Tag Archives: shopping

Even the vegetables don’t like him

Morning chicks.

We’re two days from Christmas and yesterday the Palluzzi clan spent the day running appropriate errands to procure all eight thousand pieces of fish necessary for tomorrow’s great feast.

More to come on that.

It’s my favorite meal of the year, which is saying a lot, since, as we all know, I eat a lot of meals.

Anyway, we also started in with the Christmas movies, selecting Muppet Christmas Carol as our first contender.

I forgot how funny Muppets are.

Pretty friggin’ funny, in case you were wondering.

Good thing I have two more Muppet holiday treats before I must turn to live action creatures.

Have you seen this or this? Get to it, already- time is a wastin’.

In today’s news, even though it is the day before Christmas Eve and as stated previously, tomorrow is The Best Meal of the Year, my mother has invited over half of the town for pizza.

She tells me it’s not that many people.

That’s what she always says.

In any case, it will be a day of last minute wrapping, gabbing, chopping, and eating.

Pretty standard, actually.

Hope everyone else is hustling home to their own traditions and their own famiglia.

Catch you chickpeas later.





Filed under Good times, Michigan, Reflections, Things that are delicious

Weekend-y Things.

So last night JW and I stayed in, partly because I was sick, and partly because we wanted to watch Netflix and play some Mario.

We watched Seven Pounds, which turned out to be yet another movie that makes me cry. I feel like the Wicked Witch of the West these days.

I’m melting. Or at least, my blackened heart is.

I did not watch the Haiti telethon, precisely because I knew that my fragile psyche could not handle it. But I’ve been watching clips today, and it was beautiful. I thought this in particular was lovely:

It’s Justin Timberlake. I can’t figure out how to get it embedded.

This morning JW and I rose early to go do a little sports volunteering at a school on the West side, which was a lot of fun, except that my throat is feeling as though it’s covered in barbed wire. This meant that my athletic prowess was nothing short of embarrassing in front of tiny children, but that’s okay.

I’ll be back, and they won’t know what hit them.

All in all, it was really fun to meet some new volunteers who were our age, and to hang out with some kids playing volleyball for a couple hours. Fun all around.

JW and I were already in the near suburbs at this point, so we decided to go to Caputo’s, which is the home turf of my best friend J and an overall adventure. It’s a little grocery store full of every Italian good I  could want, and the parking lot is an obstacle course of old Italian women hugging.

We also encountered a grocery store worker getting angry when discovering that the patron he was assisting had Dominick’s bags in his trunk.


We got some rolls, cheap produce, pasta, and made our way out of there, successfully navigating without hitting any of the six dozen people mulling around in the parking lot.

I’ve spent the rest of the day laying low, trying to recover from whatever this nasty little bug is, because I’m headed to Cafe Ba Ba Reeba tonight for dinner, and it’s delicious there. Full of Spanish tapas, including crispy potatoes that I’ve been dreaming about for a year (since I was last there). I’m rounding out the night at a party for the lovely MA, and then spending tomorrow finishing the recovery process from this illness.

Hope everyone else is having a great weekend!


Filed under Good times, Things that are delicious

Good Weekend. Why stop at Sunday night?

This weekend my parents and tiny baby brother (who is now 19 and decidedly not tiny. Or a baby. But I’m the oldest. I’ll call him whatever I want.) came into the city.

This is always a really good time.

We kicked off the weekend by heading to Kitchenette, where we ordered approximately 3000 rolls of sushi and drank red wine, courtesy of Chicago’s plethora of BYOB places tucked into the city. It also has Thai food, if you’re in the mood for that. Nothing like having everything I love in one place.

Saturday we all grabbed breakfast, went to Costco, (which is basically a Palluzzi mecca. We love it. We hang out there.) and ran a few errands.

Then we ate again, because that’s what we do. This time at Heroes, which is a sub shop at the corner of Addison and Western. If you live here, and you haven’t had a sub there, you better get to it. Sandwiches are my favorite.

We also had a cake from Dinkel’s, because it was my mom’s birthday. The cake = outrageous.

So many flowers. This cake was delicious.

Saturday night was surely the high point of the trip though. We invited all of our friends and cohorts over for pizza, and JW basically flung delicious pizzas at us all night long (I believe the final count was 30 people, 16 pizzas, a calzone, and a million bottles of wine. Or something like that). I wish I could show you a picture of the pizza, but it disappeared so fast, there was no time.

This is the calzone. He was the last one that came out of the oven. He lasted about 20 seconds after this picture.

After Saturday night’s festivities, which lasted into Sunday morning and involved my father playing a drinking game with my work friends and a phone being pelted down my front stairs, we decided to take it easy on Sunday by basically sitting quietly all day.

And playing Mario Brothers until nearly two in the morning.

My brother is the only other person in this world who takes his Mario Brothers as seriously as I do. This leads to four hour stretches of game playing.

Yes, I know I’m nearly 26 years old.

I took today off to hang with my family a little more before they head back to Michigan, so on the docket is breakfast downtown and a little shopping around, because that is crucial to the Chicago experience.

I love a weekend extender.

Hope everyone else’s weekend has been as good as mine, and that thanks to Dr. King Jr. (who we have a lot more to thank for than this), some of you have another day off yourselves.


Filed under Good times, Things that are delicious

A leak in my umbrella and some extra bucks

Although I thought that yesterday the rain and I had come to some sort of agreement, it turns out the weather wasn’t actually bargaining with me. In fact, it was mocking me, straight up. I woke up to rain, and figured that it would have to end by lunch–it’s been raining for days, how much damn rain can fall from the sky? It had to let up.

This was all very scientific.

However, the rain did not let up, and I took my umbrella out to lunch to meet my friend V (a sunny spot in my otherwise drippy day). Since I live in Chicago, not only was it raining, but it was blowing all over the place (wind-ing? Would that be the right verb?) At some point during my fifteen minute walk, I also realized that something else was happening.

It was dripping on me. Through my umbrella. Which apparently has a hole in it.

This is all so very predictable. I made it in one piece, ate lunch, and then was assaulted by the rain/wind/leaky umbrella trifecta of June in Chicago on my way back. I spent the afternoon working as quietly as possible.  And growling.

After work, I headed to the gym, where I took out my rain related aggression on several machines while listening to angry Taylor Swift music. Although she is but a dysfunctional nineteen year old, for some strange reason I have decided now is the time to relate to this kind of sappy, dramatic music. Despite the fact that I’m not unhealthily entrenched in a sub-par relationship (which seems to be happening to her constantly). In any case, it seems to make for good interval training music.

I made my way back to my apartment, where I found not one, but two pay stubs waiting for me. Let me explain something to you. Even though my paycheck is the same every two weeks, as I am a salaried employee, I cannot get enough of my pay stub. It just screams “You’re an adult–good job! Look at those tax deductions–and your 401k, nice job with that!” For some reason, this brings me great joy and reassurance every fifteen days or so.

But today there was an extra one, with a couple extra bucks in it. I believe this is because tomorrow marks my 3rd SB anniversary. Whoa. Where’d that time go? If I recall, they reward you with a small sum–sort of like, thanks for sticking it out, keep up the good work. This is perfect timing, as I’m set to jet to the East on Tuesday. In general, I like to hoard extra sums of cash like this, but I think this time I might do something compulsive and just…spend it. Scary. I might hide some of it just to make myself feel better, but we’ll see. I’m feeling dangerous.

In any case, I’m off to eat some chocolate pudding, watch all the bad TV I want, and hunt down purchases I can make with this tidy little sum. JW’s at rugby, and so I have free reign. See you guys at the weekend!


Filed under Near Disaster, Reflections

A little overzealous

Is basically what I was last night.  I obviously forgot that I had been eating pain killers as if they were fruit snacks. In fact, I forgot almost everything after a mere two glasses of wine, but I think I had a good time. I maybe transitioned back to the solid foods too quickly though, as I woke up this morning with a headache and aching jaw. Nice move, N. Panda. In any case, I love nothing more than eating and drinking with my crazy friends and shouting outrageous stories over one another until someone is shocked or we all start laughing. This is how friendship is meant to be experienced, from this vantage point.

I finally made my way back to the nearly forgotten Y today, which was so necessary. I realized in the throes of my Lifetime Movie-esque existence last week, I had forgotten to make time for things like getting off my couch. It was nice to take a long (ish) run and get some of that tension worked out of me. I hate those people who are always saying terrible things like “I’m so beastly when I don’t go to the gym,” but it appears I am among them. I am decidedly less beastly today than I have been in a week. I’ve only snarled twice. Honest.

My goals for the rest of the week are fairly straightforward, and they consist of the following:

1. Going to the gym at least twice more.
2. Buying some new piece of clothing. I believe this is warranted.
3. Survival

I have decided that #3 is obviously my first priority, and that if I can simply get myself on vacation for a few days, I will be able to clear my head and come back refreshed. I am aware this is a longshot, but it’s my only option for the moment. It can’t hurt anyway, right?

Anyway, I hope that everyone else’s Wednesday has been conquered, hopefully more successfully than mine. In any case, it’s over now, and so, on we move!

P.S. Hey Windy City? It’s summer, in case you were wondering–so maybe a little warm weather? Okay, take your time, really, it’s not like we’re in a limited window of opportunity here. Thanks!

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Filed under Good times, Near Disaster

That was intense…

Okay, I know I’ve been delinquent, but my mom used to tell me the following:

“I never had a diary–I was too busy with my life.”

While I am not trying to justify my transgressions here, that pretty much sums it up.

In the past couple of days I have been doing the following things:

1. Hosting a pizza party for my favorite people (see JW, the actual chef, below):



2. Running 7 miles. This was intense (especially when I was short on sleep and long on, well, wine consumption), but it was a great accomplishment for this wannabe runner. Plus, I got to do it with this view, so I really can’t complain (see that tiny Ferris Wheel in the background? I ran past that.):

Isn't it a beautiful sight?

Isn't it a beautiful sight?

3. Finally saw Watchmen. We read/viewed this graphic novel for book club a couple of weeks ago, and it was not really my standard genre (I love Alice Hoffman–so shoot me), I loved this book because it was interesting and colorful and different. The movie, on the IMAX, was equally delightful.

4. Went out to Fernando’s with K, C, and M. I love nothing more than visitors who fall in love with my city. It reinforces my giant ego around the greatness of Chicago. Plus I get to take long walks, talk about touristy things, and eat burritos and drink margaritas. If you live in the area and you haven’t been here, remedy that. Right away.

5. Watched tons of basketball and watched my bracket like a hawk. I am obsessed with sports tournaments and don’t care who knows it. I love nothing more than a good upset or a Cinderella story, especially when it comes to college ball, I feel like it means more there. That being said, I’m cheering for a number one seed this year. Go Huskies!
Disclosure: I cheer for these guys in good times and bad, and even when they break my heart and don’t make the tournament, or when they break my heart and get knocked out in the first round. These wounds are still fresh.

6. Made this delicious dish for JW–he’s been pining for meat sauce with onions in it, and per usual, I haven’t been receptive to change. However, when the Pioneer Woman tells me to do something, I just shut up and go with the flow. She was right, of course.

7. Played in a soccer game Sunday night that caused me significant injuries (none too serious, of course). Basically, my right leg now looks like it’s in a soccer ball costume. There’s nothing like a nice, geometric welt to end the weekend. I attempted to take a picture, but in reality, red lines against my pasty leg just isn’t what I think you guys want to take a look at. So, you’ll just have to use your imaginations. I know, not pretty.

All in all, a successful weekend. Up this week is wrangling my overstocked pantry and making all my staples into actual dinners. That and getting ready for the Shamrock Shuffle this weekend. It’s like the opening games of Chicago running season. And the forecast’s set for a blistery forty degrees. Typical. This is me after my first Shuffle, in 2007. I have red hair, and I’ve just taken a long time to finish the race. But I’m excited, because I finished it, goddammit. And because, unbeknownst to you, I’ve got a free beer ticket on that bib.

Finished (now give me my beer!)

Finished (now give me my beer!)

I think that’s it for now bambini. Sweet dreams!

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Filed under Good times, Running

My Walk of Shame (Goodbye GAP order)

So I had this sweet coupon for the GAP that entitled me to 30% off everything. EVERYTHING. So I went to the GAP on Michigan Avenue with Jon after work on a Friday, which was the worst idea I’ve had in a long time. It was chock full of suburbanites and Southerners from out of town, crowding all the sweaters and agonizing over jeans. So JW and and I tried on a couple of things and got out of there. I even walked out with free jeans, since the checkout lady forgot to ring them up (which almost makes up for the hives I got from being in such close proximity to all those people).

I was unsatisfied. And the coupon was re-useable.

The next thing I know, it’s Saturday afternoon and JW is at the gym while I clean for awhile. When I was finished, I started browsing the GAP website, filling my virtual cart with more jeans and a sweater. I threw in a couple of pairs of jeans for JW for Christmas, typed in my promo code, hit enter, and voila! Great savings headed my way.

Now, those of you who know me well know that I am obsessed with tracking packages. It’s seriously one of my favorite things to do–I love to know when something is “out for delivery.” So Monday I happily go to UPS.com and enter in my tracking number–who knows how close I am to receiving my new goods?? However, when I track them, disaster strikes. By accident, the jeans got sent to my old address. Shit.  It’s okay, I tell myself. You will just track the shit out of these jeans until you notice they say “Delivered” and then go to the old building and get them. Packages used to go for months unnoticed there, laying in the lobby unclaimed. Plus, I know just how to throw my body into the door to get it to open when it’s locked. This will be fine.

Except last night when I spied it had been delivered, it was not fine. I trekked the three extra blocks over to the old apartment and opened the door (it was open when I got there–I didn’t even have to crash into it) and was greeted with an empty lobby. Seriously? I once saw a Jcrew package sit there through the entirety of a season without anyone touching it. Who the hell would want both the shortest jeans on earth and the tallest jeans all at once? No one. I sighed loudly and walked back out the door, ready to claim defeat.

And then that nagging voice came at me. Why don’t you just go knock on the door and see if the new renters got it by accident? That’s easy enough.

Precursor: When we moved out of the place, there was trash, an army of dust bunnies, and (this is hard to admit) food in the fridge. All of which we fully intended upon coming back and getting rid of…except that when we drove by, someone was moving in. Instead of going in and shamefully admitting that we were not done, we didn’t stop and left the apartment behind forever. Which probably rendered us the biggest scumbags of all time to the new girls. But this didn’t matter, since we would never have to see them again.

Except now I had to go knock on their door. I stood in the cold for a minute, trying to decide if I should just admit this as karma and go home, but I couldn’t.

So I knocked. And was greeted by a girl wearing sweatpants and a sweatshirt at five-thirty, sporting lots of makeup, eyeliner in particular. She also had Big-10 goods everywhere, including a sign on her door and the sweatshirt on her back. Great. I asked her if she had seen my package, which of course she had not. She took my name down on her whiteboard (I am sure this was a leftover from her college dorm) as I tried to sneak peeks at the home that was. She assured me that she would let me know if she saw my package. I doubted this.

I also attempted to make it sound like I had not been the previous inhabitor of the apartment, but that failed miserably. It went like this:

Me: Hi! My name is Nikki and I had a package sent here by mistake. It’s an old address (said in a voice meant to convey I lived here one decade ago).

Her: Oh, okay. I haven’t seen it, but let me take your number.

Me: Thanks!

Her: So you lived here last?

Me: (stuttering). Yeahhh, I did.

Her: (scathing look) Oh.

It didn’t get better. I then thanked her again, walked out of the door, and vowed to never leave condiments and lettuce in the fridge close to the end of a lease again. I’m pretty sure I’ll never see those jeans.

However, the story has a happy ending. GAP is sending me new jeans (minus one pair they didn’t have anymore) free of charge and mailing them to the office. Where I know no one in sweatpants and excessive eyeliner will get their paws on them.

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Filed under Near Disaster