Sunday, February 27, 2011

SoIL: Latin Style

Yesterday, I finally met the girls of the "Southern Illinois Ladies Club." This is a social group for ladies who are out of college but want to make friends and enjoy all that Southern Illinois has to offer. I was excited for the chance to make some girlfriends since right now my social circle is mostly Murphy boys (Brandon's friends).

We met up for Cuban food in Marion at A "Lill" Taste of Cuba. This was a cute and colorful but small building. We ordered at the counter and ate in a side hallway by the bathroom. They only have 3 small tables inside but it worked for the 5 of us. I ordered a beef and cheese empanada, fried plantains and black beans and rice. My meal with a soda was about $9.50. It was delicious. When I get sent to work in Marion again, I think I might order some takeout for dinner so that Brandon can try it.

The conversation was really good. We all took turns talking a little bit about our lives, places we like to eat and shop and other activities in the area. After dinner we headed to Tres Hombres in Carbondale for drinks. I had a $4 margarita. They also gave us complimentary chips and salsa but we were all too full to have any.

At 8pm we headed over to Longbranch Coffeehouse house for a $5 salsa lesson. When we arrived there were 6 girls and 6 guys. As the lesson started more latecomers came to join us - all men! Probably 18 guys to 6 girls. Needless to say, we girls got a lot of dancing in. From 9-midnight they play salsa, merengue and bachata music so everyone can free dance. Really fun!

We ended our night with drinks at The Cellar. Lovely ladies! We already have an outing planned for Tuesday. Ok, back I go to watching the Oscars.

Friday, February 25, 2011

People of Southern Illinois

He pulled down his license plate and stuck in the pump! Spotted in Carbondale.

Monday, February 21, 2011

17th Street Barbeque

Enjoyed some delicious 17th Street pulled pork and baked beans at the founding Murphysboro location!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sightseeing: Alton, IL

Yesterday, Brandon and I got up at the crack of dawn (5:10 am) to drive up to Greenfield, IL with Brandon's parents. We went to watch Seth coach the 4th, 5th and 6th grade Greenfield Tigers in basketball.  Both the 4th and 5th graders won their games.
Seth goes to school at Blackburn College in Carlinville, IL where he is studying to become a teacher. After the games we headed to downtown Carlinville to have lunch at Panda, a Chinese lunch buffet. After saying goodbye to Seth we decided to take the long way home - stopping to see some sights and do some shopping. Our first stop was the statue of the world's tallest man in Alton, IL.
Robert Wadlow was 8'11" and lived from 1918 to 1940. This statue was erected in 1985. Alongside of it is a replica of a chair he used.
Our next stop was just down the road in Alton by the side of the Mississippi River. The mural of the Piasa Bird:
To make a long story short, the Piasa is a mythical bird with a taste for human flesh that the Illini tribe once defeated. They commemorated the story by etching drawings of the creature into cave walls. When Marquette and Joliet explored the Mississippi they recorded the drawings of the bird. Later in 1925, Herbert Forcade painted the Piasa on some bluffs north of Alton. The painting was blasted away in the 60s to make way for the Great River Road. The current painting was completed in 1998 by the American Legends Society. I have to say that the painting didn't really impress me but when Brandon and I got up close you could see that it is painted on some really jagged rocks so you have to give the artist some credit.

On the way home we stopped by a mall in St. Louis. It was packed - felt like I was back in Tysons :)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Quote of the Day

"Exercise Daily" ... "Walk with the Lord" ... "Chainsaws Sold Here"

- messages displayed in sequence on a digital sign I drove by this morning

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Bucket List: Saluki and Illini Adventure

Strike one off the bucket list! This past weekend I took the train up to Champaign to visit Kristen at the University of Illinois. I left from Carbondale on Saturday morning. I boarded the Saluki which was Chicago bound. It wasn't too crowded but I overheard several people who were headed to Chicago for the car show.
I did a crossword to stay busy.

 But my favorite stop was Centralia. Check out their charming sign:
 And my highlight in Champaign was this cutie:
Overall a fun and easy trip - glad I didn't have to make the 3 hour (one way) drive. But, I might try driving next time just to save money. Kristen and I also made a delicious V-day cake which you can read about here.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Brandon surprised me last night with my Valentine's Day present. It's a map with pins in all the cities we've traveled to (and sour punch straws and a heart shaped pie pan).
Tonight we cooked dinner together - steak and Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes. My gift to Brandon was this Raspberry Almond Pizza
Yum! Can you tell we watch way too much Food Network?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Quote of the Day

"Hunny, you're in hillbilly country." - my supervisor

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Super Bowl Housewarming

Even before we found an apartment I knew I wanted to throw a Super Bowl party as a house warming party. Well, my wish came true last Sunday night! So, we invited a few friends over to watch the big game with us in our new place. No, that Steelers helmet is not a wall deco in our new place, it's up in the attic at Brandon's parents house. I did, however, root for the Steelers only because their coach is WM alum. Bummer that they didn't win but Roethlisberger didn't impress me much...
Let's get to the more interesting part of the party - the food! The day before the game, Brandon and I were watching "Worst Cooks in America," a reality cooking show on Food Network. One of their challenges was to cook an appetizer for a football party. One dish they made was Cheeseburger Roulade. It looked good enough - and hey if those people could do it so could we! This was an "advanced" receipe by my standards - we actually had to roll out dough. It was my first time cooking with puff pastry and it was yummy! The inside was beef and cheddar and we served it with ketchup and onions. Definitely a winner!

Other highlights of the evening were the red velvet cake with green frosting, bacon-wrapped weenies and veggie pizza.

Monday, February 7, 2011


Sorry for the lack of posts. We are still waiting on Frontier to mail us our modem and router for internet. Mail is slow here!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Murdale Water District

Our water was finally turned on Monday morning. The water co. made a mistake by not turning in on last Saturday but apologized. Our landlord was actually in the office when I came in. Nice to know he cares.

Things have been nice at the new place. We are still unpacking -- slowly but surely. We had cable installed on Tuesday with Direct TV. We are definitely enjoying all our shows again and loving the HD picture. Unfortunately, we are still waiting on internet. Verizon is mailing us a modem and router that we will install ourselves when it gets here.

I'm feeling more and more like a resident now. I got my Sallie Logan Library card and a bank account set up with the Bank of Carbondale. I've also been to two Murphysboro Kiwanis meetings and am fitting right in. There is a K family event tonight that Brandon and I are going to check out at Thai Taste. I hope they have good pad thai!