Stopping to Have Fun

In such a busy life it's super easy to let details take over and rule your hours. Tuesday evening I took some time to enjoy some live music with friends I hadn't seen in a long time.
And, I couldn't say no to Marina.

Rule number three, wear your heart on your cheek
But never on your sleeve, unless you wanna taste defeat


Moving Sale

After watching the Lawrenceville parade and dining on home cooked favorites, this past Memorial Day weekend was spent getting the house in order, making lists, and continuing the moving process. It's almost June, y'all, and we're really just getting started. We've secured a moving company {complete with moving truck!} for June 27, and have assessed our box situation. We have plenty left from moving from Texas to Pittsburgh, so we're safe. I hope.

We still have a few loose ends to tie up, but I'd like to bring one of them to my readers: We're selling a few items, so if you're in the PGH area and need of a Queen bed set, dresser, mattress, microwave, etc., please read on after the jump! {I will update as more items become available for sale or have been sold.}


Top Recipe Posts

Over the past year or so I've posted recipes that you readers loved. So why not remember the good times?
Here's a collection of the highest-viewed recipe posts from {A Dash of Spectacular}:

Boozy Cranberry Sauce. One of the most-viewed recipes that's not only beautiful, but so yummy, all year-round.

Kielbasa & Caramelized Onion Quesadilla. A recipe idea born from a grocery-store challenge. A delicious idea.

The Peach-Ginger-Hit Cocktail. Yes, she's a winner. Really.

Mexican Chocolate Pound Cake. One of my personal favorites for a summer dessert with tropical or spicy cocktails.


Future Travel Destinations

We've got the travel bug.
Although, I'm not so sure that's a good bug to have when you're on a budget and in school. So...
That aside: Now that Husband and I are back from our mini vacation in Chicago, we thought it would be a good time to update our 'Future Travel Destinations' list. The list is usually a top ten we morph into a top-whatever-number of cities, combining duplicates. For now, our list just ventures to cities in North America. We love to road trip, so if a city is close, that's a bonus.
Without further chit-chat, here's our combined list {in no certain order}:

1. Chicago: I mean, what more can I say? It's seriously a love affair.
The Gold Coast in Chicago.
2. Boston: A rainy day in Boston is what dreams are made of.  And, I want a dream real, real soon.
Rainy day in Boston, in 2008 on our honeymoon.
3. San Francisco: Visiting this city never gets old. Food. Fun. Family.
Via dar-za-me.blogspot.com
4. Austin: A not-so-secret love of ours. 

Now, on to the cities we both haven't yet visited together {or, haven't spent 'vacation' time in, only traveling-though}:

5. Boulder, Colorado: A city to showcase crazy wonderful art with a natural backdrop. I've been there many moons ago, and I think it's time to go back and explore.

6. Toronto: We'll be visiting Toronto this summer for a concert and our 5th wedding anniversary. It'll be my first time out of the country!

7. Vancouver: The 'west coast' of Canada is calling our names, especially after the Olympics. 

8. San Jose, Costa Rica: The photos from this place are incredible. I can only imagine the food.

9.  Road Town, British Virgin Islands: Husband has been to the Bahamas and other islands in this area, but I've yet to see the sun-washed colors of this island paradise.

10. Jackson, Wyoming: Stuck in the middle of the Grand Tetons. Done.

11. Seattle: Yet another rainy city after my heart. I hear they have coffee, too? Wink.

12. Helena & Butte, Montana: Wide-open, gorgeous spaces. 

13. Mexico City/Oaxaca, Mexico: The food. The tile. The colors. Arguably the best place in the world to eat mole sauce. Hello, lover.

14. Nashville & Franklin: Now that we have friends living there, we'll be visiting the Nashville & Franklin area hopefully in the next year.

15. Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada: After reading Margaret Atwood's Surfacing, I knew I wanted to see the eerie fog lifting off the lakes of eastern Canada. What better place to start than N.S., riddled with small bodies of water.

What are your top ten cities you'd like to visit? Why? Convince me!


{Travel} Chicago: Architecture, Art and Steak

We're back!
Chicago was the beautiful, bustling city we remember from our third wedding anniversary {Read Part one, two, three & four}. We fell in love all over again...with Chicago. It's certainly on the 'short list' of places we'd like to end up.

Today I write this post on my day off {flex scheduling is great, y'all}, while the rain pours outside. Sipping on a hot chocolate, too.  However, even with those lovely things, I am still missing my time in Chicago.
We started our vacation the night before, by having dinner at The Porch at Schenley. We shared the fig, arugula and goat cheese pizza {along with calamari and a salad}. Wonderful as usual, especially sitting out on THE PORCH itself, looking out to the garden and carousel. You can read my previous review here and be sure to hone in on those crispy potatoes.
Day One
Husband and I decided to road trip out to Illinois, rather than dealing with the lameness that is Pittsburgh International Airport. It was a great decision, and we saw parts of Ohio and Indiana we'd never seen. We stopped in South Bend for lunch, and took a brief self-guided tour of Notre Dame.

Immediately when we got into Chicago after our 7-hour drive, we stopped at Target to get a few things before going to the hotel. Somehow we can't escape missing putting a crucial item in the luggage.  We were greeted in Target with a nice selection of spirits and wine, which was a breath of fresh air from Pittsburgh grocery stores.
We sailed down State with our loot, and took a few car photos of the buildings. You just can't ignore Chicago's architecture.