Monthly Archives: April 2010

Chicago Part 3: Good Eats!

I was only in Chicago for a few days but I was able to enjoy some of the yummy food that Chicago has to offer. I definitely want to go back to try more of the recommended restaurants. What I did notice was that there was a large emphasis on meat! I felt like I ate a ton of meat! First stop, Gino’s East Pizzeria!

Gino's East

Chicago is known for its deep dish pizza and I have heard that Gino’s East is one of the best. There are several locations in Chicago so I walked to the one closest to my hotel. And of course, a long line had formed in front of the restaurant. When I asked how long the wait would be, the hostess said an hour and a half wait in line and then another 45 minutes inside once we order. Goodness…I was so hungry! So to cut the wait down, I placed a to-go order for a Gino’s East Meaty Legend Deep Dish Pizza, which consisted of Italian sausage, pepperoni, bacon and cheese. I also added some green bell peppers just to feel better that I had eaten some vegetables.

Inside Gino's East

mmmmmmmm

The deep dish pizza was definitely delicious! My eyes were way bigger than my stomach so I was only able to eat one large slice. Luckily, I got hungry again later and ate more! YUM! I would definitely go back but I would try one of their other deep dish pizzas next time.

Next up, Portillo’s for famous Chicago Italian Beef sandwich and Hot Dogs. I ordered fries to go with the sandwiches and I was set. The restaurant was large and bustling. There was a long line to order and an even longer line for pick-up. Waiting for the pick-up was entertaining since their was a cashier that was dancing and singing while calling out orders.

Inside Portillo's

Pick-up area @ Portillo's

Portillo's Hot Dogs

I usually like hot dogs, but I felt like this hot dog was better than any other hot dog I had ever had. And after I finished, I felt like I was craving that hot dog several times throughout the trip. I don’t remember ever craving a hot dog. haha The Italian Beef Sandwich was also really good…but like I said, a lot of meat!

Portillo's Italian Beef Sandwich

Then came the best restaurant of the trip, The Bongo Room in Wicker Park.

Inside The Bongo Room

I had seen a commercial about the unique breakfast foods offered at this restaurant so I cabbed it over to Wicker Park to see what deliciousness I could find. And deliciousness is exactly what I found! I ordered the Chocolate Tower French Toast which was french toast with chocolate inserted between the toast. Bananas were placed on top with banana creme brulee surrounding the french toast. This was the best french toast I have ever had. I also ordered hash browns and the potatoes were perfectly seasoned.

Chocolate Tower French Toast @ The Bongo Room

These are just a few of the good eats that I ate at in Chicago. I also ate at Gibson’s Steakhouse which had a really good peppercorn steak. I tried Frontera Grill and was a bit disappointed by the food. The food seemed a bit salty for my taste and I wasn’t impressed with the enchiladas that I ordered.

If you know of any other foods or restaurants I should try next time, please let me know! Thanks!

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Chicago Part 2: Millennium Park

Luckily, I had a few friends that either currently live in Chicago or have lived in Chicago at some point in their lives. So I was able to ask for recommendations and suggestions of sites that I most definitely had to see. And every time I spoke to someone about Chicago, the same thing kept coming up: “You have to see the BEAN!”

So after some research, I found out about Millennium Park, where the Bean is! The Bean is actually an art piece by Anish Kapoor called “Cloud Gate”. As I walked through Millennium Park, I was impressed by the beauty of all of the artwork and structures at the park. And Cloud Gate was even larger than I had thought it would be!

The BEAN!

So many people taking pictures!

The Jay Prtizker Pavilion is also  in Millennium Park and is a concert and grass area that can fit up to 7000 people. It’s such an amazing outdoor area and I can only imagine the great concerts that take place there. I’m sure that during the summer months the grass area must be filled with thousands of concert-goers enjoying the summer weather.

Jay Pritzker Pavilion

Here are some of the other shots of artwork in Millennium Park, which includes Contemporary Art from China and the Crown Fountain.

Contemporary Art from China

Contemporary Art from China

Crown Fountain

After strolling through Millennium Park, I headed to the Art Institute of Chicago, which is free on Thursday nights between 5-8pm. I love FREE!

Art Institute of Chicago

Art Institute of Chicago

Art Institute of Chicago

Then I headed back to Cloud Gate to see if there would be less people and to see if I could get some better shots. And I was so happy that I went back. There was still the same amount of people but the Chicago lights reflecting off of Cloud Gate looked so beautiful.

Cloud Gate at night

Cloud Gate at night

Next time, I’ll tell you all about the famous architecture in Chicago! For more info on Millennium Park, go to http://www.millenniumpark.org

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Melinda Mae 2010 Baby Bags!

Melinda Mae Baby Bag!

Announcing the 2010 Melinda Mae Baby Bag! Every year, I introduce a new design and this year is the Melinda Mae Baby Bag! I thought this would be a great new design since I have so many friends that are either expecting, just had a baby or planning to have a baby soon! Here are a couple of examples of Melinda Mae Baby Bags that have already been made and their descriptions:

Melinda Mae Baby Bag!

The Melinda Mae Baby Bags have heavy duty straps for heavy items such as full baby bottles, toys, wipes, etc. There is a shoulder strap and hand straps, depending on what is easier for each person to carry. There are two exterior elastic pockets, perfect for easy access to bottles, cell phone, keys and/or sunglasses. There is a zipper closure at the top to keep all of your items inside.

Look Inside!

Within the baby bag, you will find 3 elastic pockets for more bottles and keeping items in their place. There is also the option of adding an additional 3 elastic pockets to the interior!

Take a closer look!

On the bottom of the bag, there is a plastic piece to help to keep the shape of the bottom of the bag. The bag is also lined with fleece for extra padded cushioning.  The Melinda Mae Baby Bag measures 5″ wide x 16″ long x 12″ tall so it is not too overwhelming large.

Another Melinda Mae Baby Bag!

oooo..look what's inside!

Melinda Mae Baby Bags are currently by custom order only since there are so many possibilities with design and pattern combinations! The possibilities are endless! =) For more details and to order a custom Melinda Mae Baby Bag, please contact me at info@melinda-mae.com. Welcome to the world Melinda Mae Baby Bags! =)

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Welcome to the Windy City! Chicago: Part I

I just recently went on my first trip to Chicago. I had always heard great things about Chicago such as how clean it is, how similar it is to NYC, how friendly the people are and how beautiful the city is. And all of it was very TRUE!

When I arrived in Chicago, I took the train to downtown Chicago and I was able to see the neighborhoods around Chicago and people watch. To get to my hotel on the Magnificent Mile, I had to hop off the train and take a cab to Magnificent Mile. When I came out of the train station, I was instantly reminded of movies such as Spiderman and While You Were Sleeping. While I was taking in the city, someone stopped me and asked if I was lost and needed help. Isn’t it sad that I was shocked that someone would be that nice to help me in a major city? ha

I have so much to say about Chicago because I absolutely loved it so I will be blogging about the various sites, restaurants and stores that I visited. Hopefully this will help some of you if you are planning a trip to Chicago soon!  I was most impressed by the plethora of artwork and architecture in Chicago.  I also noticed that everywhere we went, really great jazz or soul music was playing. I couldn’t believe that coffee shops, stores, hotel lobbies, restaurants and other places were playing Robin Thicke, Dwele, Musiq Soulchild and Common.

To start off my Chicago posts, here are some shots of downtown Chicago that I took when I first arrived. I was so excited to have my camera with me during this trip. What a beautiful city!

Check back for more posts about Chicago…food, architecture, shopping and more!

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Alicia, Robin & Melanie: WOW!

On April 10th, Robin Thicke, Melanie Fiona and Alicia Keys finished the Element of Freedom Tour in Oakland at the Oracle Arena. I love concerts, especially when there is a line-up of great soulful artists!  I was anxious to see Melanie Fiona since I have never seen her perform live. She performed a few of her hit songs (“Give It To Me Right”, “It Kills Me”) and even sang Chaka Khan’s hit “Sweet Thing” with her powerful voice and rocking a gold sequin dress. After Melanie Fiona’s opening, the stage was set for Robin Thicke’s Sex Therapy set.

Robin Thicke's Sex Therapy

I have seen Robin Thicke perform twice before and this performance was definitely different than the other times. Robin Thicke danced throughout his set and even tossed his suit jacket into the crowd! At one point, Robin Thicke asked the crowd “What does every women need?” And I was thinking, “Shoes?”, but apparently he was alluding to his single, “Sex Therapy.” haha He performed “Lost Without You” as one of his final songs and closed his set by rapping to a Lil’ Wayne song, which was more than a little strange. I enjoyed his performance overall but I still can’t help but picture Mr. Jason Seaver when I see Robin Thicke. eek. Then I think Mr. Seaver and Sex Therapy? Ewww.

oh yea....Growing Pains!

Alicia Keys began her set emerging from a smoke-filled stage within a cage to go with her Element of Freedom theme. This was my second time to see Alicia perform and I was happy to hear her sing her hits, but I was disappointed that she did not play her piano as much as she did at the last concert. I was also hoping she would perform a reggae version of some of her songs as she usually does in performances, but she did not this time.

Alicia is amazing live and I loved when she performed “Like You’ll Never See Me Again”, which is my favorite Alicia Keys song. Not only was I blown away by her voice and performance, but I was also amazed by Alicia’s super high heels!  She performed for about two hours, singing and dancing across the stage and up and down stairs. She changed into three outfits, all which included super sexy high heels! Her most beautiful change was into a flowing mermaid white gown.

Alicia closed the show with “Empire State of Mind (Part II)” and interchanged “New York” with “Oakland” for all of the fans.

I definitely enjoyed the concert…now I’m antsy for the next concert…anybody know of any good shows coming up? =P

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New Products added to Melinda Mae website!

There are new products on the Melinda Mae website! Check out http://www.melinda-mae.com to see new fabrics and check out the 2010 collection! And there’s so much more to come! Here’s a preview of what you will find on Melinda Mae Handbags website!

Melinda Mae GEOMETRY Medium Handbag

Melinda Mae KOI-TASTIC Clutch

Melinda Mae JUNGLE Large Bag

Melinda Mae MANDARIN Small Bag

Melinda Mae EDAMAME Clutch

Special THANKS to my website designer, Jonathan! =)

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