Tuesday, December 22, 2009

today is a good day.

today is good because it's my last day of work until january 7! the university closes today and reopens on january 4th but i'll be in prague till the 6th. oh the joys of working at a university. seriously, it's great. however, i do start to miss my coworkers and have the desire to feel productive after awhile. i could definitely use the break though!

it is also a good day because the bf got his passport!! he lost his original one and had to rush order a new one yesterday. needless to say i've been very upset and stressed since we leave on sunday!!! so now we're all set. as long as he doesn't lose this one...

also, in case anyone was worried i'm starting to regain my memory and organizational skills. must have just been in a funk!

i'll probably be on blog vacation until i return from prague. so happy holidays and happy new year to everyone!

Friday, December 18, 2009

not the sharpest tool in the shed...

usually i'm pretty on top of my shit. i know when i need to be places and what needs to be done when. i can keep a visual calendar in my head and remember dates really well. these days i'm a mess. i'm forgetting one thing after another and screwing up plans all over the place. and i'm forgetting little things here and there. like the gym is closing for maitenance next monday and tuesday - both days i was planning on getting a hardcore work out before the holidays. yesterday i completely forgot i had made dinner plans with a friend for later that night. i was invited to an event earlier this week but i thought it was in january. i messed up training times for a service day i'm leading. seriously, i'm a mess. i'm not sure if it's because i'm on overload with the holiday planning and trip planning or if it's because i'm a little sick or what but i've lost it! i am up to my ears in prague planning, christmas gift shopping, holiday family time and friend time planning and last minute work projects before the holidays. due to my sinus infection/blahness i feel really foggy and i just want to lay down. i hate feeling like i'm dropping the ball so much and hope my ability to stay on top of things returns soon!

anyone else go through these phases????

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

pros and cons of sick days

so yesterday i took a sick day because i started to feel uber fluish on monday afternoon and my ongoing sinus infection was sucking the life out of me. we get unlimited sick days at work but just need to show a doc note after 3 consecutive days. i NEVER use them. i think i've used 3 full sick days in 2 years and a couple of half days. i totally hate missing work because i feel like im missing something and that there is always something i should be working on. i also get insanely bored and anxious just resting.

yesterday was no different. i felt bad about not being at work and felt as though i should suck it up but i knew i shouldn't spread my germs and should rest. i woke up fairly early at first but then i pretty much got immediately back in bed and slept for another few hours until around 11. then i parked it on the couch. i flipped on the tv from under snuggly blankets and found several wonderful things were on. my favorite: swiss family robinson. that movie just rocks. i went back and forth between that and anthony bourdain: no reservations. good stuff. i drank lots of ginger ale and water and ate toast. i was totally enjoying resting and snuggling thinking i definitely made the right decision to stay home. later on the great outdoors with john candy and true life were on. more good stuff. then around 1 i got antsy. only 2 hours of being up and i began to think how much it sucked being at home. so i showered and checked my email. i did a little work and did a little gchatting to feel connected with the rest of the world. then i got REALLY antsy and decided to make a trip to the store. BAD idea. it was freezing and every second of walking made me feel worse. i walked through treasure island in a haze, bought some fresh soup and hurried home. i ate my soup and then passed out for 2 hours. then the bf got home and took care of me. he served me grilled cheese and let me work on his laptop. he even made the sweets for my office party today.

pros: being taken care of by super sweet bf, watching great day time tv, no line at the store, wearing pjs all day.
cons: my personality does not allow me to relax so i end up making myself worse by not resting enough, i feel disconencted from the world and have a fear or missing something at work, it's boring as hell, there is only so much day time tv a girl can take.

overall i know it was good that i stayed home because i feel better today. but it was the longest day of my life!!! sick days just aren't as fun for me as they were when i was a kid.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

the bug that never goes away....

the travel bug! i have it bad. ever since i studied abroad in prague in 2006 i've wanted to take international trips nonstop. during my study abroad program, i was able to visit brno and some other areas in moravia, krakow and vienna. i loved krakow for the jazz scene and vienna for the beautiful gardens and moravia for the wine! after my program ended in prague i went on to lucern in switzerland by myself for several days and survived off a brick of cheese and swiss chocolate. then i briefly went to milan before heading home. it was the best experience of my life and i got to see the most beautiful, outstanding sites and it doomed me for life. because now i can't stop.

pretty much as soon as i got home i began thinking about my next trip. so me and my two very good friends planned a trip to mazatlan for spring break. we had a fantastic time and but i got SOOO sunburned. this is why i should stick with europe.

after i graduated i planned a short trip to visit my bff in london. i had a great time visiting their free museums and checking out all the sites and spending time with my bestest. we went to bruges for a few days too and it was fantastic!! we loved the shopping and we loved the belgium waffles even more.

after that trip was the bf's sister's wedding in jamaica. we went to negril for 4 days and stayed in our own little hut at a cool resort. i snorkeled, water skied, ate a lot of jerk chicken and of course got to experience the beautiful wedding on the beach. i don't think i would have ever made it to jamaica if it wasn't for their wedding!

next up was a trip to visit the bff who moved from london to munich. i went for oktoberfest!!! no better place for a beer lover like myself. we had a great time! i checked out the sites while my friend worked and got to eat some amazing food (lots of sausages) and hit up the tents for one night. i also got to go to salzburg for the day which was beautiful and we went to prague for a few days. it was SO wonderful to be back and to be able to show my friend some of my favorite spots. i also got to connect with my tour guide from the program who i had formed a close friendship with.

after that i was motivated to bring the bf to see prague. because i get time off at christmas from work and i've never been to prague during the winter i thought it'd be the perfect time to go! so we are going dec 28-jan 6. i cannot wait!!! there are tons of winter things i've never experienced there since i studied there over the summer. they have the christmas markets through jan 1, ice skating, carriage rides and live nativities. my tour guide friend will be able to meet us again! the bf and i have never traveled together like this so i'm really looking forward to it!

and because my bank account suffers so severely from this travel bug i kept saying prague was my last trip for awhile and that i wouldn't be taking any international trips for awhile. however, i applied to go to france for a work trip that focuses on the life and legacy of st. vincent to depaul. i somehow was accepted and will be going in august. we'll spend a lot of time in paris and even get to go to southern france. i'll be traveling with 35 other staff members. most of the trip is covered but it is still pricey so my bank account suffers yet again.

even though i'm ridiculously broke all the time i think it's worth it for all the sweet trips i've been taking. after france i'm thinking montreal. maybe i'll even have picked up some french during my stay. then i swear that's it for awhile...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

a go with the flow weekend.

i never really go with the flow. i always have things planned out and cram a lot in to a small period of time. this weekend i actually did go with the flow and only did things i wanted to do instead of things i should. it was nice.

friday i was supposed to go to a class happy hour but i worked late to prep for an event the next day so i just went home and hung out with the bf. much later we went to a midnight showing of a nightmare before christmas at the music box theatre. i love going there and it was fun to see the movie again since the last time i saw it i was only in 3rd grade. i only dozed off for a minute. i usually zonk out in the 12am flicks.

saturday i had a big event that kept me busy from 11-6. afterwards i got a message from a good friend that just moved back to the midwest from NYC. she had just flew in from a trip to ireland with her hubby and they were available to get drinks! what a nice little treat. i was able to go meet them with another one of our friends and catch up. it was such a nice surprise and it was great to see them. i hadn't seen either one in ages!! after that i made a quick trip to the gym-because that was the original plan for after my event. i got a short work out in and then went home. i was supposed to go out with my bff that night but neither of us were motivated to do that so the bf and i decided (very spontaneously) to go to see the fantastic mr. fox and go out for a drink. i got ready in about 4 minutes so we could catch the bus to make the movie. record time. the movie was adorable, clever and funny. i seriously really enjoyed it. afterwards we popped into friar tuck's this dive bar we always joke about going to. so we finally bit the bullet and went in and it was a riot. it's old tavern decor but currently covered in insane amounts of xmas decorations. it was fairly crowded with some interesting people to say the least. the musical selection included lady gaga, bon jovi and tracy chapman. quite diverse! we got to sit by a litle fireplace an enjoy a beer while people watching. then on sunday we went to a women's bball game with my parents. depaul dominated over loyola and then we went to a restaurant close by and got crazy big hamburgers that i'm still drooling over.

overall i got to enjoy a lot of quality time with my man and did not stress out over plans for once. i can tell i'm ready to hibernate for the winter. hope everyone else had an equally enjoyable stress-free weekend!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

bad haircut, inappropriate dinner conversation & german food.

that title basically sums up my long weekend. i went home to the suburbs on wednesday night and was able to squeeze in a much needed haircut. i tried rocking the straight bangs a few months ago and they were alright but always ended up looking crooked so i asked her to cut them super straight. she did exactly as i asked but unfortunately i now look like jim carey as lady gaga. that's the only way i can explain it. i hate them and i plan to keep them pulled back until they have grown a bit. not fun.

on thanksgiving things were going well with preparation and pretty easy going. then one of my second cousins arrived - who i havent seen in years. he stumbled in with his dad and informs us that he recently had surgery, is miserable and is really down on his luck. then he moves over to the bottle of rum (that has been in my parents' liquor cabinet for like 100 years) and proceeds to drink heavily. no one really drinks at our family functions...a few glasses of wine here a few beers there but nothing intense. well drunkie mcdrunkerson is falling into things, swearing up a storm and just making everyone really uncomfortable. over dinner he fell asleep while cutting his turkey and dropped so many F bombs even i blushed. despite the awkwardness, everyone had a really nice time and i know that he was happy to spend time with family. hopefully he can remember it.

saturday the bf and i went downtown for the german christmas market in daley plaza. ive walked through it several times but never eaten there. we decided to go all out and got brats, potato pancakes and streudal. i basically died and went to heaven as soon as i sunk my teeth into that brat covered in super yummie german mustard. SO GOOD! it totally hit the spot and the apple streudal was to die for. after that we went to the cultural center which is one of my fav spots and the bf had never been. we really enjoyed it. then i went to the library so i could get back to reading for pleasure now that school is done for the moment. it was a really nice day :)

the holiday weekend actually made me more exhausted than i was so i'm trying to take it easy this week because i know the rest of december is going to be insane!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

thanksgiving #1 & #2

on saturday i had a few of my best buds over for a pre-thanksgiving thanksgiving dinner. last year i did the same thing and it was really fun to celebrate thanksgiving with some of the people im most thankful for! we had quite the feast this year. my girls are all such good chefs! they brought asian salad, spinach dip, potstickers, green beans, broccoli cheese casserole, sweet potato pie and pumpkin banana bread. SO GOOD. i made a red pepper dip, applesauce, biscuits and a ham. then we had the banana bread and some cherry pie for dessert. serious food overdose. i had to run around a pit getting things together but i was SO happy to have all of these ladies over. after the show most of us went to bye bye liver which is a comedy show with drinking games. it was a great night!
the best part of making a ham is the leftovers because then i can make my grandma's famous ham & cheese & special mustard spread sandwiches. they are seriously delicious!

today our office has their big thanksgiving party in the loop offices. us kids in the new lincoln park office decided to skip it because it's such a hassle to go back and forth. SO one of my lovely office mates brought in a mini feast for us to enjoy! we had pita and hummus, chipotle cheese and crackers, fudge covered mint oreos and carrot cake cupcakes. i think our feast was better than the big one downtown! i'm going to bring some items tomorrow for thanksgiving #3 and i CANNOT wait for the real deal on thursday. it's so my fav holiday. i love the leftover turkey and all the appetizers and the day off on friday. oh and special time with my family. can't wait!

Friday, November 20, 2009

this week's happy thoughts.

i had a really tough week. i've been super busy with work and school and i'm feeling a bit under the weather. even though it's been a bit rough i still try to find the happy points and highlights.

* on tuesday i had lunch with my old boss from luna bar and she told me she's pregnant!!! she found out really early and is due in june. so that means 2 babies are coming in 2010. can't wait!

* i got to take some staff members and volunteers to a tour of the beautiful driehaus museum yesterday. we did an event there this fall and they offered us a free tour of the space. it was so nice to spend time with staffers i don't usually work with and get a sweet tour of the beautiful museum.

* i had to do a site visit to meet an alumnus and his wife all the way up in lake villa. he's a donor and they're cultivating him for a large gift and he wants to host an alumni event in his area so the development director took me along. i never get to do anything like that normally so it was pretty cool to just spend the night talking with an alum and he treated us to a really hearty european meal. potato pancakes! mmmmm :)

* on the side, i work for my old boss from the doggie boutique. i help her with some home projects - like organizing her desk. last night i went over there to "work." i had one kitty in my lap while i helped her take the plunge with dating websites and shredded a few items and wrote a job description. that's it. i got paid for that. love it!

so all my highlights are work related, which is sad but thanksgiving is next week; which is my absolutely FAVORITE holiday and i can't wait to eat a ton and spend time at home. i'm also doing a little mini thanksgiving/high school reunion this saturday and i can't wait!

Monday, November 16, 2009

nice little weekend.

highlights from a lovely weekend:

* wine and catch-up with the bff @ red rooster wine bar on friday evening

* hip hop dance class of course - it completed kicked my butt this week though! it was much too advanced and i could barely keep up but it was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO fun!

* czech holiday fair in hinsdale with the rents - we had to sneak in because it was so over crowded! they had a few booths with czech goods like books, cards, stamps, ornaments, crystal, etc. i got a czech pin for my coat and some czech holiday cards for the czechs in my life :). we got to see czech dancers and singers. it was just so fantastic to see a big czech community so close to home! it made me super excited for prague which is just over a month away!

* sunday i got to catch up with my oldest, dearest friend at our high school hang out - baker's square - got my old faithful BLT and a slice of pie. but the best part - afterwards we went to house of brides and i got to see her wedding gown!!!! it's SO beautiful and perfect. i'm so happy for her! i am so grateful to be in her wedding AND my other good friend's wedding in june. i'm a lucky gal!

now i have a super crazy week ahead of me and it will continue to be crazy until after thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

busy bee.

i'm ridiculously busy these days. i totally do it to myself. i love being busy but it also kicks my butt. i didn't used to be like this - but once i started school at depaul there was always something on my calendar between work, internships, organizations, events and classes. these days i feel even more overwhelmed then i did as a student. i'm constantly trying to balance work, school, social life, fam time, boyfriend time, volunteering, exercising, side jobs and me time. work is quite busy this time of year with lots of alumni functions and end of the quarter student events. next quarter isn't looking much better. my school quarter is coming to an end and i'm swamped with readings and a paper. and i'm always trying to squeeze in friend, family and bf time. as much as i'm feeling incredibly run down and stressed these days - i'm also feeling really productive. being busy makes me happy. if i'm not busy i feel guilty like i should be doing something with my time. i don't do relaxation very well. i get super anxious if i'm just sitting around being lazy. usually if i'm watching tv i have to have another project going on - card making, reading during commercials, cleaning. seriously, i have issues. this week i have something going on everyday or night after work - sunday was work at the doggie boutique and a dinner party, monday i volunteered, tuesday i had class, wednesday i met my good friend at a fun event at old town social, tonight i have an event for work, friday i'm going out with friends, saturday i'm going to my rents and sunday i'm visiting a friend in the burbs. next week is the exact same thing. however, i'm realizing that i'm starting to become dysfunctional with exhaustion so i'm only coming in for the afternoon tomorrow. i'm going to sleep in, maybe do laundry and try to do some homework. i need the chill, me time for sure! i really shouldn't let it get this bad but it seems i can't control it anymore...

anyone else torture themselves by being busy but are actually secretly happy with the busy-ness?

Monday, November 9, 2009

exciting news & weekend wrap

first with the weekend recap. so the weekend was a whirlwind. it kicked my butt but it was great! some of my favorite parts of the weekend:

* depaul wind ensemble performance - i love taking advantage of free programs especially when it involves seeing a group of talented depaul students!

* soul show at lincoln hall where the bf works. it was AWESOME!!!!!!!!! i've never seen anything like it.

* brunch on sunday morning at milk & honey. yum!

* dinner party at my coworkers - delic food and great company.

now for the exciting news....
i was selected to participate in the Vincentian Heritage Tour for faculty and staff. it is a trip to france to follow in the footsteps of st. vincent de paul and learn more about the history of the university. so i get to go to paris and the south of france from august 3-15 with other depaul faculty and staff. SO excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i really didn't think i would get picked so i'm absolutely thrilled!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

lucky in work.

so i know i've been complaining a bit about work lately and having to move but i truly am very lucky as far as my job goes. i work in alumni relations at depaul. i get to plan events, work with volunteers and students. it's fun, challenging but not too challenging and it's rewarding.

the job totally fell into my lap. here's how it happened. the advisor of my student organization recommended me for a luncheon with student leaders and the alumni board. the board was interested in learning what was going on around campus and if we had any suggestions for engaging students. it was fairly formal and i was a tad nervous. i sat next to a very friendly man and with several other board members and staff members. everyone was so nice but i was the center of attention which made me even more nervous. i thought i made a total ass of myself until i got an email from my current boss asking me if i would be interested in this job. i was totally surprised and pretty against it at first. i was finishing up at depaul - why would i want to stay even longer! i'd feel like a student i thought. but when i went in for an interview i realized it was a perfect fit. then i wanted it - BAD. it was a job i never even realized existed and it had so many elements that made it a great fit for me. so luckily i ended up getting it! the job has changed tremendously since i started over 2 years ago but the changes always end up being for the best.

some of my favorite aspects of my job: 10 paid days off around christmas time, unlimited sick days (not that i've ever used more than 1 but it's nice to know it's an option!), 3 weeks vacation, free grad school (for the most part), killer insurance, working with my volunteers and forming relationships with them, still being part of the depaul community that i loved so much as a student, working with a great team but mostly being able to work independently, having an amazing supportive boss that believes in my and totally gets me and of course planning fun events!

i'm a lucky duck to have this amazing job that i love in these tough times. i'm very grateful.

side notes:

thanks to christa for giving me such a nice award! i would love to award it back to others but i don't have 15 new blogs to award just yet - i'll get there! check out christa's lovely blog @ http://www.jemappelles-christa.com/.

i received the most AMAZING news this sunday - i was trying to save it for my week's highlights tomorrow but i just can't wait! i went over to the bf's house on sunday night because his sister and her husband were in town. i was greeted with a sonogram!!!!!!!!!!!!! they're going to have a baby in may!!!!!!!!! i'm SO SO SO SO SO excited for them AND for me because i can't wait to have a baby around to love. i can't think of two people more deserving of such a wonderful gift. i'll keep you posted on that fun. YAY!

Friday, October 30, 2009

grinch of halloween...

that's what my bf called me today. because i'm WAY annoyed that everyone is incredibly hyper and dressed up in my office and i'm trying to get some work done! i'm totally anti-halloween. the only thing i really like about it is the scary stuff. i loveee haunted houses and scary movies. but the dressing up - i could do without. and the high cover charges for bars on halloween - also could do without. most of my friends LOVE halloween as much as i love thanksgiving so i try to be a trooper and get into it for my friends. the past couple of years i've done the absolute bare minimum as far as costumes. this year i decided to do a repeat - a few years ago i found some gross temporary scab tattoos and bought some fake blood and decided to do some gross face makeup. it was easy, cheap and very halloweenie. this year i took it to another level and also purchased bruise tattoos. i'm going to add a lot more blood and just be full blown disgusting. i can't wait. my friends are going as adorable things like tinkerbell and rainbow brite. i wil really stand out so i'm a bit nervous but still looking forward to being uber gross instead of the typical slutty something or other for halloween.

later this afternoon my office is doing a little halloween party and lots of the employees are bringing their kids in to trick or treat in our offices and decorate little pumpkins. i'm super excited to see the little ones. my boss has the cutiest kids ever. i promise not to be grinch-like for the sake of the kids!

despite my anti-halloweenness, it should be a good weekend. tonight the bf and i are going to a party and then possibly seeing where the wild things are. saturday i'll be checking out the boystown halloween parade then be out on the town with tinkerbell & friends. then sunday i'm heading to the burbs to celebrate my mama's birthday and seeing the bf's sister & her husband who are in town from california. i'm really excited!

last post: thanks for the comments girlies! if i had a choice in moving i wouldn't be going anywhere! but i don't have a choice in the matter. the university decided to open a new alumni center on that campus and half of us are going and the other half are staying in the loop. i'm a bit more ok with it now and i'll have to report back at the end of next week to let you know how it's going!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

the pros & cons of change

so a week from today i will be leaving my loop office to move into a new alumni center located on our lincoln park campus. i never in a million years thought i would be working anywhere but the loop. i have a lot of mixed emotions - i'm trying to stay positive but it's tough. i'm finding with every pro there is a con.

Pro - It will be wonderful for my job. I will have the opportunity to connect better with students and create an alumni presence on the Lincoln Park campus. Con - While it's good for executing my job responsibilities - my work environment is being turned upside down. I'm leaving half of my coworkers to work with only 3 other people and I'm used to being in an office of over 100.

Pro - I will be closer to a lot of my favorite places from when i was a student there. Like the Chicago Bagel Authority, Pita Pit, the zoo, the pottery place. Con - I will be far away from all my new favorite loop things - Harold Washington Library, the Art Institute, MCA, the Cultural Center, lots and lots of shopping. Oh and not to mention all my doctors & dentist are in the loop.

Pro - I will be getting a membership to the super fancy gym on campus which will help me get into better shape. Con - I currently use a free gym on the loop campus and now I have to spend $ on a membership.

Pro - The commute will only be like 15 minutes!!! Con - I currently use the 40 minute commute for reading all my crazy schoolwork or for a power nap.

basically it comes down to the fact that i suck at change. i know that this change will bring a lot of positives but i was happy how things were and now i'm kind of devastated. i'm trying to put on a happy face and embrace change but i just can't seem to do it. any suggestions???

On yesterday's post - thanks for the comments ladies! In regards to the hip hop class - I take my class at Intrigue Dance Studio in the South Loop. (www.intriguedance.com) I got a great groupon awhile back but normally it's $65 for 4 classes a month or $15 per class. It's very beginner and a good work out. I love the teacher on Saturdays from 1-2. Another friend has gone to Joffrey which is way too advanced for me but she loved it!

Monday, October 26, 2009

weekend wrap

the best parts of my weekend:

sleeping for 11 hours from friday to saturday :)

hip hop dance class!

spending all of saturday night with my bff!

walking around in a t-shirt and flip flops in 62 degree weather on sunday

trying out paciugo - the new gelato place in my hood. YUM!

i seriously had a wonderful weekend and i needed it after working all of last weekend. i'm glad it's over though because the bf comes home from california tonight! he did a mini tour with the hymns & daniel johnston all of last week. having so much time to myself last night made me miss him so much. we usually get to hang out all day on sundays so it was sad to be sitting solo on my couch. maybe cohabitation is more of an option than i like to think....

Friday, October 23, 2009

wednesday was the best day this week!

not that there was anything wrong with any other days this week but wednesday was particularly good. first of all, the forecast called for warm weather so i threw on a skirt with no tights for probably the last time until may. then i got an urgent email from my boss asking me to meet her at the new office where i will be working soon. our university has 2 campuses - one in the loop and one on the northside. i currently reside in the loop but a new alumni center was recently build on the northside so half our team will be working there starting in november. i had seen the space from the outside but my boss had me meet her there to walk through it. it was exciting to see what a normal morning commute will soon be like - 15 minutes total. SWEET! as opposed to my normal 45 minute commute. it was great to see the inside of the space - it is going to be so different but very good. it's got a completely different feel, i'll be able to escape some of the more annoying personalities in our office and i'll be able to connect more with students which makes my job so much easier! then later in the day we had a staff lunch to celebrate a successful reunion weekend which is a big weekend for our office. we got burrito beach and i ate like a cow and it was magnificent. our department assistant is a fabulous baker and she made oreo balls for us - love them - and we also had treats from corner bakery. basically i was in a food coma the remainder of the day and it felt so good. after work i had a killer work out before heading to wicker park to get a tattoo touched up. ive been wanting to get my leaf tattoo on the inside of my ankle touched up for years because it never healed right. i finally had a breaking point on monday and did some research and off of a recommendation and awesome yelp reviews - i decided to go with insight tattoos. my friend agreed to meet me there but they told me there would be a wait so we went to a bar next door to catch up. it had been too long since i had seen her so it was great to gab (and she brought me delicious pumpkin chocolate chip cookies!). i finally got a call to go over to get the tattoo fixed up and it hurt like crazy but my friend kept me distracted by telling me fun stories. it was over quick and i absolutely LOVE it. it looks a million times better than it did before. i'm so glad to have finally gotten it taken care of. it was just a great day and night. now i'm looking forward to the weekend!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

yes, we celebrate sweetest day...

on friday after a busy work day the bf brought me a single red rose and a bag of rollos. heck yes! that's definitely the way to my heart! because i had to work all day on saturday we celebrated sweetest day (and the bf's promotion) with a delicious dinner at chilam ballam. his treat! it's a new restaurant just down the street from me that's getting rave reviews so we had to try it out. we decided to get 4 of their small plates to save room for dessert. we devoured:

* Corn masa memelas topped with smokey black bean puree, goat cheese, arbol chile salsa and dressed greens
* Grilled pork ribs basted with Oaxacan pasilla glaze, radishes, and sweet plantains with crema
* Crispy flautas stuffed with chicken and rajas; chipotle-mezcal sauce, pickled cabbage, fresh cheese and crema
* Grilled hanger steak in guajillo sauce, roasted potatoes, crispy onion and cilantro

my favs were the corn masa memelas and the crispy flautas. the bf liked the flautas the best. but the absolute best was dessert:

* Sweet empanada stuffed with crunchy peanut butter; black fig, Oaxacan chocolate dipping sauces

that could have been the only thing ont he menu and i still would have been thrilled. seriously so delicious.

the food was great but more importantly the company was wonderful. the bf and i laughed a lot and just had a great time spending time together. he's leaving today for a week to do some shows on the west coast. sigh. miss him already!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

why my weekend rocked...

i hate tuesdays so it's the perfect day to recap why i had a wonderful weekend. it started on friday with a girls night planned by my bff. we all met at the movie theatre to see couples retreat which wasn't too amazing but amusing. then we walked across the street to the webster wine bar where the bff knows the manager so she got us seats pretty fast - the best seats in the house next to a fireplace on big comfy furniture. i got to catch up with a good friend over yummie wine. it was a great night!

saturday was even better! i went to my hip hop dance class and had a blast as usual. then i met the same bff at the art institute because she had some free passes she generously shared with me. we cruised through the new modern wing and caught up. later on i got to see my new friend & her fiancees new apartment which is HUGE and so nice! she got me and the bf free tickets to my favorite comedian, brian regan that night. sooo grateful. the show was at a big venue in a casino in hammond, indiana. the show was awesome - literally tears streaming from my face from laughing so hard. afterwards we did some people watching and a little bit of gambling. it was our first casino experience and we felt totally out of place! after that we went to a nearby haunted house. it was actually haunted woods and they sent just the 2 of us in. it was filled with creepy characters that followed me way too closely and jumped out at all the right places. i was screaming and running like a crazy girl! loved it! we seriously had such a great night.

sunday i got to sleep in and then spend the day working on my application for a staff trip to paris for vincentian heritage and researching hotels for the upcoming trip to prague. i also got sucked into true life and watched like 5 episodes in a row on drug addicts which was totally addicting. then the bf and i went out for my first indian meal. they accidentally gave me his hotter dish which literally had me sweating and then we realized they messed up. i really enjoyed it when i actually got the right medium dish!

it was just a great weekend with the right amount of relaxation, friends, bf and fun.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

mental health day.

i have had a tough couple of weeks with work, all of my extra activities and side jobs, school and all sorts of other stuff. yesterday when i found out my debit card had some fraudulent charges yesterday i reached my breaking point. so i chatted with my boss about taking the day off tomorrow and she of course, being the wonderful boss that she is, said go for it! i'm glad my boss is cool with me taking a vacation day with one day's notice.

i've been so busy during my normal free time i haven't been able to do the nice weekend or weeknight things that i normally enough so much. i literally dreamt about what i was going to do on my day off last night. i woke up and thought it already had happened. that's how much i need it!

so tomorrow i will be sleeping in until an absurd hour then rolling out of bed for a spa manicure and pedicure. i go to a salon right around the corner that plays sex and the city non stop and has great deals. then i'm planning on strolling through the lincoln park zoo if it's not raining and then ending up at glazed expressions for some pottery painting. it is the most therapeutic, quiet, wonderful activity i could do. i can't freaking wait.

i can't wait to de-stress and do some of my favorite things (on a weekday even!). what would be your ideal day off?

ps. for the inquiry on the mac & cheese pizza. it's from ians pizza in wrigley and it rocked. they used 4 different types of cheese and put the cooked noodles on top. yum!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

weekend top 10

i had a really good weekend and i absolutely despise tuesdays so i figured i can perk myself up with recapping my fun weekend!

10. insane power shopping after work on friday - some of the favorite items purchased: new knit dress, cute white tee with pouf sleeves and adorable blocks for my friend's baby.

9. my coworker visited me while i was filling in at the store i used to work at in college on sunday and he brought me a red velvet cupcake from sweet mandy b's!! so amazing.

8. got to walk through the east lakeview art fair on saturday morning and saw a bunch of great art!

7. took a hip hop dance class on saturday and had an absolute blast!

6. hung out with my bff all saturday afternoon for a good catch up and a delicious homecooked lunch!

5. had a date night with the bf at the chicago brauhaus for some oktoberfest fun! we watched a ridiculous polka band, enjoyed some beers and amazing food!

4. went to the grizzly bear show at the metro with the bf and it was fantastic.

3. tried mac & cheese pizza MMMMMM

2. invited a bunch of people to join me at a coworkers bday and they all came! it was great to have all of my friends together in one place :)

1. participated in a dance off at the coworkers party and lost to a man who could do the splits. hilarious and fun!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

getting old...

i have recently realized that i'm no longer a kid. sad. i don't party like a rockstar anymore, i don't rely on my parents for much of anything anymore, i'm financially independent and i don't have the energy to stay up much later than midnight during the week. i'm old. while i rejected the idea of being a grown up last year and still partied quite a bit in rebellion...i've now come to accept this new maturity and enjoy it. instead of evaluating my summer by how many crazy nights me and my girls had as i used to - i look back at this summer (and early fall) and think of all the wonderful memories i have. i've spent the last few months doing interesting activities, celebrating special occasions and spending quality time with the people i love. i went to a crap ton of festivals this summer, went to the zoo a couple of times with my parents and had a few trips to michigan. my best friend was in from munich with her bf this summer and we had so much fun having all of the high school girls reunited. my 25th birthday was so amazing and memorable - with the all girls pottery painting party and then the elaborate surprise party the next day - my bday alone could easily make this summer the best one yet. i also had some nice vacations - one to hunky dory with the bf's fam and another to nashville for a southern adventure. i spent a lot of time with friends -reconnected with the ones i hadn't seen for awhile and definitely hung out with my favorites too! we did more than just getting drunk at dive bars - but we did that too! we went to farmers markets, had a dinner party, saw a movie in the park, went to wine bars and all sorts of ther fun things. i hung out with the bf a ton and had lots of date nights. oh and i went skydiving!

overall, it wasn't my most exciting summer but it was probably one of the best and most memorable ones that i can remember full of quality time with family, friends and the bf and cool chicago activities. the rest of fall is looking pretty damn good too! i guess i can get used to this grownup stuff.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

wmu memories

i really don't think high school juniors/seniors should be allowed to decide where they're going to college. i truly had no idea what i really wanted out of my college experience at that time and ended up making a fairly terrible choice. i THOUGHT i wanted to go to a big state school and get the "real" college experience. i wasn't a huge fan of any of the illinois state schools and about 80% of my graduating class was heading to those schools and i really didn't need a repeat of high school. so i looked to michigan - i was into northern michigan (in the freaking UP) and western michigan. my parents took me to WMU for a visit and i totally fell in love with it. i loved all the trees, the huge campus with art spread throughout it, the huge student center with everything you could ever need...it's exactly what i thought college should be. a few people i knew from high school and one of my very best friends also decided to go to wmu so i was really excited but after a few months i hated it. i didn't have a car so i was kind of trapped on campus, my roommate was pretty cool but her boyfriend came to visit every weekend and took over our room, everyone in my dorm always had their door closed so i didn't get to know anyone and every party we went to got busted. my classes were my saving grace - i started off as an art major. i loved the people in them and i just loved creating ALL THE TIME. but after getting through my first year and giving a second one a shot - i hated it even more by fall. my classes weren't enough to keep me there. it just wasn't the school for me. most of the people there weren't the type of people i wanted to spend time with, i knew i would never get anywhere as far as a career and kalamazoo just isn't that exciting. so i decided to transfer. i was thinking columbia or loyola and then my parents suggested depaul (which is where they originally wanted me to go - go figure) and when i visited the campus i literally felt like i was home. i'm still completely confident that coming to depaul was the right choice for me but every fall i definitely miss western. my heart aches for the feeling i had going to classes on a big college campus with the leaves changing all around me and crisp cool air. now that fall is coming to chicago i started thinking about all the things i loved about wmu that actually made some of my time there pretty special.

taking 8:30am drawing classes my frosh year - i loved break time with my classmates - we'd go to the little cafe in sangren hall and get toasted bagels and cream cheese and chat.

drawing in this outdoor courtyard that was hidden from the rest of campus

my dance classes! i met so many nice people in those classes and enjoyed them so much. i also remember going to a senior performance with my mom that was so special.

the huge theatre on campus - got to see dane cook, pilabolus and stomp there.

the hookah lounge! totally spent a ton of time there freshmen year

my jewelry & metal working professor. one of the most inspirational professors i have ever had.

art exhibitions - there was a big student show every year that was outstanding, i was selected for the small freshmen art exhibit and there was a gallery a bit off campus that students could do shows in and host openings - i went to a ton and absolutely loved them all

the trees and stars!!! oh how i miss the beautiful trees changing colors and crunching under my feet for a nice long fall. fall was so much more outstanding there and the stars were so increcibly clear.

there are so many things about western i miss - the quality of the art classes, the huge campus, having real seasons and just that overall actual college vibe that doesn't really exist at depaul. i know that ultimately i made the right decision coming to depaul and i think i'm pretty lucky that i got to split my college experience into two totally different worlds.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

festival season

as the summer comes to a close i'm scrambling to attend the last few chicago fests of the season so that i can fully feel like i've taken advantage of this awesome chicago tradition. every year i wish i went to more and there are always fests that i am bummed i missed out on. this year however, i've done a pretty good job of hitting up a ton of fests!

it started with the wells street art faire i think where i bought some really cool pieces, then the do division fest for some cool bands and good food, then the metronome fest in logan square to see a friend's band play, next up was the randolph street fest for tara's birthday and it was blazzzzing hot but a ton of fun! i took a little bit of a timeout on festivals in july and only made it to the taste of chicago. then in august we started it off with the north hasted market days which is always the best people watching, then we did lollapalooza...well sort of. it was way too hot and smelly so we barely went. then later on in august we did the taste of greece which had the tastiest food ever. and now summer has come to an end but luckily there are still chicago fests in september! i stopped by celtic fest this sunday in honor of my irish heritage and then at night the bf and i went to the german-american fest for some beer and sausage. it was a blast! tomorrow i'm going to the berghoff oktoberfest. this weekend there is an apple fest i'm interested in. next weekend is oktoberfest in lincoln square, lakeview arts fest in my hood and the chinatown new moon festival. and i think that's it. all in all by the end of september i should have hit up a grand total of 15 festivals! i think that's pretty impressive. i love activities and taking advantage of this city so doing as many festivals as possible is a huge accomplishment to me! overall, the german-american fest has been my favorite with taste of greece in a close second. i'll have to report back on the last few!

Thursday, September 10, 2009


skydiving has been on my life to-do list for about 7 years now and i finally got to cross it off! a couple of weeks ago the groupon was for a discount on skydiving and it definitely put a little fire under my butt to get it over with! my bff decided to go too. i was really excited during the days leading up to it but on the actual day i was FREAKING out. we drove all the way out to hinkley, il and ended up having to wait FOREVER because apparently skydivers are just like surfers - totally laid back with no structure. during the wait we got to watch a ton of people jump and land safely. we finally geared up after 3 hours of waiting and my instructor was SO nice! he definitely helped me calm down and made me feel totally comfortable. but i was still petrified. we finally boarded the plane and me and my friend were set to jump last. i got more nervous as the plane got higher and freaked out when we were the last to jump. the rest is all kind of surreal. i barely remember what it felt like to walk up to the open door of the plane to jump out. he snapped my head back and pushed off the plane and off we went. it all happened so fast. when we were free falling at 120 miles per hour i have no idea what i saw or what was around me. i just remember it being super cold and not knowing what to do with my mouth because if i tried to close it - it shot open, if i tried to scream - nothing came out. so i just tried to relax and enjoy the intense ridiculous experience of being sucked to the ground for 1 minute. it felt like forever. the instructor alerted me when it was time to pull the cord. when i did it shot us back up in the air and then it was all wonderful from there on out. i felt safe and calm and could enjoy the view as we floated down. my friend's instructor slowed them down so we could be close to each other and scream to one another in the air. it was so cool! he showed me how to maneuver the parachute so we could spin and make it a bit more exciting on the way down. we landed safely and got all ungeared and realized we were EXHAUSTED and totally nauseous! it's quite the rush that wears you out! the whole experience felt totally exhilarating and surreal. i still haven't been able to put the experience into words properly so this post doesn't even do it justice. i can't wait to do it again someday!

enjoy the thumbs up photos...lameeee i know

Friday, September 4, 2009

weekly highlights!

MONDAY: bingo ofcourse!
TUESDAY: i was recently asked to train new project leaders for chicago cares. this is a huge honor and i'm so flattered to be given this responsibility. i had the training for this on tuesday night and i'm excited to get more involved!
WEDNESDAY: awesome event for work - fireworks boat cruise! we got a wonderful overview of architecture along the chicago river and an excellent view of the fireworks from navy pier. everyone really enjoyed it and i was so happy it went well!
THURSDAY: date night with the bf at the brew & view. gotta love cheap flicks, draft brews and snuggling with my babe!
FRIDAY: my oldest friend asked me to be in her wedding!!!!!!!!!!!!! i'm SO unbelievably honored and excited to be a part of their special day!

estimated weekend highlights....
SATURDAY: going skydiving. omg. that will be a whole post on it's own next week!
SUNDAY: going to michigan with the bf

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

lucky me photo collection.

i'm so lucky because of the people in my life and the wonderful, exciting things i get to do with them all.

top to bottom - left to right: 1. visiting my bff in munich for oktoberfest '08 2. posing in praha with zdenek - my amazing tour guide from study abroad 3. horseback riding in lake geneva with my bff 4. feeding the penguins at brookfield zoo for my '09 valentine's day gift 5. bff photo shoot 6. with my wonderful parents and the bf in front of my favorite ice cream shop in michigan 7. shot of my study abroad girls in vienna 8. with my other family - the bf's at hunky dory 2009 9. all my best friends on my 25th bday 10. one of my fav pics with the bf in san francisco

Friday, August 28, 2009

welcome fall!

it's fall in chicago! maybe not officially but it definitely feels like it this week and i LOVE it. the past couple of days have been super rainy and cool. i got to fall asleep the past 2 nights to rain showers with cool air coming in my window. it's starting to get darker earlier. i know there will be a few more blazing days in chicago but right now i'm happy that i don't have to deal with sweating and a/c. when i go out this weekend the streets wont smell like hot garbage and the bars won't be stuffy and gross. with this weather i get to pull out a few of my favorite things! i've been having day dreams about wrapping up in my favorite gray, cozy wrap, breaking out my favorite brown riding boots, wearing layers and fall fashion. i never wear bright colors so i'm glad my neutral and dark colored wardrobe will be appropriate again. i am getting major deja vu as i always do at this time of year. the crisp air and early sunsets are giving me colorguard/marching band flashbacks...yes i was a dork. but it was a huge part of my high school life and this is definitely marching band weather. and being in chicago this time of year reminds me of my first quarter at depaul. that was such a special time for me as a transfer student-discovering and exploring chicago, meeting new friends and starting new classes with a new major. i love that when this time of year hits it brings a rush of favorite memories that i associate with weather. i'm not a summer hater but fall is definitely my favorite! i'll be sad to ditch the flip flops for flats but honestly, the pros of autumn definitely outweigh the cons for me. yay fall!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

oldies but goodies.

quick stories about various older people that make me smile:

last night at bingo O-67 was called and the bingo caller said, "just around the summer of love" at which my tablemate peggy said, "oh, i had some summers of love way before that!"
-freaking LOVE it.

- speaks for itself.

on saturday afternoon the bf and i got to visit with his grandma. it was so wonderful to have a lengthy visit with her and we could tell it made her very happy. she is so amazingly sweet and kind. we chatted about our trip to nashville and hunky dory and she shared some hunky dory memories of her own. when we were leaving she told me i was lovely and told us she was a lucky duck. i felt just as lucky to be able to spend time with her.
- miss my grandmas.

Friday, August 21, 2009

weekly highlights!

monday: definitely getting breakfast at loveless cafe in nashville before hitting the road back to chicago and then being welcomed back into the city by a giant rainbow over the lake. so nice.

tuesday: checking out the Museum of Contemporary Art after working and cooking homemade chicken nuggets with the bf - i was very proud of them!

wednesday: got to do a food tasting at the drake with my coworkers. very fancy, very delicious. i love my job!

thursday: walked over to a farmers market in the loop and bought some pretty flowers for my desk and some treats for home. another huge highlight was catching up with one of my bffs over tea who i haven't seen in awhile and is going on vaca for a week.

friday: the highlight today will certainly be eating at perennial with my cousin. can't wait to try it out!

i predict that my saturday highlights will be getting my haircut so that i can see again (bangs are way too long) and seeing 16 candles at midnight @ the music box theatre. can't wait!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

weekend in nashville!

the bf and i drove down to nashville on friday after work to visit his aunt for the weekend. i had done some research on some spots to visit along the way and brought some car projects to work on. the first stop i wanted to take was for a "giant leg sundial" in indiana. i thought - how roadtrippy and perfect. we get off the expressway and follow the directions only to arrive at a nudist colony. the giant leg was inside there! this is what i get for not reading descriptions. it was pretty freaking funny though. after we finally arrived at his aunt's it was very late and we were wiped. we woke up the next morning to fried green tomatoes, sausages, omelets and fresh fruit. YUM! after breakfast we went downtown to check out Music Row, Hatch Show Print, the river front and tour the Ryman Auditorium. we got some bbq at BB Kings for lunch. later on we had dinner with his cousin, her husband and her adorable 2 year old son at Bosco's in the cute/trendy Hillsborough area. then the bf and i went to a show at the basement. the opening act was fantastic and really different, middle act's singing voice made me want to kill myself and the headliner, clem snide is a nashville gem. we had a good time assessing the nashville indie scene. the next day we went to pick up the 2 year old cousin and went to his grandpa's house for a tour. they live on 7 acres of land in a beautiful old home. they board doggies to make their $. my kind of people! they also have a treehouse (for grownups!), access to a big river and big gardens with tomatoes, watermelons, ochre and parsley. it was really cool to see. after that we went to opryland to see the new opry house and visit the fancy schmancy opryland resort for lunch. there are amazing waterfalls and gardens inside the resort. it was one of the coolest indoor gardens ive ever seen. we had a great time with rob's little 2 year old cuz who entertained us with his songs - my personal favorite was his version of BINGO - he sings BONGO instead. then his aunt made us a delicious dinner before we went to the station for a bluegrass jam session. musicians - amateur and professional - gather to play together all night. this was a huge highlight of the trip! we heard some amazing music and it was a great way to cap off the great weekend. the next morning we went to the loveless cafe for a traditional southern breakfast. rob had bbq pork over eggs with hashbrown casserole and i had bacon, eggs, ham, hashbrown casserole and sausage. OMG. so good but SO full afterwards. OH and they bring you a bunch of amazing bisquits with preserves too. seriously so glad we got to go there! on our journey home we stopped in louisville to take some pics of the world's largest baseball bat and down the street from that there is the world's largest vampire bat at a costume shop. so fun.
all in all - it was a wonderful and memorable weekend. i was so happy to spend time with his aunt and cousin who i get to see so rarely. i want to go back!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

smile like you mean it.

my natural expression is a frown. i never notice that i'm frowning because that is my relaxed face. luckily, people often encourage me to smile. not annoying at all! like random people in the street, waiters, a checkout person at whole foods and other complete strangers. for years i have found this incredibly annoying. but lately i have been more aware of my frowny face and i recently heard a nice tip that makes me try to be more smiley. you know the TLC show 18 kids & counting? the super nutty family that limits their kids internet and tv use, forbids premarital kissing and hand holding and is uber religious?? well the mom, michelle duggar, had a few pointers that i read recently on the very serious news source, AOL news. yeah, i know - not someone i would normally turn to for tips but i really like what she had to say about building a strong and positive character.

1. Always use soft words, even when you don't feel well.
2. Always display kind actions, even if you have been mistreated.
3. Show joyful attitudes even when no one is looking.
4. Have sincere motives with no thought of self-gain.
5. Never let the sun go down on your wrath; don't go to bed angry or guilty.

so i really took #3 to heart. and i related it to something i heard her say on their show once - she said always have a smile on your face even when no one is watching. so lately i've been trying to smile as much as humanly possible without looking like a freak. when i'm walking around downtown and realize i've got my classic frown on, i try to muster up a smile. and when i smile like this i swear it sends endorphins all throughout me. i totally feel warm and fuzzy and i have a tendency to scroll through all my happy thoughts which keeps the smile going. i think about what a great city i live in, lately how nice the weather is, something pleasant that happened that day or just how lucky i am in general. i've been doing it especially often on my walk to the bus in the mornings. it helps to start the day with a positive attitude. you should try it!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

my life in lists.

i recently purchased "listography" - it's a book that helps you create your own autobiography in list form. being an event planner and uber organizer, i LOVE lists. the book offers structure to help create a book full of memories and personality traits. it has funny pictures for each page and great topics for the lists. it has been so fun to do because it makes you think of so many things you would never consider about yourself. some of my favorite topics and lists are below.

favorite movies:
* clueless
* when harry met sally
* my best friends wedding
* swingers
* almost famous

favorite songs:
* you can't always get what you want - the stones
* tiny dancer - elton john
* wouldn't it be nice - the beach boys
* too busy thinking about my baby - marvin gaye
* the only living boy in new york - simon & garfunkel

the things i'd like to do on my day off:
* sleep in
* get a massage
* go to the fancy cheese shop down the street
* eat all the cheese
* nap
* watch bravo reality tv marathons

pet peeves:
* when people ask me to do things they could do themselves
* nail biting
* liars
* repetitive noises

my biggest character flaws:
* controlling
* moody
* competitive
* overly sensitive/over reactor
* can't deal with change
* i can't have nice things/i don't take care of my things (anything inside my purse gets destroyed, i rip holes in clothes because i'm not careful, i drop ipods, cameras, phones and other expensive items, i'm just not a cautious gal)

my best traits (according to me):
* i like to take care of people and problems
* staying in touch & connected with friends & loved ones
* self-aware
* i say what i mean and mean what i say
* good gift giver
* independent
* i'm loyal

things i'd save from my home if it was on fire
* gerbil hef
* grandma's rosary
* travel scrapbooks
* the first real art print i got from my parents
* favorite clothes: my gray shawl, brown boots, guitar dress, leather vest
* box of cards i've saved
* jewelry from the bf
and i'd throw it all into my favorite betsey johnson luggage!

what would be on your lists?