and Semolina Toast 
We started off our meal with some bread and cheese. I mean, why not? There was a delicious tomato sauce that accompanied the semolina and ricotta. The bread was warm and tender which was perfect for not only an appetizer but accompaniment during dinner to wipe up the sauce. I want to try and make this at home one day. 

Roman-Style Artichokes 
These are basically lightly fried artichokes and they were so good. They were paired with a dipping sauce but I don't remember what it was unfortunately. I think it was a buttermilk dip because I remember it was sweeter to the tanginess of the artichokes. They practically fell apart when you cut into them. So delicious. 

Pumpkin Agnolotti: Brown Butter, Sage
This was my choice of pasta. I was debating this and a more traditional dish for my first time but decided to go with the pumpkin since it's seasonal. It was so good! I was on a huge pumpkin bender when we went to dinner so it was perfect timing too. Anyway, this dish was perfect. The pumpkin wasn't overwhelming as a main dish and the sauce paired beautifully.

Papparedelle Bolognese: Pecorino, Rosemary 
This was the traditional dish I was debating over. Bolognese is one of my favorite pasta dishes and I really need to make it myself some time. I don't have one bad thing to say about this dish. It was so delicious and perfectly meaty. I love Papparedelle noodles too. There's so much flavor there.

Parmesan Risotto: Chanterelle Mushroom, Chive
The risotto is what I heard the most compliments about before I tried RPM for myself. I was really looking forward to trying the risotto but decided I wanted to go with a pasta for myself. I'm glad Kit chose this item though because it was delicious. The risotto was creamy and savory with tons of mushrooms which gave it a punch of meatiness. This was the only risotto they had on their menu at the time we went so I really hope they have another by next time so I can try more!

Italian Donuts: with Nutella and Creme fraise.
Oh. My. God. I can't even with this dessert. When our waiter went through the desserts, and there are many, the Italian donuts immediately stood out to us. They're basically baby beignets covered in sugar. They melt in your mouth and you can't help but want to eat all of them. I really hope the next time I visit RPM, this is a dessert because I want a whole plate all to myself.

Have you been to RPM Italian in Chicago? If you haven't, you should go. If you're not from here, you should go whenever you visit. It's absolutely fantastic and I can't wait to try more.

Thank you to Kit from The Kittchen for all these amazing photos!!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Musings of a Museum Fanatic

Hey there! Today is sadly my last day in Texas. I've had the best time and can't wait to come back, hopefully sooner than it took me to get here this time. Anyway, while I'm enjoying my last few hours in the South, I have a great blogger to introduce you all to. Her name is Betsy and she blogs over at Musings of a Museum Fanatic. She's also a fellow Chicagoan which is awesome. 

Check out some of Betsy's favorite posts:

Make sure you follow Betsy on Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter

Friday, October 17, 2014

Pumpkin Pie Pancakes By Katie From Beneath The Chandelier

Hi everyone! 

I’m Katie and I blog over on Beneath the Chandelier, a lifestyle blog about tasteful living, every day. Christine has graciously invited me to share a post with you while she is on vacation. Since I often blog about food, wine and entertaining, I thought it would be fun to share a tasty recipe with you. 

The weather has gotten colder here in Chicago and with it has come a flurry of Halloween activities for me. So, in true holiday spirit, I gathered my Halloween Pancake Molds from Williams Sonoma and I made Pumpkin Pie Pancakes. 
They were everything I dreamed they could be: moist, flavorful and incredibly delicious. They have a great pumpkin flavor and aren’t too sweet. If you prefer a lighter pancake, substitute pastry or cake flour for the all-purpose flour. 

Now, let’s talk about the molds. 
My first batch of molded pancakes… Well, let’s just say they tasted better than they looked. ;) Part of the problem was lack of practice, but there are some basic tricks to this. Here are a few tips that will increase your chances for success: 

1) Don’t overfill the molds. Too much batter will destroy your shapes; fill it only halfway to the top of the mold. This recipe, in particular, expands quite a bit as it cooks. 

2) Non-stick Cooking Spray is your BEST FRIEND. Spray everything before you pour the batter: the griddle, the molds, even the spatula. 

3) Team work is best. If one person pours and a second spreads the batter into the corners of the mold, the process is much easier. 

4) Don’t be afraid to trim the finished product to better resemble the molds. 

5) When all else fails, remember that round pancakes are just as delicious as shaped ones. 

Whether you use the molds or not, this recipe is a real home run. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family did. 

Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

#NoExcuses Core Workout With Taylor From Pink Heels, Pink Truck

No Excuses Workout Series Core 
Hi y'all! Taylor here from Pink Heels Pink Truck. Christine is down visiting my fabulous state, Texas, so I thought I'd offer my guest posting services while she enjoys a bit of a vacation. :) Today I've got a #NOEXCUSES Core Workout for you. The #NOEXCUSES Workout Series is a series of workouts that can be performed practically anywhere. Very little equipment, if any need. And best of all...No Gym Membership required!! #NOEXCUSES 

So, let's get to the Core Workout. Remember, before starting any new exercise program, talk with your physician. 

WORKOUT DETAILS: This workout requires you to perform each exercise for 30 seconds. So perform one after the other, 30 seconds at a time. Repeat 4-6 times through. 

PLANK JACKS: Get into the pushup position. Keeping your core tight, jump your legs out into a jumping jack. Jump your feet back together. Repeat. 

BICYCLE CRUNCHES: Get in the Regular Crunch Position. You will be making a bicycle movement with your legs. Your elbows are going to move toward the opposite knee. So when your left knee is in towards your body, your right elbow will be in towards your knee. Repeat the twisting/bicycle motion back and forth. Keep your core tight. 

SCISSOR CRUNCHES: Get in the Leg Lift position. Raise your legs off the ground (legs are straight). Move your legs into a V shape, then bring them back towards the middle, crossing over each other (right over left), then back out into the V shape, then back towards the middle, crossing over each other (left over right). Repeat back and forth. Keep your core tight. 

MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS: Get back into the pushup position (plank position but your arms are completely straight). Bring your left knee in towards your chest. Return to start position. Repeat on right side. Repeat back and forth. Keep your core tight. 

SIDE PLANK: Get in the Plank position (pushup position but on your elbows), rotate onto one elbow, rotating your entire body to be perpendicular to the ground. Repeat on the other side. 60 SEC 

PLANK: Get in the Plank position (pushup position but on your elbows). 

MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS: Get back into the pushup position (plank position but your arms are completely straight). Bring your left knee in towards your chest. Return to start position. 

Repeat on right side. Repeat back and forth. Keep your core tight. In Good Health!!!

 Pink Heels Pink Truck
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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Stepping Out Of My Comfort Zone With A Beer Pairing At Harvest

Last week I had the opportunity to visit the Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles to try the new Beer Pairing Menu at Harvest. My friend Katie from Beneath the Chandelier and I got to chat with Executive Chef Tiffany Tooker and Director of Food and Beverage Rick Remington. Every Thursday in October, The Harvest Restaurant offers a pairing dinner for $35/person. With four courses paired perfectly, it's well worth it. Katie and I discussed with Chef Tiffany and Mr. Remington that we aren't beer drinkers normally but still enjoyed this meal. I actually felt that by pushing me out of my comfort zone, I've discovered beers I would have never touched if it weren't for these pairings. It was a great experience and I'm glad I've opened myself up to trying things, like beer, I would normally stay away from. The service was spectacular, the staff was very accommodating and the experience was terrific. Let's dive into what we got to eat! 

Diver Sea Scallop: bacon wrapped diver scallop with an apricot glaze
paired with... 
Stella Artois Lager: full flavored lager with a hoppy aroma and hint of fruit followed by a crisp, mild bitter lemon finish
This was the first time I've had scallops and even though I was intimidated at first, I loved them. I swear, wrap anything in bacon and I'm a happy girl. The scallops were seared and so tender they practically melted in your mouth. There was a sweet and salty combo thanks to the bacon and apricot glaze. It gave this dish a nice, satisfying balance. The crispy rice noodles on top gave it a crunchy finish that rounded out the texture without effecting the flavors. Stella was a great pairing for this dish because the beer did not overpower the food. It was very light with subtle flavors which was perfect for the scallops since they don't have much flavor on their own. I really enjoyed this beer.

Pheasant Run Wedge Salad: crisp iceberg lettuce with applewood smoked bacon, heirloom tomatoes marinated with herb vinaigrette and buttermilk blue cheese dressing
paired with...
ChiTown Pier Pale Ale: a fragrant bouquet of hops with a mild fruity flavor and crisp clean finish that is the hall mark of pale ale's
I was thrown a bit by the salad being the second course. Typically, I'd expect to have the salad first followed by an appetizer like the scallops. I understand why it was second though. The blue cheese dressing had a stronger flavor than the scallops. I'm not a fan of blue cheese but because the dressing had a buttery element, the tanginess of the cheese was tamed a bit. The smoked bacon gave a nice salty flavor and the marinated mushrooms really rounded it out. The Pale Ale was a great pairing for this salad because the flavor matched the blue cheese perfectly. The flavors of the dish were level with the flavors from the beer. I personally liked the Stella better just in terms of beer because it was a bit sweeter but paired with this dish, it was a home run.

Wild Mushroom Crusted Filet Mignon: grilled black angus tenderloin of beef with spinach risotto, oven roasted asparagus and fresh herb demi glaze
paired with...
Pheasant Run Rungneck Red Lager: a rich, deep amber color with soft hop and fruit flavors followed by a lingering clean finish. This beer is made by Leinenkugel specifically for Pheasant Run and is not available anywhere else
Let me begin by saying I had been craving a juicy steak for quite a while before this night. It was, by far, my favorite plate out of the entire meal. The flavors were incredible, the steak was perfectly cooked to my preference (medium-rare leaning more towards rare), the risotto was delicious and the asparagus cooked perfectly with just a slight bite to it. The crispy onions on top and marinated mushrooms were a great topping to the filet and the herb demi glaze was the perfect final touch. It was just enough to compliment every aspect of this dish. The lager this was paired with is the brew made specifically for Pheasant Run Inn. It balanced really well with the heavier flavors of the steak and risotto. It was a beautiful color and had a sweet aspect to it that I particularly enjoyed. The finish was a little bitter to me but other than that, I really enjoyed this pairing. 

Kilauea Chocolate Molten Lava Cake: fresh house made dark chocolate cake filled with warm, decadent chocolate magma topped with Creme Anglaise
paired with...
Guinness Stout: aromas of roasted malt give way to caramel and cocoa flavors that make this the perfect partner for chocolate
This dessert is a chocolate lovers dream. While speaking to Chef Tiffany and Mr. Remington, we learned that all of the desserts at Harvest are cooked fresh and not brought in frozen. That's impressive to me and I really respect Chef Tiffany for not only creating a great menu but also amazing desserts. I loved this cake because it was a bit thicker in density. It's not spongy like birthday cake which I can't stand. There was a drizzle of white and dark chocolate on the plate with a surprise of raspberry syrup as well. I love raspberry and chocolate so I was thrilled about that. The cake was paired with Guiness Stout. The flavors matched well. They're both strong and bold which works well for dessert. The Guiness was not my favorite of the beers we were served but I was definitely satisfied with the dessert.

Visit Harvest at The Pheasant Run Inn and Spa in St. Charles, IL every Thursday in October for a chance to try their signature beer pairing menu.
Here are some additional photos of the menu

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