Chicago Restaurants We’re Currently Loving

Chicago Restaurants We're currently Loving - Girl Nesting

Summertime is finally here in Chicago! Nothing beats warm weather in this beautiful windy city, which is why Michael and I are taking every opportunity we can to go on dates. Yes actual dates, with no highchair needed. Our daughter is in daycare, which means if we are free during the day, you can bet we’re with each other. We have said farewell to winter hibernation and hello to one of the best cities in the world during the summertime. 

Chicago has some of the best restaurants in the country, with new spots popping up daily. We get a chance to get to know other neighborhoods in the city just by exploring new restaurants. Chicago is also very diverse, which makes dining almost like mini world traveling. These are a few of our current favorite restaurants that have us coming back for more.

Chicago Restaurants We're Currently Loving - Girl Nesting

Umai Kitchen & Sushi Restaurant (730 S Clark St – South Loop)

Try the SURF & TURF seen above (Half roll $9/ Full roll $17): Shrimp tempura, asparagus, cream cheese, apple, topped w/seared medium rare beef sirloin, drizzled w/parsley yuzu oil = DELICIOUS! They also serve Ramen which I’m dying to try next! Their sushi is exceptional. I crave this restaurant on a regular.

Chicago Restaurants We're Currently Loving - Girl Nesting

Milk & Honey Café (1920 W Division Street – Wicker Park)

 Try their HUEVOS RANCHEROS for just $7.95! Really really good. Michael is a loyal fan of their famous house-made GRANOLA, VANILLA YOGURT AND FRESH FRUIT for only $5.95! Milk & Honey has great food, affordable prices, great outdoor seating and lovely people. This is one of our favorite casual breakfast spots to quietly dine at. As soon as we drop off Zoë at daycare, this is our next stop.

Chicago Restaurants We're currently Loving - Girl Nesting

The Southern (1840 W North Ave – Wicker Park)

This bar and comfort food dining is my absolutely favorite! I can’t pass by The Southern and not grab a bite to eat. Michael and I always order the SHRIMP & GRITS (LOVE!!!) for $19. Hands down, we feel The Southern has the best Shrimp & Grits in the city. Pair it with the Amber Ale – you will thank me. This particular time we tried their brunch since we arrived a bit too early for dinner. I had the STEAK HASH for $17.00: Marinated Tenderloin, Sweet Potato, Smoked Wild Mushroom, Pickled Beet, Sunny Side-Up Egg = AMAZING! Michael’s plate, which I was drooling over…was the BACON EGG AND CHEESE $14.00: House Made Bacon, Pimento Cheese Scrambled Eggs, Griddled Sourdough, Pickled Okra. …As you can see my husband was very kind to let me try some of his plate, and OMGOODNESS, it was freak’n good. 

So if you’re looking for a great place to eat here in Chicago, make sure you consider these three amazing restaurants. Each have great outdoor seating so you can enjoy the summer breeze.

FYI: I’m going to make our dining favorites a regular here for the summer on Girl Nesting, so stay tuned!

What I Would Tell My Younger Self 5 Years Ago

What I Would Tell My Younger Self 5 Years Ago - Girl Nesting

Michael and I are celebrating our 5 year wedding anniversary a little early this year (we were married on July 16th). The opportunity to get away this week came from Mike’s job, so we are happily sipping champagne in the breathtaking mountains of Utah for a few days. I have to admit it’s incredibly hard being away from our daughter Zoë…but we needed this time together just the two of us, so important.

Anniversaries are a nostalgic time. 5 years later, we are both a little older and little wiser. Life’s surprises, as I’ve mentioned before, have made Michael and I stronger. We can’t help but feel more confident of our loves strength now that we’ve been thrown obstacles that could have gone either way for two people. It could have torn us apart, but instead it made us hold onto each other tighter; fighting the current as a team. That says a lot about a couple…so we have a lot to be proud of. 

 What would I tell my younger self if I could go back 5 years? I would tell myself to not follow the traditional herd…instead get married barefoot. Stop making personal decisions based on outside opinions. Remind loved ones early on that this is our love, our new family, Michael and me. To march to our own beat like we always have. To enjoy all of those monumental special moments in our own special way. I would remind myself that we are unique and our love is unique, so all special moments to us should be unique as well. It is in fact a representation of us and no one else. We are one of a kind, thank you God.

What I Would Tell My Younger Self 5 Years Ago - Girl Nesting

*Pictures taken with an iPhone 6. More pictures to come (taken with our Canon 6d) when we return home.

Welcome BlueJay Photography!

Welcome BlueJay Photography - Girl Nesting

I am very excited to announce that Michael and I have launched our photography business: BlueJay Photography! The response has been a huge success! We already have 3 bookings lined up and my modeling agency Ford is on board with us doing a fashion/beauty test! I can’t wait to pick a model to work with, I have the perfect story imagined. My dream is coming to life and that’s an amazing feeling. 

Here are a few of my favorite shots from our first two shoots. Both of these family’s were incredible to work with, their hearts came right through the lense. An average of 160 images per family picked, custom processed, retouched by me. I’ve been very busy…and LOVING every bit of it. There’s no better feeling than enjoying your passion and being able to bring joy to others with that passion.

HOW WE WORK TOGETHER

Michael and I both shoot during a photo session, we’re a great team and know when to pass the camera. I’m the creative director, I just see it all in my head. Being so close to my husband, I express how the shot needs to be approached and cropped and he gets it right away. He often say’s, “Jahaila tells me what to shoot and I just shoot it”, but it takes talent to get that shot and he’s got it. I love working with Michael, teaming up together on a creative process has to been amazing for our relationship. It’s fun for us and I think it shows. Plus the families have fun because we’re having fun. It comes together beautifully and doesn’t feel like work, instead we’re all just having a good time.

THE ROTHMAN FAMILY

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THE NAVATA FAMILY

Welcome BlueJay Photography - Girl Nesting Welcome BlueJay Photography - Girl Nesting Welcome BlueJay Photography - Girl Nesting Welcome BlueJay Photography - Girl Nesting Welcome BlueJay Photography - Girl Nesting Welcome BlueJay Photography - Girl Nesting Welcome BlueJay Photography - Girl Nesting Welcome BlueJay Photography - Girl NestingWelcome BlueJay Photography - Girl Nesting Welcome BlueJay Photography - Girl Nesting Welcome BlueJay Photography - Girl Nesting Welcome BlueJay Photography - Girl Nesting Welcome BlueJay Photography - Girl Nesting Welcome BlueJay Photography - Girl Nesting Welcome BlueJay Photography - Girl Nesting Welcome BlueJay Photography - Girl Nesting  

A warm thank you to the Rothman and Navata family, for allowing us to capture their memories.

**If you are in the Chicago area and are interested in having your family photographed by BlueJay Photography, please contact us at bluejay.photographyinc@gmail.com. We are also on Facebook and Twitter.**

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3 Generations – Happy Mothers Day!

3 Generations - Happy Mothers' Days  - Girl Nesting

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there. We love unconditionally with our whole heart, we nurture, we teach…we wear many hats. This is our day. Even though it’s coming to the end of our celebration, remember that everyday you are loved and valued, you are needed and cherished and you are loved. 

3 Generations - Happy Mothers' Days  - Girl Nesting 3 Generations - Happy Mothers' Days  - Girl Nesting 3 Generations - Happy Mothers' Days  - Girl Nesting 3 Generations - Happy Mothers' Days  - Girl NestingHappy Mother’s Day to my Mother. My daughter, my husband and I value you and love you so very very much. Thank you mom for being you. 

(photo’s taken by my talented husband Michael and myself and edited by me)

Grilled Tomatillo Salsa

Grilled Tomatillo Salsa - Girl Nesting Grilled Tomatillo Salsa - Girl Nesting Grilled Tomatillo Salsa - Girl Nesting Grilled Tomatillo Salsa - Girl Nesting

Happy Cinco de Mayo friends! Bring on the margaritas!!! Ha, after the little one’s go off to bed of course ;) I have a grilled tomatillo salsa recipe for you today that you must add to your menu tonight. It’s so good and easy to make. The smokey flavor that comes from charring the vegetables is completely irresistible.

Tomatillo’s look like green apples in husks, I think their pretty cool looking. Guaranteed when you go to your grocery store and pick some up tonight, you’ll be sure to get that “impressed” look from onlookers. “Green salsa”, as my husband calls it, is a favorite in this house and disappears quickly. This recipe will be sure to make enough for everyone.

Grilled Tomatillo Salsa
Yields 1
Homemade Green Salsa is the BEST!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 small yellow onion, cut crosswise into 1/2 inch slices
  2. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  3. 8 medium size tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  4. 1 medium poblano chile pepper
  5. 1/4 cup of cilantro leaves and stems (never leave the stems out - yum!)
  6. 1 medium garlic clove
  7. 1/2 tsp dark brown sugar
  8. 1/2 tsp kosher salt
Instructions
  1. I prefer to spray olive oil for this, it goes on fast and easy, but you can drizzle the olive oil too if you prefer. Go ahead and spray the onions, tomatillos and poblano chile pepper. Then grill them on direct high heat until the skins are charred all over (6-8 minutes, turning once or twice).
  2. Transfer onions and tomatillos to blender or food processor with the remaining ingredients. Set the chile off to the side to cool.
  3. When the chile is cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skin, stem and seeds.
  4. Add the chile to the food processor and blend until fairly smooth.
  5. Enjoy!
Adapted from Webster's Real Grilling Cookbook
Adapted from Webster's Real Grilling Cookbook
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