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?

Friday, August 7, 2009

the answer is always yes....

...when someone asks me to help. even if they don't ask for help i manage to get involved in situations. it's in my blood. it's even worse when an animal is in need. i have no breaking point with animals - like the foster cat that repeatedly pooped on my belongings. so when i heard that my neighbor/coworker found a cockatiel on her back porch i ofcourse got involved. last sunday my coworker found this cutie shown above on her porch all puffed out and stressed. her and her husband brought it inside to take care of. they put up posters and info on craigslist to try to connect with the bird's owner. unfortunately they didn't hear anything and even more unfortunately they have a cat so the bird could not be a longterm resident. luckily the bf's mom is a bird expert/lover/whisperer and was willing to help out. she has a bird mansion at home with 4 other feathered friends and was open to adding one more to the gang. on wednesday i had an event for work in the suburbs and was able to grab a proper birdcage for this little guy to keep him at my apartment until sunday when the bf's mom can come pick him up. i dragged the cage full of bird toys, bells and mirrors onto the train, into work, to the chiropractor, on the el and all the way home. i got all sorts of funny glances and questions throughout the day. i got home and was sick of carrying it and for some reason yelled at the bf about it. who knows why. he said well it wasn't his idea to get involved. that shut me up. why the heck did i feel the need to go through so much trouble for this bird? it never crossed my mind to NOT get involved. i'm happy i did go through the trouble because he's super sweet with cute little chirps, cat call whistles and eating habits like me (nonstop chowdown). i know that being helpful is usually considered a good quality to have but i swear in my case its compulsive. someday i'm going to go overboard. but for now i'm going to enjoy my temporary bird friend :)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

hunky dory.

top to bottom: the bf's entire fam, lake clare, and the lodge

i spent last week with the bf's family at the hunky dory resort near balsam lake, WI. yes it's actually called hunky dory. last friday we went to bed as early as we could and woke up early to leave at 4am to drive the 8 hours there. yes we woke up around 3am and yes it's an 8 hour drive. it's all SO worth it! this is only the second time i have gone up there. the bfs fam has been going for ages and it's his happy place.

hunky dory is a very unique establishment. it has literally stood still in time. as marvel, the 82 year old owner describes it - it's like camping with a roof over your head. it's very rustic. any animal you can think of lives up there - there are 2 bald eagles that live in trees on the other side of the lake, lots of chipmunks and black squirrels, turtles throughout the lake, beavers live in the bay on the other side of the lake, there was a black bear and wild turkey spotting too! it's like national geographic up there. there are several cabins around the HD campus - with cute names like Robert's Roost, Fisherman's Dream, Beachside and so on. they are definitely rustic but i even i can handle it and enjoy it and i'm quite the princess. you eat all your meals together in the lodge that are homemade by the owner, her family and staff. they ring a bell to let you know when it's ready :) breakfast includes your choice of cereal, oatmeal, eggs, bacon and pancakes or french toast. some of the lunches included homemade soups, sandwiches with leftover ham, beef or turkey, leftovers from the dinner the night before and a dessert like apple crisp. dinners included spaghetti, swedish meatballs, lasagna, ham and mashed potatoes and always more dessert. THEN later in the evening you always get ice cream in their little shop - 50cents gets you a gigantic single scoop. and sometimes we'd even get a pizza from there. you eat SO MUCH. it's great.

there are activities throughout the week - hayride, canoe races, kids games like limbo and sack races, ping pong tournament and a talent show-which i participated in this year. it's like camp for families. in addition to these planned activities we add in some on our own. i get really into doing jigsaw puzzles. everyone works on it in passing throughout the week and it's always great to see the finished puzzle after everyone contributed. we water ski everyday which is fantastic and reminds me of my late uncle who taught me to ski. we canoe and take boat rides. lots of floating in the water and sunbathing takes place. i ofcourse got sunburned on the first day. we play bags which i'm horrible at. and my personal favorite - star gazing. it's like a whole different sky. it gets so dark there it's unreal. me and the bf laid in chairs one night to watch for shooting stars and we saw several and made a wish on one that we saw together. and we wished for the same thing! darling.

hunky dory is also so special because of all the time i get to spend with the bf's family. i usually only get to see everyone all together around christmastime so it's so great to spend so much time together. i absolutely love his aunts who are great story tellers and absolutely hilarious. and his parents are so great. they always make me feel like i'm part of the family. his mom really knows how to take care of me. she remembered to bring a bath towel and a beach towel for me - both of which i forgot. she also got me a special bug repellent thing which was very helpful! i took a walk with her and his sister every morning after breakfast. this was one of my favorite parts of the week. i always love talking to both of them so it was good to get some quality time with each of them everyday. his sister brought me a birthday present all the way from the czech republic where she and her hubby recently visited. my first piece of bohemian crystal!!! i absolutely love it. we also got to spend a lot of time with his brother and his girlfriend - playing lots of games at night and taking boat rides together. i feel so lucky to have all of these extra family members in my life! going to hunky dory seems to make me love the bf even more. and his family. being part of their special place makes me so happy.

i came back missing my text messages, internet, work and my friends but i really miss hunky dory! it's hard to come back from a serene setting to a bustling city. but it's nice because i feel totally recharged and rested. i have been waking up easier in the mornings and more alert at work. it feels good to be back but i can't wait until next year!

oh and there is a theme song that you sing at the end of the week. really.

hunky dory here we come
right back where we started from
where bowers of flowers bloom in the spring
there's fishing and swimming and fun galore for everyone
so pack your bags and don't be late
we'll open up that old camp gate
hurry up dont make us late
hunky dory here we come!

i think that's right...