Monthly Archives: March 2012

Oh No You Di-int!

Neil and I have been overindulging a bit too much lately, but last week was especially ridiculous. We somehow found a way to justify margaritas after work on Tuesday, PF Chang’s on Wednesday, and last night we went to Rockit at 11pm (side note, their truffle fries are out of this world). So today we made the hard decision to move forward with what we are calling “responsible cutbacks.” Neil has pledged to only eat Sweet Tarts/Dots/Chex Mix 4 days this week, and I froze the rest of my cupcake batch so that I can only have one if I think to take it out in advance. And tonight’s dinner we sacrificed the most, because we cut out carbs.

I grew up in a house that takes very little seriously, but one thing you don’t mess with is pizza. Patti would eat (and does, now that I think about it) pizza every day of her life. But in the name of responsibility, I messed with our pizza tonight. I think I broke a commandment when I made pizza crust made out of…


Now, I realize that by sharing this recipe with you, we risk losing all credibility when it comes to recipe recommendations. But one of these days when you are jonesin’ for pizza and Mr. Atkins is breathing down your neck, you will thank us. We got this recipe (found here) from our friend Deanne and were honestly shocked at how good it turned out.

Maybe it was all the cheese or half a bag of pepperoni, but we didn’t even think about the fact that it wasn’t real pizza.

Even Neil ate and loved this pizza. If this is what it feels like to make cutbacks, sign me up! I’ll keep cutting back alllllll week long.

Love and low carb,


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Mo Money, Mo Problems

There’s a phenomenon called the Paradox of Choice that says when people have too many things to choose from, it becomes paralyzing and they make no decisions at all. I think that the scientists who came up with this were probably watching me and Caili try to choose a restaurant. On paper, our neighborhood sounds great–right downtown, steps from Millennium Park and Lake Michigan, just a 10-15 minute walk to tons of food options. But in reality, it’s made our dining choices really difficult. The problem is much like a diamond–multifaceted, hard to stop looking at, and it ends up costing me a lot of money. Consider:

1. All the cheap places shut down at night. If you wanted to get lunch on a weekday, you’d love it here. Thanks to the surrounding office buildings, there’s McDonalds, Panda Express, Sbarro, Panera and everything else you can think of. But at night, all the businesspeople go home and leave only a sorry Giordano’s to tide us over.

2. Everything nearby is trendy. You might think that Caili and I are stylish city people, but we’re not. As I type this, between us we’re wearing two Old Navy shirts and a hoodie. (And neither of us are wearing pants! Kidding.) The point is, we’re not that into the floofy gourmet restaurants that they have downtown. One of our most recent restaurant outings was to the only Chili’s in Chicago.

3. The good restaurants won’t deliver down here. When we lived in Lakeview, we had an ongoing love affair with a Chinese takeout place called Yen’s. We got their General Chow Chicken, extra spicy, almost every weekend. But we’ve discovered that Mr. Yen refuses to deliver to our current place. The one place that will deliver? The aforementioned Giordano’s. Meh.

So the next time you’re calling up your local takeout place–or driving your big suburban automobile past a line of amazing fast food options–think about those of us in the inner-city who are every day, every hour, coping with life in a food desert and wondering where their next meal is going to come from.

Don’t Kiss Me; I’m Irish But Not Interested

One of the “best” parts about living downtown is being located literally in the middle of all the events that we try to avoid. Chicago tourists have their own place in our hearts, which also happens to be the place where all the profanities live. It sounds insensitive, but you would understand if all you wanted to do was run your Saturday morning errands and to do them you had to fight drunk high schoolers screaming, “I’M NOT 21!!!!”

We woke up yesterday to a scene that was worse than we had imagined. Our entire panoramic view was covered with swarms of green, and it wasn’t the spring buds coming to life. The worst of the worst had woken up, put on every green garment they owned, and were now covering our neighborhood in what looked like a green human ant farm. To show our protest, we decided that the St. Patrick’s Day crowd was not going to stop us from having the day we had imagined. So, clad in black head to toe, we swam against the current of green to get our early morning Jamba Juice. As we sipped our Banana Berry (no boost) and Strawberry Whirl (caffeine boost, duh), we had somewhat of a movie moment. Were we the Grinches of Chicago holidays? Were our hearts, in fact, two sizes too small?

We couldn’t have that on our conscience, so we reluctantly embraced the holiday and visited the parade, the newly dyed green river and even had some day drinks…but we drew the line at the green attire. I can’t say our hearts grew two sizes yesterday, but I’d like to think we saved St. Patrick’s Day in our own way.

Offering emotional support to a friend marching in the name of St. Patrick

Thumbs up to polluting our natural resources!

"My mouth is smiling, but I am dying inside."

We (G)love Michigan!

Have you ever been to a state that’s shaped like a glove? We have — more than once. If you are looking for N+C this weekend, face toward the Great Lakes. We will be living out the Pure Michigan ads, minus the Tim Allen voiceover. 

One of our favorite things to do in the glove state is to stay on the lake and imagine what retirement must feel like. Our friend Heidi’s parents are so generous to let us stay at their place and pretend like we could afford it.



We plan to impress the locals with our city style (aka black head to toe), help their local economy (spend at least $14 at the candy store downtown), and just be adorable in general.


We’ll see you back here on Sunday, when the gloves will come off – literally! 70 degree days are finally back in Chicago’s 10-day forecast. That means it’s time to get my Little Mermaid beach towel and the funnoodles out of storage.

Have a great weekend!



If You Having Girl Problems, I Feel Bad For You Son

Just a small sampling of what I'm dealing with.


Caili is a fantastic roommate. Honestly, living together has been really harmonious. But until six months ago when we got married, I’d never lived with a girl before. Here’s what I’ve learned in my short journey in the land of female roommates. These are really just based on one girl–Caili–but haven’t we learned that when it comes to gender/ race/ sexual orientation, it’s better to just generalize about people?

They’re really concerned with smells.
Caili has one scent for her bath products and another for her perfume. One for a room spray and another for candles that she lights when guests come over. She wants to make sure that every time she smells a smell, it’s a good one. But it doesn’t stop there–she also has a thing about demanding we close our bedroom door every time we cook meat in the adjoining kitchen. Apparently she doesn’t want our bedding and all of her clothes to smell like cheeseburgers. And all this time, I thought that smell was an aphrodisiac.

They watch what you eat.

Not what they eat, necessarily–but the food choices you’re making. My Dad always says that if he lived alone, he wouldn’t make it another five years, since there’d be no one to stop him from eating whatever he wanted all the time. On this I agree. Often when I’m standing at the pantry, Caili’s mouth says “I love you” but her eyes say “Do you really need to polish off that whole bag of gummi bears while we’re cooking dinner?”

They have SO many toiletries.

I’m no caveman or anything–I like my hair gel and nice shaving cream–but I can’t believe how many bathroom items Caili has. Our cabinet is overrun with lotions, creams, gels, ointments and salves of all kinds. I have no idea what most of them are for, but as long as she does I guess we’re okay.

They’re sensitive about TV shows and movies.

This might be specific to Caili, who is also the world’s harshest movie critic, but girl roommates really would prefer you don’t watch violent shows. Caili made it through about 5 minutes of a Boardwalk Empire episode with me before someone got shot in the head. Her immediate response: “Why would anyone watch this??” Other girls may not be as sensitive about this, though–after all, Caili is on record as saying she doesn’t like any movies with “guns, explosions or surprises.”



Where Have All The Cupcakes Gone?

I’ll save you some time here. The answer is always, ALWAYS, “In Caili’s stomach”. I have passed cupcake binges off as dinner, sneaked them in after breakfast and eaten my nephew’s discarded cupcake after a birthday party…drool and all. And while I don’t discriminate against cupcake flavors, I think I found one that makes the other flavors yell, “Marcia, Marcia Marcia!”



The best part about it? I made it. Which means no more explaining/justifying $6 Sprinkles charges to Neil. I can’t take credit for this paper-encased miracle, but you can still be intimidated by me since I made my own caramel sauce.



Here is the recipe –  make this!


With liberty and cupcakes for all,





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The Neil and Caili Show

Now that we’ve gotten you all stoked for this living room transformation, it might be a good time to mention that this is probably going to be the biggest let down in blog history… but we’ll give it a go.

Before – Our new C&B couch does all the talking:

Ready for the after?

(Insert Ty Pennington) MOVE. THAT. BUS! (Sorry we didn’t bother to fix the cushions. We probably wouldn’t even if you were coming for dinner)

Totally stating the obvious here, but we have gone a little bit overboard on the wedding photos. We like to refer to our home right now as The Neil and Caili Show, because the only magnets on our fridge are leftover Save-the-Dates. To the right of this wall, we have a massive canvas of one of our engagement photos. And the slide show on our TV/computers is our engagement/wedding/honeymoon on loop. We’re working on it!

Who better to enjoy the N+C wall than the narcissists themselves?

We need some new pictures….