Friday, May 29, 2009

weekly highlights

sunday: went to michigan and it was fabulous
monday: lazy, glorious day. the only thing on the agenda was bingo with my seniors and jon & kate + 8.
tuesday: yeah yeah yeah's concert of course
wednesday: finally got a good night's sleep
thursday: dinner date with the bf at a restaurant that we've been dying to try
friday: it's freaking gorgeous in chicago! and i'm going to the turkish festival for lunch with all my coworkers. mmm kabobs.

can't complain. hope you all had a nice week too!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

i'm spoiled rotten.

last night i went to see the yeah yeah yeahswith my man. for free. and sat in the vip section. it was awesome. this isn't out of the ordinary. my man works in the music "biz" and can get us free tickets to practically any show in chicago. we have seen some amazing shows together but the absolute best=lollapalooza 2007 artist passes. i honestly don't know how he got that but i didn't ask questions. it was pretty unreal wandering around the artist lounges and running into perry farrell-literally running into him-and sitting on stage for the black keys and m.i.a. i love going to shows with him and i'm so glad that we can do it so often.

the bf isn't the only one that gets me into shows and other free vip situations. one of my best buds got a hook up and took me to madonna for free. INSANE. same bff took me to an absolut mango launch party that was full of free alcohol, giveaways and entertainment. she has also managed to get us complimentary bottles of champagne, vip seating and give me a free ipod touch....she's nuts. another friend took me to a cubs game a few weeks ago. another bff took me to a fancy fundraiser earlier this year. she also knows the manager at one of the bars we frequent so we get free food and drinks there. another bud knows quite a few stand-up comedians and gets us into shows for free and usually a bit of quality time with the comedian afterwards.

i do get some decent things on my own. when i worked for luna i got to fly out to cali a few times and always had a ton of luna goodies and product. when i was in undergrad i got to go to san diego for a leadership conference and meet comedians and bands through the organization i was involved with. i have also gotten some pretty nice hookups through my current job. free cubs game and trips to d.c. and baltimore. but the only thing i was able to offer my friends was free tickets to xanadu. right up there with madonna right? when i write everything out it seems absolutely out of control how spoiled i am. you'd think with all these hook ups and freebies i would have a lot more money.

i'm one lucky girl.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

my happy place.

on sunday i drove up to southwest michigan and visited st. joseph's and new buffalo with my parents and the bf. when i was little my family would spend a week with family friends in stevensville, michigan at chalet on the lake ( and visit all these great spots in st. joe's and new buffalo. me and the bf drove up separately from my folks and grabbed some huge, delicious granola cluster cookies from tosi's cafe ( then some vanilla caramel fudge from kilwin's ( before heading down to silver beach in st. joe's for a few hours before it got too chilly. it was great to get some sun, look at the water and all the boats. after the wind picked up we went back to the shopping area before heading to redamak's ( in new buffalo for dinner. it is the holy grail of burger joints for me. the burgers are seriously the fattiest, to die for, melt in your mouth deliciousness that i crave each summer. i know that the burgers taste extra special to me because of all the memories i have there but i've gotten the bf pretty addicted too! they don't have plates there, the burgers come wrapped in wax paper. they also don't serve coffee and won't put lettuce or tomato on your burgers - just ketchup, mustard, pickles and a huge slice of onions. after dinner we ALWAYS play games in the game room. me and the bf have our fav - crusin' exotica. it's a hilarious racing game that we've have actually gotten pretty good at over the past few years. after the games we head to oink's dutch treat for ice cream down the street from redamak's. they get their ice cream from sherman's dairy ( in new haven. it is thick, creamy and oh so yummie. i ALWAYS order blue moon like all of the 3-7 year olds. but it's tradition! then we drive home and i feel like i'm going to die from eating so much. also a tradition.

some of my happiest childhood memories involve these places and these areas. i love that practically nothing has changed and i can go back and feel like a kid again. i remember the kids burying each other in the sand, cruising on my multi-colored zebra float, my dad holding me and covering me with a towel when it was too windy, making smores and so much more. it's still totally my happy place filled with those memories and some more recent ones too.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

7 Years and Counting.

yesterday was the big 7 year anniversary with my man. wowzers. it makes me feel old. we had a great night together. we exchanged cards and gifts before we went to dinner. we definitely got each other the same card. i couldn't believe it! it's nice to know that we feel exactly the same way about each other - enough so that we pick out the same greeting card :) he actually managed to surprise me for probably the first time in a few years! he got me a leopard print locket with one of my fav picture sof us inside - see above. i love it! it's very rock and roll but also very sweet. totally my style. i got him some items he really needed and a gift card to his favorite bike shop. then we went to the black duck for dinner. that's where we had our first chicago dinner date back when i was 19 and he was 18. it's one of our favorites and it brings back great memories.

this year has been so great for us and i feel like i continue to get happier in our relationship over time. we laugh more than we fight and we get to spend way more time together than in the past. we do fun things together like summer festivals, concerts, new restaurants and trips. we do nice things for each other regularly. he surprises me with flowers often and does the dishes after we cook and i bring him his favorite types of candy and send him ecards all the time. that sounds cheesy but i think it shows that we think about each other throughout the day. i swear it's the little things that make the difference!
i'm excited to see what the future holds but right now i am happy and loved and i couldn't be any more lucky.

Monday, May 18, 2009

LUNA love.

after a particularly rough work day on saturday i was desperate for sunday to be wonderful. and wonderful it was. i had signed up to work a promo event for LUNA Bar, who makes whole nutrition bars for women ( i had the opportunity to do an absolutely amazing internship with LUNA my senior year of college and work for them briefly after i graduated. LUNA provides product for various events throughout the city - especially during the spring & summer - and i try to staff them when i can to get a little LUNA love.

this particular event was a bridal expo. this was great for me because i could check out vendors for work and for play. i started the day with a nice walk in the sunshine to meet the current LUNA intern for my alma mater who also works on regional events. she is quite possibly the most cheerful person i know and i am so grateful to know her! then we headed to the expo to meet one of my favorite buds from college who was going to staff the event with me. working the expo turned out so much better than we expected. not only were the brides totally great, we also got a bunch of free wedding cake and sweets samples! i also got to see some other familiar faces throughout the day- someone from work who was recently engaged, one of my best friends checking out vendors for her mom's upcoming nuptials and a girl i knew in high school. it didn't even feel like work and that's why i love LUNA. getting paid to make people happy with free samples, enjoy free samples myself and to chat with friends is a good way to be.

after the expo, i popped into whole foods which is totally a happy place for me. i got all of my favorite natural and organic foods to enjoy this week. then i spent the night with my man who didn't complain when i wanted to watch my best friend's wedding :)

Friday, May 15, 2009

this week's highlights

sunday: found out that my oldest friend is now a mrs. after a visit to the court house! thrilling. couldn't be happier for her and her new hubby!
monday: i went to my high school for their career day to speak about my job. it was so weird to go back and see all that has changed but fantastic to motivate all the underclassmen and see my favorite teacher.
tuesday: got to go to the cubs vs padres game for FREE thanks to my good friend. nothing beats cold beers, hot dogs and girl talk at wrigley field.
wednesday: i got a 100% on my midterm exam somehow!
thursday: my event for work went SO well. we hosted an etiquette dinner for graduating students and young alumni. it was fantastic to see both parties connecting over a delicious meal and etiquette lessons.
friday: no highlight yet...but i imagine that will change when it's officially the weekend :)
i wasn't having a very good day today - it's quite dreary out in chicago and i was frustrated with a situation at work. but taking a look back at all the highlights from the week perked me up quite a bit!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

substitute grandparents.

after i graduated college i knew i would be bored with just working 9-5 everyday so i made a list of goals, projects and to-do's to keep me busy. the list included working out regularly, monthly museum visits, scrapbooking my travels and college years and volunteering. i did pretty good with the list. i started working out at the free campus workout room by my office, i scrapbooked all of my favorite college photos and i visited museums more often than i ever had before.

most importantly i got involved with volunteering through chicago cares, an organization that coordinates various volunteer projects throughout the city. i wasn't really sure where to start so i went with convenience and picked a seniors bingo project near my apartment. on my first night i was seated with a man named joe. i was greeted by him squinting at me saying, "thank god you're not a blonde. i hate blondes." he also came up with colorful phrases to yell out throughout the game. for example, the caller would pull the I-30 bingo ball and joe would say, "I-30 your face is dirty. clean your face vera!" to the partially deaf woman that couldn't him screaming. he once asked me if he could be like my grandpa and i gladly said yes, ofcourse. i also helped a resident named jesse who needs help placing his chips on his card. jesse is THE most gentle, patient man i know and i have never seen someone get more excited to get a BINGO. the other residents really get into the game too and really enjoy our company. even on my first visit, i realized that they were special, quirky and completely ridiculous and i had to come back. i have been attending every monday since february 2008 and loving every minute of it. i am now a project leader once a month and have gotten to know the residents very well. getting involved with the bingo project led me in the direction of a variety of other chicago cares volunteer opportunities.

joe passed away shortly after i started volunteering there and i was devastated. but everytime they call I-30 i mutter clean your face vera under my breath in his memory :) i still sit with jesse and some other residents - a different joe, lee and peggy. they are all sort of my substitute grandparents since i have none of my own anymore. they give me peppermints, tell me amazing stories, meddle in my life a little bit and greet me with a warm smile every time i walk in the activity room on monday evenings. just as a grandparent would. hightlights from this past monday: joe won 3 times and everyone else was pissed, they noticed that i got a new purse and jesse wore a 'bingo nut' baseball hat.

these people are so important to me and add a value to my life that i can't even fully understand just yet. more on them soon...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A friend is a gift you give yourself.

a day doesn't go by without me thinking that i have the most wonderful friends. i am lucky enough to have a large circle of friends and acquaintances that includes a smaller circle of my very best girlfriends. i think that i am so lucky because all of these girls are SO different and fulfill my life in their own special ways.
i have a friend that loves art and cultural events just as much as i do. i have a wise friend to offer me guidance. i have a partner in crime who reminds me never to take anything too seriously. i have a comedy road trip partner that loves to hunt. i have an up for anything/plan-ahead friend that manages to make each night out the best night of our lives. i have best buds around the world - one in munich and one traveling throughout south america who make me jealous with all of their adventures. i have a friend that just became a mama and i am thankful that she can help me out if/when i ever become a mama myself. i have a bud that is exactly the same as the day i met her our freshmen year of high school. i have a friend who leaves me the most hilarious voicemails about her daily funny moments. i have a friend for everything i need :) try to guess which one you are girls!
i will be posting about them A LOT!
i am lucky because they make me feel fabulous, special and loved.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

first post!

i decided to venture into the world of blogging. exciting, i know. i truly think i'm the luckiest girl in the world and wanted to take the time to capture all of the wonderful aspects of my life in one place and what better place than in my very own blog! my posts will center around the most delightful aspects of my life and i vow to never post anything negative! some of those most delightful aspects include:

* my supportive, beautiful, fun-loving friends

* my wonderful, thoughtful, adorable boyfriend of 7 years

* my fantastic family

* my amazing job with the best coworkers/boss and benefits

* my own apartment that i cherish in the best city in the world

* my ability to travel often

* my volunteer projects that make me happier than anyone could ever know

and so much more - i can't wait to share stories about all of these delightful things, so stay tuned.