Friday, July 24, 2009

weekly highlights!

not gonna lie - this week was a tad rough but i can always find a positive side!

FRIDAY: had a free happy hour at a dive bar. i had too much fun. was home and in bed by 11pm. but it was so great to see so many of my favorite people!!

SATURDAY: my dad asked me to treat him to lunch at the zoo for his father's day gift. so on saturday i joined both of my parents there. it was a beautiful day and for some reason we kept getting things for free! the parking attendant just waved us through and they didn't take my guest pass at the gate. we checked out an area that we hadn't visited in years - we checked out the hooved animals, Australian animals and African animals. it was a great day. later that night was my friend's engagement party. it was nice to meet the groom's fam and friends and to spend time with the bride's college friends. can't wait for the wedding next june!

SUNDAY: i was scheduled to help out at the doggie boutique i worked at in college. i worked for a couple of hours but it was a tad slow so they let me off early. my friend met me for some shopping, starfruit and then later a movie. it turned out to be an awesome day!

MONDAY: bingo ofcourse! i hadn't had a chance to sit with my buds for awhile because i led the project last week and the week before that i couldn't go so it was fun to catch up. lee told me all about his work out routine which ofcourse put a big smile on my face.

TUESDAY: i babysat 2 little munchkins. i hadn't babysat in ages so it was fun to race trains with the little boy, watch alvin and the chipmunks and read cloudy with a chance of meatballs for bed time.

WEDNESDAY: most productive evening of the week! i had to shop for a few items after work - found a new swimsuit and a couple of dresses. then i went home made a healthy dinner, threw in some laundry and then ran to the grocery store, took out the laundry, baked cookies and cleaned up the apartment. i love cramming that much into just a few hours.

THURSDAY: my coworker asked me to check in on her kitty while she is out of town. binky was dying for some love when me and my other coworker got there. she was so affectionate. i swear having a furball around is theraputic. also my coworker thanked me with a whole foods gift card! score!

FRIDAY: i leave work early today and head to the burbs to prepare for my week long vaca with the boyfriends family. that will be a whole other blog post in a couple of weeks!

hope everyone had a good week and has a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

my praha girls.

in vienna celebrating the blonde's bday! then a little bit later after celebrating a bit too much!

studying abroad in prague in 2006 was made even more amazing by the friendships i formed with two special girls. the blonde one is from indiana and she loves diet coke, running and the great outdoors. the brunette is from d.c. and is the most put together, classy woman i know who was never without a strand of pearls and fancy shoes. the brunette was my suitemate and the blonde and i randomly just started hanging out. we are all seriously SO different from one another but we became like the 3 musketeers. we went out for drinks, we ate together, we roomed together on excursions, laughed a lot together and hung out in our free time.

being put in a big group full of people that are completely different than you is really difficult - especially in a foreign country away from home. but luckily i found these two to make the whole experience perfect. becoming friends with two girls that are super different from me helped me learn a lot about myself. i learned what a control freak i am, how sensitive and defensive i can get and how nosy i always am. they taught me a lot about tolerance and understanding/respecting other people's perspectives and backgrounds that a very different than mine. the brunette is a conservative republican - and i'm a very liberal democrat. and the blonde is like a lockbox - she will not disclose personal stuff at all and i'm all about opening up! i'm so lucky to have met these two. i'm so grateful that all of my favorite memories from this trip involve these two wonderful friends. we still keep in touch. we all reconnected in chicago in fall 2006 and in d.c. in spring 2007. and i also got to see the brunette in d.c. on a work trip this past april. hopefully we can all reconnect soon!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

my love affair with chicago.

i absolutely love chicago. i think people that don't like chicago are weird. i think people the move away from chicago are weirder. i love to travel but when the chicago skyline comes into view on my plane ride home my heart flutters with happiness. i feel so lucky to live in such a fantastic city. everywhere that i've visited just doesn't feel quite as homey or welcoming as chicago does. chicagoans put up with the winter weather because the summer is so damn fantastic. even in the winter there are plenty of things to do - ice skating, museums, zoo lights, winter markets, theatre...but the summers are the best. they are amazing because......
* farmer's markets - i love to get fresh baked goods and tomatoes on the weekends!
* beer gardens & rooftops - drinking in the great outdoors is so much better than boozing indoors for some reason
* the lincoln park zoo - it's free and it's regular activity on my summer agenda
* cubs games - this is a total love hate thing - it makes my neighborhood insane but going to a game for a few beers, hot dogs and nachos in good ol wrigley field makes me really happy
* FESTIVALS! - this is the absolutely best part of living in chicago in the summer. we do it up at various neighborhood festivals and street fairs for some quality day drinking outside, lots of junk food, decent music and booths with crap we don't need. then there are the chicago fests like taste of chicago or movies in the park. SO FUN! even though 10 million other people go they are must-do's of chicago summers.
i really do feel like chicago has something special. people are friendlier, more social and proud than in many other cities. i love it here and i have no intentions of ever moving away :)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

other people's memories

do you know any other people's memories as good as your own? there are so many stories of my favorite people that i cherish so much that i could tell them as if i was there in that moment even when i wasn't. the stories that i know like the back of my hand make me love all these people even more. like knowing my parents' proposal story - classic example. my dad took my mom into an antique jewelry store and took her over to the ring counter and slyly said, "this could be THE ring." that was it. my mom didn't get it but the jeweler did and she helped my mom figure it out. romantic right? love it. OR even better. their first date. it was at a restaurant with belly dancers. apparently that wasn't so odd in the 70s. one of the dancers came over and danced in front of my parents' table and expected a tip. my dad didn't want to offend my mom so he wouldn't tip the dancer. the dancer proceeded to pop her hip on my father's shoulder until he finally tipped her. amazing. another one i like is one that my bf's mom tells - one of her favorite ways to describe him is by telling the story about how he was too shy to ask for more ketchup packets at mcdonalds. cute. or the bf's stories about touring through texas and getting lost. he needed to ask someone for directions. when they asked where he was from and he said chicago they got into a brief but funny argument about voting for obama. i especially love my girlfriends' stories that i know by heart. a friend's date gone bad story - ending with the guy (that i set her up with!) leaving early because he had "too many liquids in his belly" after a few too many beers at a cubs game and a big iced tea. love that one. or my party hard bff that tried to get into the wrong apartment after a night of boozing and how she insisted on seeing the inside to prove that it wasn't hers. i could go on and i on. i love having a collection of other people's memories that i can choose from when i need a good laugh or warm fuzzy feeling.

Monday, July 6, 2009

i am truly the luckiest.

i had the best birthday EVER. literally incredible. on thursday, 11 of my favorite ladies joined me for some byob pottery painting as seen above and then some drinks at a nearby beer garden. several of them were way to generous and brought me nice gifts. one of my favorites is a notepad that says i will not gossip unless it is really good. sooo me. i got some beautiful jewelry and frames too. my friends are so generous and wonderful.

the next day was the extra special celebration. the bf had a big surprise planned. about 20 minutes before we had to leave he told me we were going to carnivale for dinner. a place i have ALWAYS wanted to try. i had braised short ribs with mashed potatoes and he had a pork chop with a bacon-yuca concoction. it was the best meal i've had in months. after dinner he informs me that we're going somewhere else for dessert. as we leave the restaurant i ask if the limo out front is taking us to dessert and he said yes!! i didn't believe that it was for us so i wouldn't walk over to it. then he opens the door and all my friends scream surprise!! they totally got me. i definitely wasn't expecting that AT ALL! the bf had even wrapped a box and left it in my apartment for me to discover...totally was empty. and half my friends had told me they would be out of town that night...they weren't! so we got to drive around in this full decorated limo drinking champagne to go wherever i wanted. ofcourse i pick my favorite dive bar duffys. we hung out at duffys and danced for a few hours before hopping back in the limo. we drank some more champagne and dropped everyone off. i know the bf was the mastermind behind the whole thing but my friends were so generous to celebrate with me for two nights! and i think he got a little help planning from my two favorite blondes...

the whole thing made me fall in love with the bf even more. i'm so grateful to have such a sweet, thoughtful boyfriend. it also made me fall in love with my bffs even more. they make my life so special and full of happiness. i'm so damn lucky...and spoiled.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

so long 24! hello 25!

today is my birthday! i LOVE my birthday. it's great to have a day all about me that i get to spend with people that i love. i like to stretch the celebration out as much as possible. i'm convinced this birthday will be the best one yet. doing the taste of chicago for lunch today with coworkers then doing byob pottery painting tonight with all my girlfriends and then going to a beer garden for some awesome drink specials. then tomorrow the bf has some surprises planned for the evening but first we'll stop by the taste again to hang with his mom and aunt. i can't wait to see them and then find out what he has planned. then over the weekend i'll be with the fam in the burbs. we'll have a fam party on sunday and a few of my friends will stop by. i honestly can't wait! then the fun continues on monday-i'm going to the cubs game with a big crew and taking tuesday off to go to 6 flags. i'm going to pretend that all of that is part of my birthday. because i think this is the BEST birthday EVER i started thinking about some of my past birthdays and how they've compared....

* teddy bear picnic birthday: no idea how old i was but i had this bear themed picnic table and chair set that i loved so i wanted to have a party around that. we had teddy grahams and open faced pb sandwiches with bear faces made out of licorice and m&ms. it was adorable.

* dance party!: planned a dance competition for a birthday party. i lost. it was sad.

* birthdays up at the lake: my uncle would let me celebrate my birthday up at his lake house with a big group of girls. so much fun! those were definitely some of my favorite memories and favorite birthdays!

* my 19th birthday: the bf decorated his bedroom with pink streamers, sang happy birthday to me and bought me a ice cream cake and then took me to blue man group - front row! that one was very special!

* 21st: i had a hodge podge of friends that were legal or had good fake ids to go out with. i had 2 cakes and a lot of shots. it was a fun time!

* 22nd: i was in europe. probably one of the best birthdays ever. we were in moravia on a weekend excursion. zdenek our 75+ tour guide bought me an ice cream cone in honor of my birthday and we took a boat ride through a cave. it rocked.

23&24 weren't super memorable so i'm hoping this one is!!!