August 27, 2011

Skywatch Friday.
A tribute to the day super-typhoon Nanmadol hits the Philippines
and hurricane Irene storms the East Coast in the US.
Stay safe everyone!

All images (c) brandmarie at

August 24, 2011

Table Fifty-Two is an up-scale, dress down restaurant in downtown Chicago that serves
gourmet versions of hearty Southern comfort food. Owned by Chef Art Smith, some of 
Table Fifty-Two's famous clientele are the legendary Oprah Winfrey and America's agent of 
change, President Barack Obama. 

Art Smith himself is no stranger to celebrities and political figures as he has served as personal 
chef to none other than Ms. Winfrey as well as Florida Governor Bob Graham and Jeb Bush.
Source: Wikipedia

T52 serves brunch from 10:00am to 2:00pm. 
Reservations need to be made as the brunch menu is quite popular.

In true Southern fashion, the drinks are served in mason jars. 
There was a lack of sweet iced tea though.

The most popular dish on the brunch menu is the Fried Chicken and Waffles. 
It certainly lived up to my expectations.

Other dishes I would recommend are the Bacon Doughnuts (pictured above), 
the Cornbread Madeleines, the Hummingbird Cake and the Three Cheese Macaroni, 
which is one of the most flavorful versions of the dish I have ever had the pleasure of sampling.

All images taken at Table Fifty-Two in Chicago, IL. 
All images (c) brandmarie at

August 23, 2011

At sunset the light hits The Bean at a dramatic angle, 
creating a moment worthy enough to capture on camera.

Underneath, The Bean is even more perplexing, which only further 
encourages tourists to snap pictures of their stretched or minimized selves.

The opposite side of The Bean reflects a quiet view of both old and modern Chicago.

All images taken at Cloud Gate in Millenium Park, Chicago. 
All images (c) brandmarie at

August 22, 2011

The first time I saw The Bean, or Cloud Gate as it is officially called, I 
immediately understood why it was such a popular attraction. Strategically
placed on the side of Millenium Park that fronts the city, The Bean offers a 
distorted yet fantastic view of a portion of Chicago's skyline. 

All images taken at Cloud Gate in Millenium Park, Chicago.
All images (c) brandmarie at

August 17, 2011

The heat makes me want to burn up like these crispy leaves.

August 12, 2011

This couple has an amazing view of the Chicago skyline.

All images taken at Lakefront Trail by the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, Illinois.
All images (c) brandmarie at

August 11, 2011

Wholefoods has the best cakes!

Fresh fruit and mixed berry cheesecake from Wholefoods

This is my second favorite cake at Wholefoods, the first being the fresh strawberry shortcake. 
I love how flavors of the berries and other fruits meld with one another. 
It's amazing. Wish I could have it everyday. 

All images taken at the United States National Arboretum, Washington DC
All images (c) brandmarie at

August 9, 2011

They say harvest season in Napa Valley is in August. I wonder if the grapes are out already. 

Cloudy day in Napa Valley

My friends and I took a trip to Napa Valley in the spring and visited the
Robert Mondavi Winery, which is one of the more well known
wineries in the area. It was quite beautiful! 

Robert Mondavi Winery

Outside the Robert Mondavi Winery

Quaint gift shop at the Robert Mondavi Winery

And look, more windmills! I love California!

All images taken at the Robert Mondavi Winery and on the road in Napa Valley. 
All images (c) brandmarie at

August 8, 2011

About a year and a few days ago a good friend of mine got married in Boracay. 
It was one of the most beautiful weddings I'd ever seen and a week ago she and her
 husband went back to Discovery Shores to celebrate their first year as a married couple. 

These are a few excerpts from their wedding.

All images taken at Discovery Shores, Boracay.

August 7, 2011

I'm constantly in awe of windmills and it always excites me to see them when I travel.
If I absolutely had to live in the mid-west (or in any other remote, rural area) 
it would have to be in a place where I'd see a whole bunch of windmills 
from my window the moment I wake up.

I took several pictures of the windmills as we drove by them on the interstate. 
Unfortunately, we couldn't stop so these are the only usable ones I have.

All images taken on the interstate from West Lafayette, Indiana to Chicago, Illinois.

August 6, 2011

Prosciutto wrapped melons

I don't need to remind anyone how hot it's been in DC lately.
Here's a little treat to cool everyone off. 

August 5, 2011

Vaillancourt Fountain

Located in the Justin Herman Plaza on Market Street, the Vaillancourt Fountain 
is a popular structure among tourists and San Francisco natives. It's unique design
was the brainchild of a sculptor named Armand Vaillancourt, who had initially
named it Quebec Libre!  I must say I like the name Vaillancourt Fountain better.

Image taken at the Embarcadero in San Francisco, CA. 
All images (c) brandmarie at

August 4, 2011

I saw this ad written across the sky when I was in San Francisco and I remember
thinking to myself that it was brilliant. There were so many people in Union Square 
that day and everyone stopped in their tracks to look at this work of art.

So who is TabCo? 

TabCo is apparently short for Tablet Company, a start-up company that claims to be
developing a tablet better than the iPad or whatever tablets are out there these days. 
They have not come out with a prototype yet but continue to entertain questions
about their up and coming tablet on their website. The company has also spent a whole
lot of money on these skywriting ads. Will they win or lose in the marketplace? I don't know.
I just hope their tablet will be as entertaining as their advertising methods.

Image taken at Union Square in San Francisco, CA. 
All images (c) brandmarie at

August 3, 2011

From day to night in San Bruno, California 

I used to wonder what it was like to live in a house 
on a mountain that overlooked an entire city...

Well now I know. :) 

I can't say I'll ever be able to wake up to a view like this every morning 
but it was nice to get a little taste of what it would have been like.

All images taken in a lovely home in San Bruno, CA. 
All images (c) brandmarie at

August 2, 2011

While the Philippines has chocolate hills, California has golden hills.

Image taken on the road to San Francisco from Gilroy, California.
All images (c) brandmarie at
Lombard Street

You can't say that you've seen San Francisco if you haven't 
walked or driven down the world's crookedest street

 I drove down the street the first time I was there. On the day I took this picture
I walked. The nice thing about walking is getting to see some of San Francisco's
most expensive real estate up close. Though the houses were lovely, I wouldn't
want to live there because it would just be too difficult to park my car. 


Lombard Street extends a few miles past the crooked part. It's quite a view. 

The other side of Lombard Street

All images taken at Lombard Street, San Francisco
All images (c) brandmarie at