Wednesday, April 30, 2008

New features on Everyday Adventures

So I'm still slightly blog-illiterate, but I've added some cool new stuff to here that I wanted to share with everyone. Well I think it's cool - so play along ;)

I have added an RSS feed to the blog (which you can find on the right-hand column). To "feed me," enter the following URL into your feedburner:

If you don't use Newsgator, still click on the RSS link to the right and you can select what Feeds program you use. 

Note: early Everyday Adventures readers will need to update their RSS link as the old one doesn't feed anymore.

"On Notice"
So Stephanie had a genius idea last night, which is to add my own Colbert-esque "On Notice" board to this blog to capture the things that really put a bee in my bonnet. More to come so watch out!

Google Me This
Along with doing the People Puzzler with a Pepsi on Friday night, last Friday I added a Google Search function (also on the right-hand column) for the blog. 

Wondering how much I love Coach? Search and you'll find all the posts that mention it. Want to relive the wedding e-mail I received which solicited for cash? Type it in and you'll find it.

This is very late but I've added more blogs that I read on a daily basis. This list will continue to grow and change, but for now, I've listed the non-media blogs that I read daily and enjoy. Want yours added? Send me a link and I'll check it out.

Also - thanks for the great comments yesterday about the gift wrapping idea. I was seriously teased by a co-worker about this so I'm glad I'm not the only one who things it's a fab idea :)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

How the smallest things can make your day

Presents and treats aren't just for holidays and birthdays anymore. Oh no. As a single, young professional woman, I believe in treating myself to something nice at least a few times a week, if not every day.

Now this doesn't mean I'm out buying new purses, make-up or clothes all the time, but I've really found that as I get older, it's the little things that can still make your day. For example, my dad gave me a roll of stamps (the new forever ones) and I was super excited...over stamps. My idea of daily treats include: buying lunch, taking a cab, buying nummy ice cream or cupcakes as a treat, etc. Not exciting or something that will break the bank, but it's still fun things that I wouldn't normally do on a regular basis.

I'm teased at the office about my policy about "gift wrapping" things I buy. Whenever I buy something from Coach or Nordstrom's or really any store that has to ship things to me, I always ask it to be gift wrapped, especially if the service is complimentary. I do this because then it's like a nice little present, just for me. Yes, I've paid for it and I know exactly what's in the box, but for a few seconds, I have a present and I'm anxious to open it up. Plus, I don't have a boyfriend to buy and wrap things up for me, so that doesn't mean I should go without.

Does anyone else do little treat things for themselves? Care to share?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Harry & David? More like Satan and Mothra

I have a bee in my bonnet tonight about Harry & David, purveyor of fruit and candy baskets. Two years ago I ordered something from them for my boss and every since I've been on its catalog/mailing list.

I tried everything to duck them, moving, ignoring it and nothing stopped them from finding me. It's like a bad version of the IRS! Finally, I had enough and called about two months ago to ask them to remove me from their mailing list. My Harry & David customer service rep said I would be removed immediately and catalogs would cease within three weeks. So imagine my surprise, six weeks later, when I come home tonight (after an unfun bus ride in which my umbrella opened by accident) to find a Harry & David catalog in my mailbox.

In a moment of customer service rage, I called Harry & David again proceeded to ask why I had not been removed from the list. When the woman gave me a BS answer, I kind of, sort of demanded to be removed from the list, saying that seeing another catalog would make me "physically sick" and that I would never buy anything from them again for fear of being put on the list again. Overdramatic? Yes, but effective.

So Harry & David is "on notice" now too. I don't want to see another catalog from you ever again.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Fun things in my neighborhood

So my printer is still not...well printing because I did not know that I needed a USB cord to make this work and of course it was not included in the box. So tomorrow I will be heading to the Apple Store to get one and rectify this situation since Best Buy thinks $30 for a cord is "reasonable." But dad did replace the string on the light in my closet, so I no longer have to use a flashlight when digging for clothes. So that is a plus.

And even though I did a 4.5 mile walk this morning, I decided to walk back from Best Buy (but with a Bobtail smoothie to make it manageable) and found the below billboard. Actually Ryan and I saw it last night and found it hilarious, but my Baby Buddha needed to get home and in the fridge so I couldn't take a picture of it then. I find it amusing, mostly because I swear like a trucker.

May officially starts this week too and wedding mania really picks up so there is plenty of good material coming up :)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

A food-filled Saturday

I love when parents come to visit. Free groceries, travel by car downtown and free lunch and/or dinner.

And now I'm sitting in my apartment, blogging with "comfy" pants on because I'm more than over my caloric limit for the day but it all tasted so good!

Before our manual labor/furniture-moving afternoon, dad, stepmom and I visited my favorite place in the city, Nordstrom. Okay it's not my favorite architectural or tourist place in the city but it is my "happy place." The cafe has my favorite salad, the chicken, strawberry salad with mixed greens, feta cheese and candied walnuts. NUM. I order it every single time I eat there and it was lovely. Unfortunately, the tourists flocked there earlier than us and my red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting was not available. Damn you!

While shopping in the store after lunch, I heard a rumor that the women's department on the third floor was handing out mini buttercream-frosted cupcakes, so I dashed up there to hunt down the cupcake-lady and they were no where to be found. Damn you again! Oh someone isn't getting a seven-percent commission for this. Fortunately my super-soft chocolate chip cookie was a consolation, but I wanted that cupcake...or two. I also recommend the mocha ice storm drink in Nordstrom's coffee bar on the first floor. It's like a Mocha Frappuccino from Starbucks...but way better. Trust me. Dad always gets one to share and today I could not resist it's power.

Finally, Ryan and I were on our way back from Best Buy and stopped in at Crisp on Broadway in Lakeview. I've seen this place on CLTV and in the 'hood on weekends, but this if the first time I've finally been able to stop in. The first time I had Korean food, I had no idea what to order or what I was eating, so I didn't enjoy it much, but Crisp's menu is super easy to read and the staff was really friendly, explaining the foods to us (apparently we looked new) and showing us examples. Our cashier was like my sister from another mother. Her name is Jessica (called Jess for short), loves Old Navy polos and was super friendly - just like me! She even commented after one sentence from my mouth that she likes me. Of course Ryan was embarrassed, but what can I say, people love me. I would definitely go back there - hopefully when my twin is working.

So below is a picture of my Baby Buddha bowl from Crisp with white rice, mushrooms, fried egg, zucchini, tomato and carrots. Very light and refreshing. Plus, good leftovers for tomorrow. FYI though, carrying home the box in a plastic bag was kind of cumbersome so my food had turned itself over at least twice during the walk.

Okay I have just found out that I will be unable to finish installing my printer tonight because I don't have a USB cable. Damn you too! Ill go into the food coma instead.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Rant: Sibling Rivalry

For better or worse, I was given a brother and two stepbrothers, but today I'll concentrate on my brother. We're three years apart, which I think is perfect because we have things in common, watch the same shows and generally get along (which only happened after I moved out for college).

But despite this age difference, my brother is still my biggest rival. We don't have to fight for our parents attention anymore, but somehow I still view everything between us as a competition. While I have a good job and was recently promoted, am financially independent and stable and lead the "city life," Andy still holds the biggest cards: he's getting married, his wedding and honeymoon are free and he's the baby.

Somehow when you stack those achievements next to each other, he's still the winner. Today he informed me that his fiancee might be looking to leave teaching because of the unstable job market in Wisconsin and that her godfather might "hook her up" for a bank job that pays $70k. Andy exaggerates but there was something about this comment that made me snap.

It seems that no matter how hard I work to be successful, Andy always catches the breaks. He has never had to take a job to survive and has had it cushy his entire life, thanks to everyone around him. His wedding and honeymoon are basically free and his fiancee supports them both financially while he's out of work. I mean how much better could it get for him? 

And hearing my own grandparents say that they didn't think they'd live to see another happy event (aka a grandkids wedding), it makes me feel like a failure and at Christmas when they gave my brother and his fiancee an antique crystal unity candle holder because "someone should have it," I felt like I had hit pretty much rock bottom. I know comparing me to him is not the same thing, but for anyone who has a sibling, you know the competition that can exist between you and how crazy they can make you.

So I don't have any profound thoughts, just a rant for today. This might be a bit too personal, but contrary to popular belief, I am actually very sensitive on certain things.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Weather forecasts for city women

Thank goodness! It's finally feeling like spring in Chicago! (Minus this afternoon rain) Woo hoo!

Whenever there is a large weather change - winter/spring or summer/fall - there can be a "delay" in dressing appropriately for the new weather temperature. This can cause several days of discomfort as you realize shortly after boarding the bus that you're too over- or under-dressed. Yesterday, on an amazing day, I noticed a woman on the bus wearing a North Face puffer coat on the way to work. Now that is overdressing. It's beautiful outside, wear something lighter!

I love wearing skirts in summer, l-o-v-e it. But even with the recent 70-degree temps, I'm still hesitant to pull them out. Mostly because I'm not 100 percent convinced the weather will stay this way. This is the Midwest. So after being slightly overdressed for the office this week, I threw caution to the wind today and dressed a bit more springy for work, complete with side ponytail and Coach scarf, dress denim and gauzy dress T-shirt with the Tory Burch flats. I thought I was set...until I went outside and the wind nearly made me lose the scarf and the hair didn't look so cute anymore. Basically, I underdressed slightly.

So because of this, I am putting the local meterologists "on notice" because they need to give better direction to the women of Chicago on how to appropriately dress that day for work.

Here are some examples of how they can guide us better:

Warm cute: 

Weather is warm (mid-70s or higher) with little breeze and lots of sunshine. 

What to wear: skirt/pants or cropped jacket with sunglasses and a short to 3/4-length top with a wrap, sandals or tennis shoes (if you're going to the gym).

Cool cute:

Weather is between high-50s and 60s, partly sunny and a bit stronger wind.

What to wear: pants, jean or fleece coat, full or open-toe shoes with something heavier to cover your arms.

Humid cute:

Weather is uncomfortable. Temps are still in the 70s or higher but with high humidity and lots of sunshine.

What to wear: light skirt, sandals and sunglasses and strappy top - basically anything to make it less uncomfortable. But bring a jacket, cardigan or wrap for the office.

Rain cute:

Well it's raining so the weather isn't that much of a stretch. Temps can fall into the "warm cute" or "cool cute" categories too so refer back to those descriptions.

What to wear: cutest rain boots (recommend bright colored wellies), pants, jacket and whatever top you choose.

Unforgiveably hot cute:

Weather: Similar to "humid cute" category but multiply it by ten.

What to wear: Whatever will keep you from passing out while waiting for the train or bus. But bring something to cover yourself up a bit at the office.

Now I know this seems a bit odd or slightly ridiculous to think up but, really seeing this description on the NBC 5 news in the morning would really help me out and keep me from being a hot mess.

Yes let's do the math: "warm cute" dress + a "cool cute" day = a hot mess

Anyone who has ever been under- or over-dressed for the weather knows what that feels like. Suddenly my new post-gym workout outfit looks very warm and inviting. Even if they might be poorly made.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Customer service frustration

Tonight I went to Old Navy to exchange a pair of tank tops that I originally purchased on Saturday. Normally I'm good at guessing my size, but this year, Old Navy has really dialed-down the quality of the tank tops, going from thick, sturdy cotton to some flimsy cotton/modal blend. I'm not a cotton/modal blend-hater, but Anne and I were both shocked at the decrease in quality. 

I know that you "get what you pay for," so for $7.50 each on sale, I'm not expecting cashmere, but seriously. I loved those tank tops and stocked up every year. Now I have to make sure my old ones last as long as possible because they're total crap now, same with the "perfect tee," which is now more of a "perfect piece of crap."

Moving on - when I went in tonight to do an even exchange from XL to L, I could tell right away that my cashier was not totally vested in helping me. So I explained that I wanted to do an even exchange, showing her the new tank tops and taking the receipt and the old tank tops out of the bag. After a long dramatic pause, the following conversation occurred:

Cashier: So you want to exchange the L tank tops for the XL?

Me: No, I bought the XL ones on Saturday and they don't fit, I would like to do an even exchange for the L ones, over here (motioning to the side of the cashier's booth)

Cashier: Okay, I'll ring up the XL ones for you.

Me: No, I already bought the XL ones, I want to exchange those for the L ones.

Cashier: Ma'am, ahhhhhh...hold on. (calls for manager)

It's about now that I let out a deep sigh and start counting to ten. For a moment, I had a bad flashback to an incident at Nordstroms in which Liz had to step in because the cashier and I started snapping at each other and I tried to come behind the counter to do the exchange myself.

Fortunately, the manager was competent and made the even exchange for me, but not before trying to charge me $2 for some reason, which I refused.

I love customer service, and do not miss my retail days. At all.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Do I objectify guys? Absolutely, now take your shirt off

I don't know why I remember this, but a few years ago I was watching MTV News (actually maybe MTV News Brief - let's be clear) and Usher, when he was super famous, was talking about how women would objectify him at his concerts. Apparently when you're young and have a nice body and parade around on stage with little to no clothing on, women objectify you. How did they figure us out?

Anyhow, he commented to MTV that it's wrong for women objectify men because "they're people too," which made me almost spit out my soda in laughter. Yes, because women are not objectified ever...not in men's magazines like Maxim or online or even walking down the street! I'm sure when the centerfold was being photographed for Playboy, she was thinking, "boy I really hope the guys don't just look at my body and rack because I'm also going for my Ph.D. in chemistry. I'm a real person, unlike my boobs."

I proudly declare that I objectify men on a daily basis. And now that it's summer and the cute boys are out in force with blue dress shirts and dress pants (it's a young professional girls dream), I am all over smiling and dreaming in my head of them under my spell, or at least going around without a shirt on in my apartment. But while I do objectify men and salivate over some, I do actually look for possible dates based on personality. That is still key, but having guys for the "fantasy file" (come on, we all have them) is still fun too. My friend Ryan comments openly about women and their butts when we're out, I just keep my objectifying comments in my head, but trust me, I'm scanning the room.

Unfortunately when I actually hit on guys or objectify them, it starts by me giving them a smile and look which just consists of me widening my doe eyes and tilting my head down slightly. They love it. It's like, "yes I'm looking right at you and thinking impure things, want to come over and ask what?"

My friend Liz busted me giving some guy the look on the bus one night after a Banana Republic event. I didn't care if he was a genius or single, because in my head, he was a) attractive, b) interested in me and c) looking exceedingly hot. Nothing was going to happen, so my mind was having a fun time. Disclaimer: I do not condone cheating. I would never ever do it.

So look out guys, it's summer and you're officially on "objectifying notice." I can't help myself.  So put on the nicest dress shirt you have and compete for my imagination's attention. Meow.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Six quirky things about me

So today I'm not a diva tagged me as part of the six truths meme (I don't know what that is) so for everyone's reading enjoyment, be prepared to learn interesting or useless things about me. Remember, I'm quirky, not freaky.

The rules:
  • link to the person that tagged you
  • post the rules on your blog
  • share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself
  • tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs
  • let each random person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog

Six things about me:

  1. I am still slightly OCD/perfectionist. This isn't as bad as it used to be, but my most reoccurring quirk is that when I have about 10-15 M&M's left, I organize them in bunches by groups of color and then eat them with my least fave color first with my favorite color first. This happens if I'm at my desk, on a train or even in a movie (although it's more difficult there)
  2. I love designer handbags. Don't ask me how many I have because I don't know, but they sit nicely on a shelf in the dust bags. My repeat offenders: Coach and Kate Spade. Mostly Coach.
  3. When I was little, I wanted to be a dancer on Solid Gold and a doctor. I need a gold shiny jumpsuit and a cage in the OR, stat!
  4. My mind is a vast cave of pop culture knowledge. Movies, fashion, stars, television, trivia, you name it and it's in there. My friend stopped playing Trivial Pursuit Pop Culture edition with me because I kept winning.
  5. My first real memory of Chicago is coming down after Christmas with my dad to walk along Michigan Avenue and look at the lights.
  6. Sometimes when I have a really, really bad day, I come home, turn the phone off, turn on the television and eat coffee cake alone in the dark. Really, it's not sad, it helps shake off the blues. Fortunately this has only happened once or twice.

Tag, you're it!

So below are my picks for who's tagged next. Start runnin'.

Rebecca at Homemaker's Habitat - She's my work mother and the most creative, arts/crafts person I know. Seriously.

Amanda at Simplified Mom - She is my knitting yoda and has the most adorable baby girl Ada.

Stephanie at My Twentysomething Cents - She loves the Office just like me :) and knows about Mindy Ephron's blog. Both of things are a-okay with me.

Angela  at Angelaboration- Actress, great photos on her blog, funny stories and she's super nice to comment on my blog regularly :)

Arielle at Good Things Come to Those Who Whine- works in HR and cracks me up with her office stories. I can well.

Jenn at Free and Flawed - she helped get people to my blog to answer my blog roll question and has been super nice with me being a newbie blogger still.

Jamie at Oh How Lovely - Yes I'm adding a seventh tag. Her blog is awesome and huge and she still visits my little growing blog and comments :)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A nice little Sunday snack

It's finally warming up in the city, so that means it's time for me to start watching my diet more and getting my lazy butt outside to walk on non-gym days. Today was the inaugural walk along the lake from Belmont to just south of Fullerton, and while my legs are sore, I still made decent time there and back.

But I did want to share my new favorite light weekend snack/meal. Usually dinner is my most complete meal so lunch and breakfast are traditionally quick, easy-to-make and go foods that I can eat on the bus (bad I know) or eat quickly between meetings at work. 

Anyhow, lately on the weekends I've really been enjoying what I call the "potpourri plate," which consists of: a wedge of Laughing Cow Light cheese (still creamy and with a nice taste, not what you might think of a "light" cheese) with table water crackers, Wheat Thins and hummus. My favorite hummus is Cedar Crest, which I get at Treasure Island or Whole Foods. While I'm still new to hummus tasting, I prefer this one's creamier texture, compared to Tribe, which is a bit "grainier" and Athenos which has an perplexing after taste (ironically it was named "Best Hummus" by Men's Health, who obviously haven't tried this brand).

Anyhow, below is a picture of my cute "potpourri plate" that I enjoyed while reading the Sunday Tribune today. Then usually after this I end up having some Girl Scout cookies, but I make the effort to have something healthier first :)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Shopping, movies and cupcakes oh my!

Thank you to everyone who posted yesterday about blogrolls. I was overwhelmed by the great responses. Thank you and feel free to visit my little Adventures anytime and I will be returning the favor :)

So after being inside or running wedding errands the last two Saturdays, today I made up for it with an ultra-productive day.

Because of ridiculous movie prices in Chicago ($10.50 for evening shows? Are you kidding?), Anne and I got up early and saw Forgetting Sarah Marshall at the AMC for the first showing price of $6 (a steal!). Then despite my best attempts to get to the gym after the movie, I ended up exercising my wallet and legs walking from store to store. 

We noshed at Noodles for lunch (love the flatbread), and then hit Old Navy where I stocked up on my favorite tanks at 20 percent off (even though the quality of the product has significantly decreased), pilgrimaged to Gap for jeans and Pottery Barn for the motherload of floor model sales. And Anne is the superstar of the day for asking the sales person to plug in a lamp I was looking at before purchasing it - because it ended up not even working!

Tip: Floor models are the hidden "treasure" at stores. When stores need to clear inventory for new styles, they mark models on display in-store up to 50 percent off. Local delivery is often available but it's much cheaper to pick it up yourself. Be sure to check all sides of the floor model for nicks, scratches or chips. If they don't have another floor model in the back, ask for an extra 10 percent. It never hurts to ask.

So now dad and I will picking up a bedside table, end table and floor lamp next weekend when he's in town. Yay manual labor! But everything was 50 percent off, and fortunately after buying Lulu and a flat-screen in fall, the total didn't make me want to pass out. Not that it wasn't painful. But hey, it's time to get more "adult" furniture and move out the college or hand-me-down stuff.

Finally, as a treat, Anne and I stopped by Sarah's pastries at Macy's for cupcakes! I can't wait for the Chicago blogger cupcake crawl so this will tide me over. My buttercream was lovely and Anne said her carrot cake/cream cheese muffin/cupcake was delish as well.

Now that the wallet is ready to set itself on fire and my diet is blown for the day, it's time to relax and watch Indiana Jones. Yes, he's still hot.

Friday, April 18, 2008

To the blogs and beyond: How do you blogroll?

So now that I know a rabid animal isn't under my bed shaking it, waiting to bite my heels - which I thought was the case at 4:30 a.m. when the earthquake hit - I'm appealing to the blogosphere.

Jennifer and I were talking the other day about blog rolls and she had a great idea - ask all my fellow bloggers and lurkers how they decide who to add to their blog rolls.

So I pose this question into the great beyond. How do you decide what blogs to add to your blog roll? Are they friends or blogs you read regularly? Or do you take e-mails from people asking for a link exchange?

I'm pretty new to this so I'm putting the question out there for people to share their experiences :)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

My cheap and dishonest tendencies

I try to fight it but my parents raised an honest girl. And according to multiple friends, those who dare to say it, a cheap girl too. Not to be confused with a cheap date, I guarantee you that is not the case.

Anyhow, after my free coupon-prompted trip to Victoria's Secret, Rebecca commented again on Monday that I'm cheap. Actually, she said "frugal" but let's be real, it's the same thing. Apparently taking advantage of the free underwear coupon and going into the dreaded store on a Friday to purchase other items makes me cheap. Or further demonstrates that I am frugal.

I'm teased because I know how much everyone should contribute to the dinner tab, rarely ever take cabs and I manage and budget my finances like a huge corporation. I agree that I might be a bit...unforgiving about money and hoard it like cattle, but it's with good reason. I have a few friends who are...not the best with money and while they are very generous, they also have bad credit and credit card debt. I know these two things are not mutually exclusive but I don't have any trouble paying my bills on a monthly basis. And if I lend money, it's at a 20 percent monthly interest rate. It's not personal, it's business. Plus when you don't grow up with a lot and spend every free moment working to stay afloat, you can't help being sensitive about money.

So leading into the dishonest part, today I bought lunch (don't get excited, it's expensible) and noticed when I got back to my desk that I was incorrectly rung up by the cashier. He only charged me $2.25 instead of $8.50. I thought for a moment about calling or going back down there with my food to clarify, but decided against it and enjoyed my lunch and the newspaper online. Dishonest? Maybe, but considering I'm honest 99 percent of the time, I'll hang on to the 1 percent right now. Bad to the bone.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Pet Peeve: Chicago's Summer Bummer

I try not to list pet peeves two days in a row, but I've had a disgustingly long day so that rule is out the window for this occasion. 

Today was by far the nicest day in Chicago that we've had in a very long time. This lovely weather might actually steal attention away from the cougar that was killed in Roscoe Village this week. And it's tough to beat a cougar, it's a wild cougar in Chicago! 

So with the nice weather, there are inevitable things that happen in the city:
  • The crosswalks become insufferably crowded
  • Tourists - more on that another time
  • The summer homeless people come out
  • People have very high self esteem about the clothes they wear
  • and the biggest summer buzz kill....Cubs games
Now before I'm gunned down for saying that, I'm not saying that I hate the Cubs, I'm saying as a Lakeview resident that I hate evening Cubs games because of the ungodly traffic on LSD. Many of my co-workers and I actually have a Cubs game schedule at our desks so we can check for night games before we leave work. On those days, I usually try to stay late or take my time at the gym but today, I was irresponsible and didn't check the schedule before I left work and was stuck standing on the 145 in atrocious traffic.

One woman standing behind me was so frustrated that she nearly charged off the bus, taking anyone, including me, out at Belmont. But in the midst of exhaustion and a painfully long ride home, I did do my nice deed for the day - letting a woman near me know she dropped her Chicago Card. Good karma for me!

Alrighty, Lulu wants to play some music and I'm going back to watching Juno. Pork swords!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Pet Peeve: Bus tidbits

So after yesterday's more "complicated" topic, I'll keep it light today. Plus, Lulu has picked a very light, happy song from my iTunes library for us to listen to so we'll keep on that trend.

Riding the bus to work every morning, I've noticed two new trends on my morning commute, one of which intrigues me and the other that annoys me (I believe it bothers me because it's just too early in the morning). I'll let you pick which is which.

This used to be a winter-only trend on my route but now they're out in spring. Cuddlers are the swooning in love people who cannot bear to not have any physical contact with each other on the bus, regardless of how this affects other riders.

I once had cuddlers on the bus who were so attached at the hip that they refused to allow other people past them. When one passenger broke their grasp why trying to get to an open seat, the girl in the couple looked like someone at stolen her purse and lunged for the guy in the couple, calming once they were connected again.

OMG gag me. This might sound "single-girl" biter but seriously, get a room. If cuddlers cannot stand on their own and stand to be apart for a few minutes, they  need to do one of two things: 1) get a room, apparently you're not ready to be out in public yet or 2) get a rope to tie you together so you don't have to worry about being apart. But make room for others on the bus, especially during bad weather and rush hour.

Make-up rush-hour style
I'm not exactly a morning person, but I do put on my make-up with scientist-like focus. I've seen the results when I don't and it's not all.

One woman on my morning commute puts her entire "face" on the bus, regardless of bumps, short stops, the whole lot. And of course, rather than reading the paper, I cannot help but stare and watch her reactions during a sudden stop, especially when applying liquid eyeliner.

A different woman this morning had her little compact mirror out and was stretching her eye to apply liner when all of a sudden a guy bumped her arm and she started snipping at him. The guy dismissed her, but I couldn't help but laugh. I understand the value of 10 extra minutes of sleep, but when you choose to get ready on the bus, you have to be prepared for anything. There is no way I could do that so I'm always entertained by who can do their make-up routine successfully in those conditions. Round of applauds for you!

Monday, April 14, 2008

The When Harry Met Sally Debate

The RedEye addressed this recently and figured that I should cover it here because it's definitely applicable to my life.

Can men and women just be friends? Yes...sort of. 

One of my best friends is a guy. And being a single girl with a single guy friend is not always easy but it can work.

My guy in question is not really a friend or a boyfriend. It's more like a "heterosexual life partner" or "life partner" as he calls it. It's like dating the guy without the boyfriend benefits. 

Now I won't lie here, I did at one time have a mini crush, or thought I did, on this guy. But when I met him about 2.5 years ago, we worked together. And after a bad past work/dating experience, I wasn't going to go there again. I would rather have him as my friend than nothing, especially if the dating thing didn't work out. I've ruined past male friendships because I thought I was in love with them and when it turns out they weren't in love with me or I didn't actually love them back, it just got messy.

But it's hard to be "just friends" when you're out with couple friends or even just boy/girl-crazy single friends. I've been called his "work wife" and that we're an "old married couple," especially when we accidentally order the same thing on the menu and then say, "want to split it instead?"

He's my "plus one" to friend's parties and me being his guest to a Christmas party caused quite a stir. When my dad came in for a visit, my partner met up with us to try and get Wicked tickets. And this is the first guy, friend or otherwise, that my dad didn't hate, which both of us immediately picked up an uncomfortable way.

I've not had a physical thought about this guy, which is why it's so comfortable to be around him. He's seen me cry, go out without make-up on and even came over to watch a movie with me when I was so sick that I could barely move.

He's great and a great friend, but he's not perfect. He's let me down at times and made me so mad I could scream. He, like me, is actively trying to date, but he's exhibited twinges of jealousy when I had a guy interested in me, much like I do when he's circling around a girl. When he asked me once (while drunk) what I thought about a girl he was checking out, my only response was, "if you're into dating a girl with a horse face, she's great."

I'm not proud of this statement, but I said it and I stand by it. It just came out in the wrong way.

But somehow this works. Not that I don't hope for more from another guy, one that I can be close to just like my partner but have the boyfriend benefits ;) 

So I guess there is no real answer to the question, but I think honestly that guys and girls can just be friends. Romantic feelings at some point in the friendship are probably inevitable, but rather than act on them, you figure out a way to get past it and not have it ruin the friendship. Boundaries and communication are key. 

If this guy were to ask me out on a real date, I don't know what I would say. But fortunately I don't have to worry about it. And as much as I love him like a buddy and a brother, I try not to let it keep me from any other cute guy that walks into my life. Again, boundaries are key.

Sooooooo any thoughts from you all?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Meet my Macbaby!

To celebrate my 100th blog post, it's time to introduce everyone to the newest member of my Chicago Macbaby.

I'm pleased to introduce you all to Lulu...born officially on April 5, 2008 in Milwaukee weighing 5 pounds. The first time I looked at her, I did know what to say. She looked back at me and I knew right away that she was all mine. Even the little Apple book that came with her said that we were "made for each other." *Tear!*

After some initial trouble, primarily with merging my Windows iTunes songs onto the Mac, Lulu and I spent a lot of quality time together yesterday during the rain and I think we learned two things. 1) I'm in charge and 2) despite the bumpy beginning, we're going to get along just fine. I'm amazed at how fast she runs, how bright the screen is and how cute she looks from far away.

As a former PC-only user, there are still a few adjustments that I need to get around, primarily not being able to right-click on the touch pad, but I know Lulu and I will work through this as we spend more time together.

I even picked up a copy of the Apple Store workshop schedule so that I can take Lulu for her first day of school and make sure the other Mac kids are nice to her. I think next weekend we'll be checking out the iLife or Photography workshop, but I have to stop by the Genius Bar because my arrow keeps stalling or disappearing on the screen but again, Lulu and I will beat this. It's part of the "getting-to-know-you" process.

So below are some more picture of my baby's first big weekend in my apartment. Now it's time to go get her some cute accessories, primarily Bose speakers and/or some nice treats from the Apple Store. We'll see what she takes a shine to. Welcome to the family Lulu.

Images from top: Lulu in her baby blanket, breakfast, bath time and going out with mama.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Pet Peeve: Shopping at Victoria's Secret (I hate it)

I hate Victoria's Secret - primarily because of the people I always run into when I'm there.

I'm talking about the tweens and teens swarming the PINK section with their moms, clamoring for the latest piece of cheaply-made cotton capri sweats and short-shorts that say PINK across the butt (it's not Juicy kids).

This unpleasant shopping trip was brought on my one of my favorite pieces of mail, the free Victoria's Secret underwear coupon. I always look forward to getting these - a little freebie - until I walk into the store. Let's forget the store's tacky interior, reminiscent of Frederick's of Hollywood, complete with pink neon lights and the word "sexy" used as an adjective for everything. When did the store become somewhat...tacky?

My real problem with the store is the how little they seem to stock my size anymore. Apparently a size large is considered "plus size" there because it's available in few colors and styles, usually with the word "high leg" or "boy" in front of it. Maybe if I crack my pelvis and remove part of the bone, I'll be able to get into a size medium or small, which is much more attractive to their demographic.

So tonight I dug around like an animal on the floor of a rack, looking for my size in anything that wasn't repulsive. When I finally went to the cashier, a swarm of the PINK girls were monopolizing the register, giggling and talking about how "hot" the bikini one girl chose is. But the style was just so unflattering for her figure. I get it, I hope when I put things on I'll look like Giselle too, but it's just not meant to happen. And I'm trying not to go for the smoldering sausage look.

So fortunately I've stocked up for now and I likely won't be back in there until another free underwear coupon comes in the mail. I know, if I don't like it, I shouldn't shop there, but honestly, they have what I need so I try to get in and out as soon as possible.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Hot new word: Fetch meet Totes

So there is a hot new word in my cubicle land: totes.

Fetch meet totes. And what does totes mean? Honestly, I had zero idea when it was introduced into my vernacular but it's a word I sadly overuse a lot in my daily conversation: totally.

Totes = totally

Let's practice using it in a sentence.

Old way: Let's totally go to the movies this weekend. I would like to see Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

New way: Let's totes go to the movies this weekend. I would like to see Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

This might seem odd, but I am guilty of overusing a handful of the same words. It's the nature of what I do, the overused words that you put in your writing and conversations. A girl in the office and I even joked (sadly) about how to have a conversation without the marketing-speak. We tried to but fell into hitting key messages without thinking!

So below is a list of words/acronyms that I use way to much on a daily basis:
  • FYI
  • BTW
  • Regarding
  • Best
  • f/u
  • like
  • um (which suddenly I've noticed everyone uses)
  • it's like....
  • you know?

So, um, like, do you guys have any words that you overuse, like I do, you know?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Who's a pretty princess?

My friend Katherine sent me this link today, prefacing it by saying, "you have to check this out...this will help eat time out of your day."

Right now, that's not really a problem at work, having too much free time, but I selected the link and smiled- it's a "build your dream wedding dress" interactive Web site! And because weddings are a big part of my family life right now, I figured I would stop looking and drooling at Tiffany and play "paper dolls" online...with wedding dresses.

I highly recommend the ladies check this out. It's fun and actually does kill time! I was mesmerized for about 15 minutes just on the skirt! Plus, the opportunity to build your dream dress in 3 steps, that's easy enough or me!

So below are two pictures of dresses that I created, complete with veil and "trimmings." Not that the reality will live up to this image, if we get there, but it's fun to play with. The Web site is pretty smart though, you cannot do a screen shot of the Web site with the dress or copy the image, so I took out the digital camera and had to get creative. Enjoy two options below, I'll let you debate and guess which one is the "dream" dress.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The two worst words to start a conversation

For me it's, "brace yourself." That always gets me. Brace myself? For what?

While I was still at work tonight, my friend sent me an IM with those words and immediately I froze. This is the same friend I recently wrote about for making a poor decision by getting back together with her ex-fiance.

Before she asked me those two words, I was tempted to ask her about this guy and how they ended up together again, but "brace yourself" was much more compelling. I was expecting any of the following: pregnancy, marriage, engagement or break-up. While I was hoping for the last one, it turned out that number one was right - pregnancy.

After yelling (out loud) "oh my god!" she proceeded to tell me that she was not only pregnant but recently suffered a miscarriage. Fortunately, she is fine (thank goodness) and she will be able to have kids still but it definitely gave her a scare. When I asked if this changed anything, like did it put anything into perspective, she said that it did - that she was ready to settle down with this guy again and have a real family. Not exactly the answer I was hoping for. I was hoping for more of "I deserve better! I want to do something more with my life!"

But as I've recently realized, I love my friends enough to want them not to make these horrible mistakes but in the end, I can't stop them. And if this is what she's realized from this situation, then maybe it's the best thing for now. Who knows, maybe it'll work out and maybe I'm wrong - although I doubt it ;)

So next time I hear "brace myself," I will do so and hope for the best.

Geez and I thought that the news that Project Runway was moving to Lifetime for it's fifth season in November was big! Nothing says fashion like a little movie-of-the-week.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Monday Tidbits

So today was not the best day. I had the same woman that I was speaking with on the phone yell at me twice, once almost so bad that I teared up. Awful. I hope she gets a plantar's wart for that unnecessary action. And then the traffic lights on the Belmont LSD exit going North were out, which lead to much lawlessness and traffic getting home.

While the Haribo Frogs comfort me before I go back to work for a bit tonight, I did have two fun things to share.

Saturday Night Live "Annuale" drug ad

On this week's Saturday Night Live show, it featured an faux ad for a women's birth control pill, Annuale, which helps women only have their period once a year, which means you're pretty much doped up on hormones for 11 months. Whoa.

Anyhow, here is a link to Tara Parker Pope's weekly Times column which has a link to the video at the bottom of the page. It's hilarious - just wait until they talk about what happens when you go off the hormones.

Does Matt Lauer work at CVS?

While walking by the CVS on Michigan and Lake, I happen to see the below picture, which puzzled me greatly. It appears as though Matt Lauer worked at CVS in his past life.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Shower and weekend recap (the good and the bad)

Thank goodness - I'm back in Chicago!

Well today was the highly anticipated shower and let's just say, I was pleasantly surprised but exhausted from being on-the-go all weekend.

Below is a recap of the weekends highlights and lowlights (some are not that low, but there weren't enough for an in between category):

High points:
  • Day off on Friday!
  • Driving - I love it and I miss it
  • Haribo Gummi Frogs and Milka - you know it's really from Germany when you can't read the packaging
  • Seeing my new computer - my baby!
  • Getting a purdy new case for my baby
  • Coach at Bayshore fixing the mix-ups in my order from Mayfair (also see lowlights)
  • Free movie and dinner with dad and stepmom (Saw 21 - not bad but rentable)
  • Cheesecake at the shower - it was awesome (see picture below)
  • Amtrak finding my "cancelled" ticket from Easter (also see lowlights)
  • Being told that I turned out "gorgeous" several times from an old family friend - thank you!
  • Cab available right away at Union Station
  • Seeing my apartment after a long Sunday
Low points:
  • Cab #1 charging me the wrong amount (too much) on my credit card
  • Coach at Mayfair screwing up my order - no I did not request those sunglasses actually
  • Cab #2 getting confused between lower and regular Wacker Drive
  • My new computer rejecting my iPod and iTunes songs - why are you so cruel?
  • Cab #2 nearly killing a pedestrian on Belmont and Sheridan
  • Realizing I probably should have contributed $20-25 to the shower - maybe I was too rigid
  • Finding out my unused Amtrak ticket from Easter was cancelled when it wasn't picked up because I was stranded in Atlanta
  • Logging my food - Diet? What diet?
  • Checking work e-mail - 141 e-mails - wha?
So now that we've covered that - let's get to the main event! The wedding shower!

First off, I wasn't sure what to expect today at the shower and overall things went well. Phew! Of course getting out to the VFW required the Garmin and my brother was literally not kidding when he said I'd know I was there when I saw the "tank" in front. I don't really "hang" at a VFW too much so when he said "tank," I wasn't sure what he meant until I saw it (see picture below), a literal Army tank just in front of the VFW's parking lot. I believe, "oh my god," was my response upon exiting the car.

The weekend regulars at the VFW bar were very nice, but the smell of deep smoke still was stuck in the bar, lovely. The spread of food was impressive, big props to my future sister-in-law's mom for organizing. While the "hot ham" was nothing to write home about and I opted to pass by the fruit salad "fluff," all of the traditional Wisconsin side dishes were quite good. I'm always a fan of a veggie platter, French Onion dip (OMG good), taco dip, and lovely pasta salad with tortellini, asparagus, carrots and Italian dressing - although it would have been good with a light olive oil as well.

And I have never seen this many gifts at one time before. We had two tables and most of the stage's floor covered and gift opening lasted 2.5 hours. In the end, only the bridal party and parents were left - the guests couldn't take it! Everyone was well-behaved (grandma included) and I was informed that the guy I'm walking down the aisle with is kind of a "pain" so they put me with him to straighten him out. Oh yeah honey, you misbehave and you'll meet the back of my hand! Since marriage is likely not in my future, I want to enjoy the few times I will walk down the aisle - for someone else's wedding.

So now I'm catching up on DVR and television before crashing and preparing for another full, long week of work. *Insert dramatic sigh*

Friday, April 4, 2008

More pre-shower shenanigans

So I am back in Wisconsin, mentally preparing for Sunday's shower carnage (that almost rhymed).

And too keep the pre-shower drama going, I met up with my brother to purchase the gift I will be giving him and his fiancee on Sunday. This might sound odd, but considering he is a guy and won't be there for the shower, I wanted him to at least feel like he would be getting something he would a backwards way.

So we arrive at Target, the Mecca, but in actuality, finding things on their list that are: a) still available b) within my $50 price range (including wrapping supplies) and c) able to be semi-easily wrapped, proved to be a bit more difficult than I thought.

First the Mr. Clean floor brush was too large and awkward to wrap (although Andy mentioned he would be okay with me arriving with it wrapped in a garbage bag and bow - something I'm sure his fiancee would not find amusing), then we could not find the one item I was interested in because its row - B45 - didn't seem to exist. Odd.

Then, I notice on the registry that they asked for two sets of nice wood hangers, retailing at $3.99 each. But it seems that whomever did purchase this registry item, decided to only purchase one of the two sets they asked for. I'm sorry but doesn't that seem kind You can shell out $3.99 for one but can't dig up another $3.99 to complete the set? So I decided to fix this problem  by completing the set for them, primarily because it was bothering me. In the end, I my total was $47 (thank you Wisconsin sales tax!) and Andy said thank you, but not before calling me "cheap," which made me remind him that he didn't need to get a gift at all. Ungrateful!

He was also kind enough to share that his fiancee asked him to ask me (rather than asking me directly because I'm his sister) that rather than spending $50 on the shower gift, I should only spend $25 and contribute $25 to the shower. When he said he was serious (I thought it was a joke) I said no, which he was fine with, but was dutifully told to at least ask. WTF? Why is this still an issue? I refuse to pay for the shower because of etiquette and her sister's e-mail and to be asked to cut back on a gift that would benefit both of them so that she gets funding for her shower is pretty ballsy. And my answer: I don't think so. I want to get them something that my brother will also be able to enjoy. If this comes up again tomorrow...I don't want to think what my verbal response will be.

Lord. Now tomorrow is off to help stuff invitations (for exactly one hour on my end) and apparently the bride is already worried because nearly a year ago I commented (while slightly drunk) that one of her friends, who is now a fellow bridesmaid, is a pain in the ass (which she is). So now I have to be on my best behavior around her tomorrow so I don't give the bride an ulcer. Kill me now.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Top Chef recap

Week 5: Sadly not that overall interesting

So we learned last week that Eric's tendency to put crap (not literally) on his plate was enough to actually send him home. Good call. Neck tattoos are scary.

So let's have some fun and ogle the men - yes Ryan I'm talking about you.

Quickfire Challenge: Demonstrate techniques (you mean outside of just cutting your food?)
Daniel Boulud is the guest judge and Padma said if we don't know who he is, that we should leave the kitchen. No problem!

Nikki is apparently going golfing at Diversey with her plaid hat. Manuel magically isn't Latin anymore and Spike is gong to the beach with a straw K-Fed fedora this week, bitchin! Dale's avocado sashimi on a bucket full of ice was pretty bad ass, and probably costs $40 at Japonais. Meanwhile Richard is crushing on his old boss, Daniel, and his hair is taking on a Conan-like height and coif. Bad ass. So Dale wins and breaks out the velour "Juicy" man-track suit to talk to the camera. And it's zipped up to the neck - hooooooot. Too bad Andrew is bitchy about Dale joining their team. No one puts Andrew in a corner.

Elimination Challenge: Meals inspired by movies
Ryan has seen two movies in three years - that slides him down the hotness scale a bit. Richard Roeper is hosting the party for his bestie - Aisha Tyler. What has she done that's noteworthy? Outside of Friends and Nip/Tuck? Moving on.

Then Ryan selects Dumb and Dumber as his favorite movie - sliding again down the hotness scale, but then he is playing charades describing the Christmas Story and we're moving back up on the scale a bit. At Whole Foods (woo! Lakeview!) Mark is talking about Christmas Story as though he's grown up watching it and I realized two things: a) he doesn't know what he is talking about at all and b) I don't think he celebrates Christmas like the rest of us.

So during the actual dinner the judges were being a bit bitchier than normal, causing even Richard Roeper to defend the competition and somehow Aisha is an expert at cuisine - too bad I was more interested where she got her sparkly top. And the new thought that's nagging me is Lisa's eyebrow ring. Isn't that considered unsanitary in a kitchen? What if that fell out?

K-Fed is bitching again about the white chocolate and wasabi sauce and it's obnoxious as always (snore). Go knock someone up, its works for the real-K-Fed, maybe it will for you.

In the end, Manuel is sent home and I was kind of shocked. Spike lead that dish and lead them astray, why is he here? Man, that guy does have K-Fed's luck.

Next week Tom is in a pissy mood and Dale unloads on the girls, bustin' it out gansta style and there's nearly a spilled Michelob in the back room.

Finally - is there anyone else who finds Elizabeth Berkeley hosting a "dancing" show ironic? What is she going to teach them, how to not get pole-burn on your breasts while swinging around on it?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

More bad wedding etiquette

It's officially wedding season and as you have seen from my recent and February posts, there is plenty of poor wedding etiquette abound!

And today, that poor etiquette touched my brother's wedding, which I will be standing up in during Memorial Day. And I have to admit, I have quite a bee in my bonnet about the e-mail I received today.

Sunday is the wedding shower (for a whopping 90 people) and leading up to this, my brother and his fiancee told me that her mother or sisters (who are throwing the shower) would be contacting me to talk about it. Why? I had no idea. My name was not on the shower invite and the bridesmaids are not even the hosts. So according to my friends Anne and Margaret, the latter of whom has memorized the Emily Post etiquette book, the only thing I need to know about the shower is when and where it is. I am not financially responsible at all.

So imagine my surprise today when I get an e-mail - a mass e-mail - from one of the bride's sisters reminding me and the other bridesmaids about the shower this weekend (thanks - trust me, I didn't forget).

But then we get to the good stuff, "My mom also wanted me to contact everyone about input for the shower. She will gladly bring everything but was hoping that we could all help pay for it. She was asking for possible $20-$25 per person. If that's not possible just give her a call at [phone number removed] and she'll work something out."

What the hell? I was stunned. And it takes a lot to stun me to the extent that I was. I promptly got on the IM to my brother and proceeded to tell him what I received and why I was having an internal rage wave about this. No shock, he didn't seem that surprised, and understood where I was coming from. This girl takes the cowardly way out by mass e-mailing all of us to peddle for cash? At least the homeless people ask for it nicely on the street (most of the time). I've been told for a month that her mom or sister will call to personally talk to me about this and now four days before the shower she is e-mailing us to tell us this.

I'm also offended by this because it's another mass e-mail, has no one learned anything from my previous posts? It's all just tacky and in poor taste.

So no I am not financially contributing to these shenanigan's. And if I get another mass e-mail about this, I might explode.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Why Katie Holmes looks like a soccer mom

So yesterday's post on Heidi being a "feminist hero," according to the New York Times, seemed to touch a bit of a nerve. And in honor of that and the great feedback I received, let's press on that nerve a bit more.

Today I was cruising Us Weekly's site again and was stunned to see that Katie Holmes has cut her hair...again...shorter. I didn't think there was anything left to cut. The online picture isn't the best, but I was surprised that it could actually be Katie because she looked like a "too skinny" guy...with great cheekbones and no Adam's apple.

And the first thought that went through my head was, "she looks like the Saturday Night Live parody of 'Mom Jeans,'" where they claim "I'm not a woman anymore, I'm a mom!" In fact, Katie is looking more like the Tina Fey character in that parody. And let's be honest, Katie's not much more than a famous wife and a mom anyhow.

All that money and more bad decisions. When you have your own personal styling team, why wouldn't you want long, gorgeous hair? You don't have to worry about drying or curling it on a daily basis, that's such a load off your back! If you want, you could even shop online via Blackberry while they work on your hair. It's like being at the salon every day!

Now you might think that I'm just poking at her because I'm jealous. Well yes, I'm jealous that she used to have insanely beautiful hair, seven days a week and looked flawless all the time. But since crazy Tom Cruise came into town, the odd interview behavior - "magical," "blessed," and "lucky" - and the new wave of fabulous bags, clothes and shoes that she now sports makes me say, "meh." I love purses and if I'm not jealous of the massive red Hermes Birkin bag she carries then something must be wrong. Seriously, look at the size of that thing. You could carry part of a studio apartment in there.

Fortunately, I don't know how much shorter she can go, unless she pulls a Britney and goes bald! Now that would be worth writing about again.