Saturday, May 31, 2008

My Sex and the City Saturday

***Note: this post does not contain spoilers***

So I did it, I went and saw Sex and the City today - even though it is an insanely gorgeous day in Chicago today. Ripe with tourists.

Let's get to the good stuff first, then I'll explain about my overall moviegoing experience on this one - it's a gem.

My thoughts on the movie
As a pretty big fan of the TV show, I was overall happy with the movie. It was great to see the characters again and of course, because I love fashion, I was half there to ogle the clothes too. The clothes, especially the handbags, were insane, just as I hoped they would be. I found myself near biting my hand - particularly at a few Louis Vuitton and Chanel bags - because they were so pretty.

I'm glad I saw the movie, but I won't lie - part of me was expecting something a bit more. While the fashion and "labels" were great, it seemed like it indulged a bit to much in product placement. Example, the Sprint phones and shopping bags proudly displaying Versace, Louis Vuitton and and Chanel. Hey I love labels but don't drown me in it. They never did to that extent on the show so it was more of a distraction in the movie. But, as always, I love the friendship between the women. I hope my close friends would do many of the same things that they do for each other for me.

I won't see the movie again until DVD but overall it's a solid choice. Oh an you don't need to be a long-time fan of the show to jump in the movie - although it probably wouldn't hurt.

My moviegoing experience
This was actually the most fun part of the last two days. So because of my poor planning, all of last night's showings in Chicago were sold out - like a week ago. Crazy! I was forced, literally, to see it today, even though I'm sure a few women would have scalped tickets.

I go over to the AMC around 5:30 to get my Saturday tickets and I was shocked by the sheer number of women camped out for their evening shows. At 5:40 p.m. there was a line of 40-50 women waiting for the 7 p.m. show! Women running up the escalator to meet friends or get in line, squealing and giggling and hugging when they finally got in line. There was a lot of estrogen and sheer hormone power in that lobby last night. I can only imagine what the inside of the theater experience was like.

People watching
I love this part of living in the city because no matter what, there is always something new that you see.

I think it's really cool that people were dressing up to go to the movie theater because, when does that happen anymore? But, I think some people were confused about how to embody the SATC show when going to see it. 

For example, while leaving the theater last night, a woman was stumbling in the street because of her insanely bedazzled shoes with the plastic heel. Not exactly Manolo's but okay. The kicker had to be the polyester/rayon-blend one-shoulder dress that was Saran Wrapped to her body. Again, not Chanel but okay. The best part of the entire package wasn't even the holey Old Navy sweater jacket she wore over this ensemble, but rather it was the "colorful" conversation she was having with someone on the phone. I'll save the details but the words, "c*cksucker," and "motherf*cker" were used several times. Classy. Definitely a Samantha.

Then today, a row of women were there together, celebrating the movie, which is great. It wasn't until about halfway through the movie, following a lot of "oh no he didn't," and "you go girls" that I hear glass clinking. GLASS. These women smuggled in champagne and real glasses to the movie! OMG! Then when one got really excited during the movie, we heard one of those glasses break. Oops. Everyone from that row promptly left the theater at the credits.

So that's my SATC Saturday, what did everyone else think? I'm sure the blogosphere is exploding about this so I'm curious to hear other people's thoughts.

Now it's time for a nice smoothie from Bobtail and a little more sun on my pasty skin. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I hate my closet

This post might be PMS- or exhaustion-driven, but right now I'm hating my closet and everything inside of it. My closet and I are so fighting right now. I hate it's face (figuratively).

I have no logical reason to hate my closet. There is nice stuff in there - some of it with the tags still on - and I have a lot of stuff in there too, which I can't help because I'm a girl. But it seems that as each season changes, I feel like I have nothing to wear. This is all psychosomatic though because I have oodles of things to wear, I just don't want to wear them.

I want to go shopping for new, fun, springy stuff, even though the clothes I bought last year (when I was feeling the same way I am now) are just fine. And yes, I will wear them, but with the constant weather changes right now in Chicago, I don't know what to wear on a daily basis because it's 40 degrees in the morning and then a cool 60 degrees by the time I leave the gym. And the worst part is, I haven't even seen cute things that I would want to add to my closet this year!

For example, as a curvy girl with a full chest, the flouncy, baby-doll tops that are everywhere right now don't work for me. I look 4 months pregnant and my chest looks bigger than normal. Not flattering, primarily because I'm not pregnant and I don't want people asking me if I got implants. And I'm still disappointed that my summertime wardrobe essential from Old Navy sucks in quality this year.

So this weekend, in addition to seeing Sex And The City (YAY!!!), I will venture out and see if maybe a new top or two will suffice this need to have new things. And now that I'm back to hitting the gym 3-4 times a week, the beached whale feeling from overeating at the wedding this weekend will help mentally too. Oh to have a rock to lay on in the sun right now...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Breaking news: I'm going to BlogHer!

Danielle made my day/week/month today and told me that I'm going to BlogHer '08 this year in San Francisco! I heard rumors about this from a spy in the office but today it became official and I am so excited that I'm running around giving people random hugs. Look out Rebecca.

Now it's not going to be strictly parties and mingling, I'm there in an official capacity, but I am looking forward to meeting other bloggers and finding more blogs to add to my Reader. I've even put the word out to my buddy Sarah, who lives in Oakland - actually the "Lincoln Park of Oakland" - in the hopes we can meet up for dinner one night. I've shared my recent Sarah-experience, but this time it'll be much tamer.

So it's time to get some sun on my pasty skin and get ready to have fun, work hard and try not to geek out too much at the conference. Between the wedding going well and this, my week is off to a great start! So I proudly display the below button in honor of my news!

Let me know if you're heading to BlogHer and you can swing by to say hi. I love meeting bloggers in person.

I'm Going to BlogHer 08

I'm also catching up on my Memorial Day DVR shows, which includes HBO's movie, Recount, about the 2000 presidential election. In 2000, I was studying in Germany, finding out with the other program students that Florida was too close to call and the US didn't have a president for nearly a month. We watched CNN (the only English television channel) daily, trying to piece together what was going on and how this could have happened. 

If you have HBO, I highly recommend checking it out. It's definitely an interesting retelling of what happened and for some of us, seeing what we missed while partying at discos and being irresponsible.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Meet me as a bridesmaid

As just about everyone knows, I was home in Wisconsin this weekend for my brothers wedding, in which I would make my bridesmaid debut and which is why I haven't posted anything since Thursday - it was a full weekend wedding bonanza!

Anyhow, it's Monday now, the wedding is over, my hair still has glitter in it (as does my clothes), I'm exhausted and I have decided not to log my food from the weekend because...well it would be too painful.

So let's jump in, I have plenty of pictures to share and I have to say, while the wedding was exhausting and the weekend was almost like being in college again, I'm glad I was a bridesmaid and that I was there to see my baby brother get married. It's definitely a different experience than watching friends get married and it's something I won't forget.

Rehearsal Dinner
Before the wedding, of course, we had the rehearsal at the church. I met my groomsmen, Tim, who my brother and I went to high school with, and who I found is a bit of a character. I wasn't sure if he was a perv or "special" - turns out it's a little of both - but he was a gentleman to me (until the reception).

After the church, we headed over to a local sports bar for the rehearsal dinner where we toasted the happy couple, I got my bridesmaid gift and received the most generous wine pour that I've ever had. Fortunately, I kept myself in control, as I'm still a little gunshy after my unfortunate Nordstrom's event a few weeks ago. *shudder*

Because hair started at 8 or 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, the bridesmaids shared a hotel room (at the hotel hosting the reception), which was like living in the dorm again - in a fun way. We were all up late talking and laughing, with our dresses hanging from any possible hook or cupboard we could find. 

The big day - the glam squad
So after the third day of little sleep, everyone was up and ready on the day of the wedding. Hair started promptly at 8:30 a.m. and while two girls were being worked on, others were going through the rounds of hair/make-up. At one point, we had 13 people in the hotel suite - and yes it was cramped, but in a good way (if that makes any sense).

I opted to go with a "Jenna Bush wedding" look for my hair, but with a few more curls. I wear my hair straight on a daily basis (out of laziness) so if I was paying for my hair to be done, curl it and spray it within an inch of it's life! The hairdresser working on me sprayed my hair (and the other bridesmaids) with glitter hairspray. It added a great shine to the hair but got ALL over my clothes and body. Liz even sprayed my chest to match the other bridesmaids - that is a true friend. Here is my hair's final product, front and back. And with Liz's expert guidance, it turned out great.

Then it was time to get in the dress (which still fit - thank god!) and head to the church. I have to admit, when I had that dress on, combined with the gorgeous hair and somehow perfectly applied make-up, I felt absolutely beautiful. That's not to sound vain, but throughout the day, everyone kept telling me how beautiful I looked and for the first time, I would reply, "I do," or "I know!" I was even sad to wash the curls out this morning and remove the bobby pins last night. Not everyone knows I suffer from crippling self-esteem issues so for me to feel that way, embody it and have people recognize it, I felt like I was the prettiest bridesmaid ever.

Also, because the wedding was themed after the Wisconsin Badgers (my brother, sister-in-law and our family are huge fans), it's only appropriate that the flowers follow that trend too.

Going to the chapel
We had to wait a bit once we got into the church so that guests could arrive and be fully seated. While we were waiting, I got to see my brother before the wedding and was nearly hit by the rambunctious ring bearer with a dodgeball. Fortunately though, I wasn't hit, or that ball would have been thrown back at him. 

When we all lined up to walk and meet our groomsmen, my knees were totally shaking and I was sweating like crazy. Tim did a great job walking me down the aisle and when I looked up and saw Andy at the alter, I wanted to cry. My baby brother, who I've had a love/hate relationship with since he was born, was getting married. How did we get to this point?

Here are some pictures from the ceremony - unfortunately Liz wasn't able to get me coming down the aisle so I'll post an "official" photograph of that later. But the last shot is of me/Andy after the wedding. I think we look pretty darn good.

Party time!
So now that the wedding is over, we took photos outside (in the great sunshine and 70-degree weather - finally!) and got on the party bus back to the hotel, where champagne was flowing and the AC was on as well. We pre-partied before the cocktail hour - which lead to me getting horribly drunk on champagne and lead to me inhaling food during the cocktail hour so that I was sober for the wedding party procession. Fortunately, I rallied and was sober for the wedding party line-up, where we screamed so loud that a small child started crying out of fear. We get crazy in Wisconsin.

Before the wedding, we kept hearing that the bride had a surprise for my brother, but only two people knew what it was. Personally I thought it was news that I would be an auntie, but I was even more thrilled to find out with everyone else that my sister-in-law arranged for Bucky Badger (the Wisconsin mascot) to make an appearance at the reception and take pictures with guests. Bucky f*cking Badger was there, how awesome is that? Pretty awesome and appropriate if you have a Badger-themed wedding. Here are pictures of the wedding party and me with Bucky - f*ck 'em Bucky!

The other big treat of the night (other than my brother and sister-in-law dancing to "Soulja Boy" before their first song) had to be the father of the bride dancing (with the groomsmen and bride) to the Napoleon Dynamite dance. He loves that movie and in full costume and DVD
 guidance, the entire party joined in on the fun. It was so great. 

The day after
We got back into Chicago today and to amazing weather. I managed to wash out all the product and most of the glitter from my hair. Now I'm catching up on e-mail and Podcasts before I inevitably crash for work tomorrow. So my dress is hanging in my closet, where I'm sure I'll wear it again soon to water plants or dishes. That would be lovely. Want more pictures, e-mail me and let me know, there are some gems I didn't have time to post.

Quote of the weekend
"That's why you're going to die alone....if a man can't share his beef jerky, he can't share anything."  -- Said by yours truly (after four glasses of champagne)

Also, I just want to say a big thanks to my friend Liz, who accompanied me this weekend. She was a true sport the entire time, holding my bag/wrap when I needed it, helping with anything big/small that needed to be done and being a true sport around me and my crazy family. She took just about all the pictures in this post and did a great job.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Movies! Action! Chicago!

This is another reason why I love Chicago in the summer - movie magic! Being a movie buff myself, I can't help but stare as they film movies and TV shows around the city, peeking at the make-up trailers and getting giddy when you see the cameras being set up. It's awesome.

So on this movie-themed post, we'll start with Tyler, my cube-neighbor Laura's boyfriend, who is an up-and-coming actor I can now say I met "back in the day." He came to the office today for a visit while he's in town in the ridiculously cold Midwest and I was more than anxious to meet him. Laura keeps me posted on his acting auditions and gigs, one of which recently included an episode of NCIS. I tease her that if he gets a role on The Office that I'm pretending to be her to go visit the set...but I'm actually not kidding.

Unfortunately, Tyler didn't bring a headshot for me (which I might later sell on eBay when he's in Cannes as a superstar) but I slipped him my card so hopefully it's in the mail once he's back (wink wink.)

So check out the NCIS episode About Face, which I had to link to because sucks and won't let me embed it. FYI there's an ad in the beginning so don't jump away too quickly.

Tyler is in the opening scene and he's the guy in the elevator who is super cocky and doesn't talk first in the scene, he's the "other guy." In real life, he's cute, charming, got a great laugh and he smells awesome. Those are all good things in a boy. My cube-neighbor Laura's got a good one. And seriously, he smells really good. Really good.

As I mentioned before, a movie is being filmed in the city again, and today the trailers were lined up on lower Wacker and along the river. I think it's the Johnny Depp movie, because that's the only one still in the city now, according to the Film Office at least.

But yeah, movie magic in Chicago. Since I've lived here I have been able to see the filming of the Break-Up with Vince Vaughn on the river, Flags of Our Fathers at the Drake (they made it rain on one block!) and Fred Claus again with Vince Vaughn on Michigan Avenue. That one was the coolest because I was on a bus going by as they were preparing to film and he was right there. 

Being a film buff and watching them be filmed is awesome thing I never get tired of. It's another plus of living in the super-cool city, almost makes up for the exorbitant food and gas prices here. Not really.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Cupcakey goodness and take my stuff - please!

Before we get into the good stuff, below is a picture of an amazing cupcake that I snagged at work today. I think it was for someone's....promotion? Anyhow, it was from the Southport Grocery and O-M-G it was good. Girls huddled around trying to get one and I fortunately grabbed the last one - and I did it without pushing anyone to get at it. I did the honorable thing and offered to share it with the girls who didn't get one...but I think they could tell I wasn't serious. I wasn't so I'm glad they saw through that.

Moving on, as a girl, I accumulate a lot of stuff. My love for shopping and accessories knows no bounds, which has led me to buy and hold on to many things that I don't wear on a regular basis.

So now that it's "spring," it's time to clean out the closet and drawers, but rather than donate again to Goodwill or Brown Elephant, I'm skipping the tax write-off and am looking to trade my things...for other things!

Last week, Erin told me about her idea for a blogger accessory swap that she was hosting. Interested bloggers post the stuff they want to swap on their site and people can check it out and trade. 

Now, without further ado, below is the stuff I'm looking to swap. Whether you're participating in the swap or not, feel free to let me know if you are interested in trading for any of the below items. More pictures of individual items can also be available if you're interested. 

Top picture (L-R): Black Hawaiian shell necklace with lace tie, brown/pink beaded necklace (long), J.Crew thin headbands (both unworn)

Bottom picture: Target Xhilaration ballet flats in bronze, size 10

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Netflix Conspiracy

I love Netflix. Now that I get movies mailed to me, I don't want to go into a traditional Blockbuster or Hollywood Video again. Why? Because that means I have to leave the house, put some effort into how I look on the non-going out weekend nights and live with the possibility that the movie store might not have my movie. I don't like those 50/50 odds.

I'm not saying Netflix doesn't have some faults, but overall, it's a solid deal. Recently though, my brother and I have started noticing that Netflix might have a mind of it's own and dare I say it, there might be a Netflix Conspiracy. Mulder and Scully might not come to investigate, but it's out there.

I order my Netflix queue in the following way: upcoming new releases (so I'm at the top of the list when they're available), and then all other movies in order of how I would prefer to view them. Pretty simple. Well lately, I've noticed that Netflix has been picking movies out of order from my queue. If the movie Cloverfield is available and next on my list, Netflix feels like grabbing The 11th Hour from my queue instead, which is also available but is listed a few films down from the first available movie. What's up with the Cloverfield-hating? Yes it's scary but it's still a good movie!

I've also noticed that in addition to picking movies out of order, that Netflix is picking movies in the same genre, regardless of where they are in the queue. Recently, my Netflix queue has taken to enjoying independent films and documentaries. I appreciate them thinking that this is what I like, but really, just go in the order that they're in the queue. There's that way for a reason. Or if Netflix has moved to a "Tivo" format of selecting things it thinks that I would like, just give me a heads up or the option to say no.

I don't know if anyone else is having this trouble, but between the printer elf and this, just give me what I want! Maybe it's time to move to On Demand on my TV.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Beauty hurts - duh

I admit it, I'm a sissy when it comes to beauty. I'm slightly vain and I can't handle the pain that beauty sometimes entails. And no I didn't mean for that to rhyme.

I bring this up because Friday I went to Spa Nordstrom's to get an eyebrow touch up before the wedding this weekend and my Eyebrow Girl (which is what I'll refer to her as) told me I was a sissy when it comes to waxing. And sadly, she is right. Actually I'm kind of a sissy about anything beauty and pain-related.

Now in my defense, I have very sensitive skin so my skin hates the wax more than normal. When I left my appointment on Friday and met up with my friend Ryan, the first words out of his mouth were, "dude what happened to your face?" Touching. And Eyebrow Girl made this comment after tearing a particularly large piece of wax off the skin just below the eyebrow, so that is already sensitive. And I've mentioned before how bad I am at simple beauty rituals like plucking my eyebrows so waxing seems to be my only option to keep them under control. It's an abusive relationship.

But moving along, the recent waxing incident reminded me of the simple phrase that my stepmom reiterated to me when a hot cocktail dress was cutting off circulation in my chest, "beauty hurts." As a girl, I can absolutely say, yes it does.

I've suffered for beauty, especially when you live in the city where everyone is beautiful, beautifully dressed and put together. You find yourself obsessing about mani/pedi's, getting a wax touch up and making sure you don't leave the house without some kind of make up on. And now I am a follower. I've done the highlights fed through the shower cap with the crochet hook (yes it's painful), waxed, had plantar's warts removed with needles before sandal season and worn shoes that look hot while walking to the printer but hurt for about 20 minutes after.

I declare my sissiness for beauty pain proudly. Friends who wax more than me, tease me about this because I sound like such a "newbie" and say, "well if your feet hurt, wear the comfortable shoes!" They are right and this pain is brought solely upon myself but it's nice to be all made up sometimes and have that newly "cleaned up" feeling. So I just bring the aloe lotion for my eyebrows, slap on some Band-Aids for the feet and take a deep breath to get into the dress, all in my fabulously highlighted hair.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Shaking my money-maker and feeding the economy

This weekend my friend Sarah and her boyfriend Thom were in town for a visit, and where Sarah and Thom are, good times follow. Usually it's drunken, 4 a.m. trouble with at least someone crying by the end of the night, or being threatened to be arrested. Good times!

Before our inevitable late night, the Team Hamster girls (Sarah, Liz and me) met at Yolk on Roosevelt for brunch, which was awesome. Of course, I had not eaten before brunch so I might have actually inhaled the pancakes and bagel I ordered. Because I'm cooking-challenged, I can't seem to make pancakes in my own kitchen, so paying someone else to do it is just as good. 

Now with a horribly full stomach, it was off to Michigan Avenue to start supporting the economy with our stimulus checks (thanks Mr. Bush!) Sarah is the devil at getting me to spend money, so now two pairs of Tory Burch shoes are being shipped to my parents house and I had to cut myself off before purchasing more at Banana Republic. So much for getting practical things with my stimulus check. I do still have some money left over so I can guy things like towels and wash baskets. Phew.

The main event to our Hurricane Sarah/Thom weekend culminated at the Globe Pub last night. The Globe is a Chicago dive bar and my original memories of it were...divey. I'm a preppy person so to no surprise, dive bars aren't really my scene. When we first started going there, the Globe had a disgusting bathroom, stale smoke smell and it was all-around dirty. I always wanted to Wet-Nap my chair. But now that our local smoking ban is in full effect, it's actually not that bad! 

The bar now has a dance floor for the Saturday-night DJ and by the time we met up with Sarah and friends at the bar, she was more than hammered and dancing like she was in Footloose. This includes grinding on of the short poles around the dance area, which gave me a flashback to last Saturday night's activities.

But the DJ's homage to 90s hip hop/rap made my shoulders shake and ignited the need for dancing. I don't go out dancing regularly so when I'm ready to dance, clear the floor! So after about two Stella's, I was up on that dance floor with the rest of the gang, shaking my money-maker like it was hot. Actually I looked like I was having trouble keeping my balance and/or was having a seizure, but I pulled out my best white-girl moves for my friends. The sprinkler, running man and shopping cart all came out. I even had some unknown guy shake his butt at me during Baby Got Back, so I managed to give him a friendly spanking, since that seems to be what he was looking for.  It was a fun night. And my dancing shoes are all warmed up for next weekend when we rock the reception, Wisconsin-style.

Update: Tipp reminded me of something that I forgot to mention. About 11 p.m. the DJ put on Thriller from Michael Jackson and people rushed the dance floor to do the thriller moves. You know what ones I'm talking about. You could definitely tell who was alive and remembered that video circa 1983.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Office finale: The good, bad and JAM

Blogs were a-flutter with feedback on the Office finale last night. Personally, I was too excited to blog about it right away because I had to watch it a few times to really get the full effect.

So below are my thoughts. Many of the blogs I read today agreed on these points so hopefully it's not too repetitious.

Note: Spoilers are below. If you haven't seen the finale, check out Hulu or NBC and then come back and finish reading. You've been warned.

Goodbye, Toby
OMFG what a great show. Solid writing and performances by everyone, even smaller characters like Phyllis and Kevin. I was beyond nervous going into it because I'm such a JAM fan and Jim-lover and there were a bunch of high-points and some low-points so let's get it going.

High points:
-- Two words: Cold open. Hilarious. Jim/Dwight were insanely funny and Pam joining in? Just as good as the past pranks they pulled in season 2.
-- Amy Ryan. I liked her in "Gone Baby Gone" and I loved her here. Sweet, funny and having a crush on Michael? Solid stuff. I really hope she is back next season because she was perfect. And the scenes with Kevin were classic.
-- Kevin. Dwight telling Holly that Kevin is mentally challenged and then Kevin pretty much living up to that statement made me cry laughing (literally). That wasn't the most PC storyline but hilarious nonetheless. Definitely a highlight.
-- The final scene. Oh. My. God. After seeing last week's show, it wasn't totally unexpected, but still, what a way to end. But to quote Rebecca, the sight of Dwight's pale back is burned in my head for now.
-- Kelly's interview after Ryan's YouTube appearance. "I'm gonna wear my hottest track suit and get my hair done." You go girl. I'll join you.
-- Jim "manning up" finally. Way to grow a pair and stand up to Ryan. His line of "congratulations on doing your job," was way below the belt. It was great to see signs of the "old" Jim, standing up for himself.

Low points:
-- Jim's hair. I know guys don't like to be changed, but good lord Pam needs to get him a haircut. Trim that down to the length in the premiere and he's super hot again. Meow.
-- Jan pregnant. This isn't exactly a "low point" but I'm curious more about the Holly/Michael dynamic (hello she spoke Yoda with him) so Jan is off my radar a bit. But I can come around on this.
-- Anti-climactic JAM ending (see more below).

My personal favorite...JAM
I can't lie - I was disappointed there was no proposal :( But they're still together and happy so that's better than nothing. And now the build up to the proposal next season (which there better be one) is going to be more worthwhile.

My "swoon-worthy" moment of the night was Jim's talk with Michael about courting at the office, recounting his history with Pam there. I was surprised that he forgot about the drunken Dundie kiss but I can get past that. The look on his face when he realized he was proposing was awesome and the excited/nervous look on hers when she figured it out was great too. Love them! Of course we all know that didn't exactly go as planned, but the moments leading up it made me sit forward on the couch. And the bittersweet look on her face after the proposal didn't happen made me sad. Not Casino Night sad but sad. Poor thing.

So Pam is off to New York for three months and I love that Jim assured her that it won't affect what they have. That is true love.

So? Any other thoughts on the episode? Check out OfficeTally for deleted scenes. They're really good so far.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Cable bill-hating

I love television. No, really love it. DVR has changed my life (and increased the amount of TV I watch) but because I love television so much, it's always the one thing I splurge the most on and pay the most for (minus my purse addiction). Some people love cooking or sports, I love television and anything television-related. I dream about installing a surround-sound system. That I will outsource for sure.

But it's because of my love of television that my monthly cable bill and the overall cost for cable services really gets a bee in my bonnet. Personally, I think it's highway robbery and the real "fleecing" of America. I live in Chicago, we have winter, I can't go out in -20 degree weather, television is my only salvation!

I bring this up because today I called RCN (local Chicago cable supplier) about trying to rebundle my services to lower my bill. I like my service (overall), but I can't handle paying $110+ a month for cable and Internet. Mentally, it's the number sticker-shock that kills me. So I was hoping RCN would see what a great customer I am and help me out here to lower my bill by $20-30.

Nope. After 20 minutes on the phone (multi-tasking and editing some work documents), the best Bucko (who I will refer to my customer service rep as) says is, "sorry, we can't do anything for you." As an customer-service-savvy person, I refuse to accept that. So I ask Bucko what deals they do have going right now to see if I can take advantage of something at least to ease the pain on my wallet.

Here is a snippet of our conversation:

Bucko: "Well I could give you a month of free HBO"

Me: "That's great, but I'm really interested in deals that will reduce my bill, I really have enough television to watch already"

Bucko: "Oh well, I could give you HBO so that you feel better about your bill."

Trust me Bucko, if only that would actually help.

In the end, my bill went down by $15 for six months. I guess it could be worse, but come June 15, I'm calling again about cable deals. I refuse to back down!

Now it's time to geek out and watch the Office finale in HD. HD is another great thing about television I can't get enough of.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I am a tech-savvy goddess

Not really, but I sure like that title.

Many of you might not find this particularly interesting, but I am giving myself a massive pat-on-the-back. In last night's post, I mentioned I was trying to figure out my Apple Airport Express wireless device and at 8:30 p.m. last night...I did!!

And I figured it out all by myself...and some help from the Apple Support page, but I did not run to my dad or stepbrother asking them to do it for me nor did I get so frustrated that I nearly heaved the device against the wall.

I am a single, self-sufficient woman, but sometimes I still run to dad at time to make things "go away." But this, this I did all on my own! It's a nice little feeling that I can handle just about anything you throw at me. So tonight, I'm blogging this post wirelessly in my apartment and it's beyond exciting. Maybe I'll blog from bed tomorrow...because I can!

Now Danielle tells me I need to get Apple TV. Let's take this one step at a time.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Tidbit Monday: A Potpourri post - make up, more stripping and rock bands

My mind is kind of scattered today as I continue working to establish a wireless network with my Apple Airport Express at home. It's supposed to be easy to connect, but it's apparently not easy enough for me because I can't get it to work. Grr!

Anyhow, enjoy today's random sampling.

Make-up Brushes - Help!
Apparently my eyebrows are like a rain forest, as I have managed to break my fourth Sephora make-up brush since December. How? I have no idea. For $5, I wasn't expecting greatness, but somehow breaking four in less than six months seems a little crazy. No, I'm not brushing my eyebrows aggressively, but for some reason the top of the brush keeps snapping off like a twig. And those little bristles scatter like leaves, making them horrible to find and pick up.

I cannot bring myself to go back to Sephora and buy another one (mostly because I know it won't last) so if you all have recommendations of good, affordable eyebrow brushes and shapers, I would appreciate it. My eyebrows would too.

Meet my rock band
Because of my awful, tone-deaf voice, I will not be joining a band in the foreseeable future. But I was playing around online the other day and found a fun Web site that will let me generate my own band name based on my real name.

The Grammy for Best New Artist is definitely not in my future, but in my head, I can play Guitar Hero and Rock Band now with a purpose. So I proudly introduce to you all my band.....

Your Band Name is:
The Plastic Housewives

I think that's pretty appropriate. Let's rock!

Strip club follow-up
Sadly no pictures are available just yet, but Meg did ask for the story behind the "I don't want to burn you" comment so I have provided it below.

At the strip club (which gave us a front-row seat near a pole- score!), one of the other bachelorettes there was insanely drunk and smoking like a chimney. When "Hot Joe" (the best stripper) came over to her to make some money, he proceeded to straddle her and pull her on top of him.

Because of her level of intoxication, the cigarette went with the woman onto the stripper and she screamed out "I don't want to burn you" (with the cigarette) while he removed $1 bills from her cleavage and bra strap.

That was nice of her to try and save the stripper from a cigarette burn on his perfectly-toned pectoral. But I doubt that would have been the first time something like that happened.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

My first trip to the local strip club

You heard me, Saturday night I lost my strip club virginity. I was back in Wisconsin for a bachelorette party and we visited the Airport Lounge's male revue - rockin' the airport from 9:30 p.m. to midnight every Saturday.

Unfortunately, because of my cringe-inducing Thursday-night events, I was not drinking (but did have two sips of a shot before my stomach started kicking me around again) so I have a very clear memory of the night's events. And at the end of the night, my friends KMo and Sarah were also right, I had to wash every single article of clothing immediately.  My hair still smells like strip club too.

We were treated to four dancers at the strip club, Giovanni, Hot Joe, some unnamed guy in a peach G-string and Andy-something (I wasn't listening to closely apparently to his name) and the dancers definitely got better as the night went on. The bachelorette party I was with voted "Hot Joe" as the best of the bunch and of course, with half of the group intoxicated and with pocket-fuls of $1 bills, there were many random, yet humorous quotes that came from the night. The other four bachelorette parties that were in the crowd helped contribute to this list too.

I've listed a few below for you all to enjoy. I'll let you imagine the context for each:
  • "Oh my"
  • "I don't want to burn you"
  • "That's not sanitary"
  • "Bring out the bucket"
  • "OMG there's a tassel"
  • "He's limber"
In addition to taking pictures and stuffing $1 bills down the bride's shirt for the strippers to remove, someone managed to stuff a $1 bill in my shirt, which I could not remove before the stripper in the peach G-string and pierced nipples, came over and helped me donate a few more dollars to his "bucket" for the night. Yes, he was sweaty and sadly it was only mildly hot.

I can't really describe some of the images I saw last night, some made me definitely blush and say, "whoa look at that." I might have looked like a first-timer, but I could still holler, clap and wave bills like the rest of the ladies. At the end of the night, some ladies, who were definitely overserved, got up and started swinging on the poles themselves while the guys worked the crowd. I won't lie, I was very tempted to go up and do a swing-around myself, but after watching one girl lick part of the pole, I decided not to. Next time.

I don't know if I'll be attending the Airport Lounge again but I'm glad I can cross "go to a strip club" off my "to do" list. There is a rumor that someone took a picture of me donating to my stripper's "bucket" but I'll have to confirm before deciding if it should be posted.

Also, I'm fitted for my bridesmaid dress and I won't lie, I have never felt that thin in a dress or that kind of princess-y pretty in a while.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Karma punched me in the face - multiple times

So as some of you know, last night my parents came in to town for an overnight and the three of us, plus my friends Anne and Liz, were going to my favorite bi-annual shopping event. The Nordstrom's Customer Appreciation Night. I had been looking forward to this for weeks and even selected a "special," super-cute outfit for the event. I had my gift cards, my list of what I wanted to buy, and I was ready for fun, toasting the evening with the girls and a glass of wine.

And then things started to go downhill from there. What started with "hey we're getting kind of tipsy and munching on some great food," turned into me getting punched in the face by karma and suddenly becoming sloppy drunk and apparently with food poisoning. The latter I didn't figure out until later on, like this morning when I was praying I would just die. Actually I'm still feeling like that, and with a car trip today back to Wisconsin, let's just say there was a lot of mental hoping that it would be over with soon.

I don't remember buying my new Yurman or Juicy velour dress. Yes I know everyone has the that dress but I'm behind on those things, plus I kept hoping to get it on sale and missing it altogether. I even missed our post shopping ritual, dinner at Joe's. I don't think you want to know why. My friend had to call my dad and say that I had "food poisoning," which he didn't believe, and that they had to put me in a cab stat.

Plus, because I fell asleep with my eye make up on (but contacts out!) I woke up this morning with a horribly bloodshot left eye that was watering like a fountain. That has fortunately cleared up but it was not enjoyable at all. No contacts for me this weekend.

So now that you're groaning and/or laughing at my bad choices, what have I learned from this? Well I will not be drinking in excess anytime too soon and I'm not in college anymore so "double fisting" Pinot Grigio isn't hot in your late-20s.

This might be gross, but I'm wondering, do I count the calories you consumed but then "saw again" later?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

I swear there is a printer elf that steals from me

I work in a large office at a large office building downtown. I'm fortunate that I have a printer, bathroom, kitchen, copier and fax machine all within close proximity to my desk, just in case I need to get to one of them in a short amount of time. This is moreso needed for the printer and fax machine, but you know what I mean.

Even though this printer is close to me, I still have to share it with with all the men and women sitting in my cube-area. And recently, I've noticed that if I send something to this printer and don't go to get it right away, that it's magically gone. How is that possible? I even asked one of the women that sits near me if she accidentally grabbed my printouts when she picked up her paperwork. She claims she didn't and I guess I believe her, but where did my two-page memo go?

So now the only way I can rationalize this mystery is to imagine a little elf that hides behind the printer and pencil sharpener and pops out when he knows I've sent something to print but that I am not there to pick it up right away. The little elf, who hums a working song, jumps out, climbs up the printer and picks through the waiting papers for my stuff. He then cackles, climbs down the printer with it and goes into hiding. I don't know what he uses my paperwork for, but he has a fondness for my work apparently.

Now I wait by that printer for my stuff to go, and listen for the sweet hum of it warming up when I send a file there.

Stop stealing from me elf!! Pick on someone else for a change!!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Things I recommend: Quitting your job (if you hate it)

For the record, I have not quit my job. Things are actually going pretty well there right now so no complaints here. I'm actually writing this post to give a friend of mine a boost. She's unhappy in her job right now so I want to give her a preview of the euphoric joy she'll be feeling soon enough when she's outta there.

I've only been "fired" from a job once, and even then they told me the news, it was more of them "letting me go" because it was clear both parties were not happy. When they first said, "today is your last day," I thought I was going to faint. I am a planner, I always have a Plan B. They broke up with me before I could meet someone better and end it with them. So I had a good cry, was escorted out by security and drove home (still crying) to an empty house and a full liquor bar.

Before I joined my current job, I had a lot of internships and short-term positions and my last one was awful, almost rivaling the one that I was fired from. I'm not a huge crier but I would cry every day at my old job. It got so bad that my parents would come down to check on me in Chicago to make sure I was still doing things, like showering and going outside because I was so depressed. To quote myself on New Year's Eve of that year, I told my closest friends that if I was still at that job the same time the next year, they had permission to slit my throat with a broken bottle. That part I'm not exaggerating. You can ask them.

When you hate your job, like really hate it, you hate everything. Every weekday is a curse and you lie in bed thinking of reasons why you should go in and not call in sick. I've known a few people who have cried themselves to sleep because they don't want to go to work. Making it through every hour and every day is a challenge and sometimes you wonder if you really will survive.

But fortunately, there is some relief - quitting. I don't recommend doing this unless you have another job to go to or if you house can handle one income for a little bit, so there is my disclaimer. When it does come time to talk to HR and your manager, the best phrase out of your mouth will be, "I'm here to give you my two weeks notice." It might be hard to actually say when the time comes but once you do, the weight begins to lift off your shoulders. The sun shines brighter and birds chirp lovingly for you. When I quit my old job, I went out for lunch and for the first time in almost four months, I smiled like I meant it.

People who know how unhappy you are, they congratulate you and take you out to get drunk and start spending the new raise in salary. And you feel like things will finally get better because they will.

Now you all might think that this is overdramatic and that I'm too "committed" to my job, making it my "life," and to some extent, you're right. But at the age that me and some of my friends are at, we're still putting in our time and having to tolerate things we normally wouldn't want to. The work/life balance bit isn't easy and I'm still trying to figure it out too. But fortunately the people I work with are good about it so I don't mind going above and beyond at times.

I don't plan on quitting my job anytime soon and hopefully they don't want to break up with me either but whenever someone asks me about their job troubles and when you know it's time to quit, I can only tell them my story and say, "you really know when enough is enough. You really can feel it in your heart."

Monday, May 5, 2008

Stop talking sh*t about girls who wear glasses

"Guys don't make passes at girls who wear glasses." Whoever said that deserves a slap across the face.

Now I can't say for sure this statement is true, even though during the many years I wore glasses on a daily basis, I did have a few guys tell me that to my face. 

I now wear glasses only at night and on Sundays, thanks to contacts, but that doesn't mean I didn't sympathize with poor Pam from the Office last week. I have "back up glasses" that I'm embarrassed to wear outside of my apartment too. And I'm blind enough without my glasses or contacts that I would have to put my nose to the paper to actually see my hand writing. And forget about operating any kind of machinery. 

No matter how self-conscious I was about my glasses, having someone remind me how unsightly I was in them kills the self-esteem a bit. And sadly, I didn't have a smokin' hot boyfriend like Jim who would still love me even when I had to wear them in public. So this week I'm putting Michael Scott from the Office "on notice" because telling Pam, who was obviously uncomfortable in her glasses, that she looks like an "ugly scientist," and has "given up" on finding love is almost as bad as a guy telling me that my glasses are the one thing keeping me from love. Guess what? I wear contacts now and I am still as clueless as I was before.

To see Pam in glasses check out the deleted scene on Stephanie's blog. It's actually pretty amusing. Maybe I'll have to start working without my glasses and contacts so I don't have to see unpleasant things either.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

My first blogger girls night out/in

Last night was my first official Chicago blog girls night out/in with the lovely Jenn, Katie and Angela. Sadly, Jamie couldn't join us - next time! 

We met up at Katie's insanely gorgeous apartment (with killer location), where we lounged in her living room (me firmly planted on the most comfortable couch ever) talking about family, friends, Chicago "freak sightings" and blogs (of course). The original plan was to watch several hours of Sex and the City, which was packaged in the most gorgeous pink suede case, but our own lives were entertaining enough. Frenemies, fashion and "boyfriends" - it's our own version of the show!

It was a ton of fun getting to know other 20-something bloggers in the city and picking their brains about blogging. I heard the most horrifying El stories, one of which included public urination and one that featured a rat, burrito and a pair of pants. That one was the most shocking and disgusting. I even had a chance to sample a lovely guava juice Vitamin Water and indulge in my love of Cool Ranch Doritos. *salivates* Jenn brought pomegranate martinis, which were very tasty, and all of us trekked outside (and were honked at by multiple cabs) to get pizza.

I even created an new "Jess-ism" by commenting that Katie's comfortable couch was firm yet it "gave back." Plus her building is protected by a doorman who looks just like Wolverine from X-Men. It doesn't get any safer than that!

After a good night of girl bonding, Angela and I headed to the bus stop, where a group of two women and a man were having a hard time standing on the bus. We couldn't decide if the women were a) drunk, b) tired or c) having trouble in their high heels. Personally, I'll take a little from each column. But after getting home at 2 a.m., I only slept a few hours again so I'll definitely be curled up under the blanket on my "couch of sin" tonight.

Next up - the north side cupcake crawl. Look out, here we come!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

My official blog disclaimer

I've been blogging now for nearly five months and recently, I've been thinking about taking this down, primarily because it appears as though my good-intentioned blog has greatly upset some people in my personal life.

For those readers who do know me personally, they know that this blog is not a full character representation. On here, I do come across as bitchy and biting and sometimes mean, but in reality, that is not the person I am at all. I like to think of myself as a good person, who is pretty multi-dimensional. Only one or two of these dimensions is shown on here. While I am bitchy and sarcastic, I'm also funny and sensitive (yes that's hard to believe sometimes.) I love my family and my friends and even if I poke fun at or pick on them here, that does not reflect how I feel about all of them as a whole and it is not meant to paint them in a negative light to everyone reading this.

I won't stop writing about things on here just because some people don't like them, but I am having to learn where to exercise tact in my posts. I do have a tendency of over exaggerating and going "too far" on things so at time, I have to take a step back too.

So for all my readers, lurkers, friends, family and co-workers, below is my official blog disclaimer: 

Anything mentioned on my blog, The Everyday Adventures of Me in the City, is purely my point of view and may not be the point of view of those reading this blog or who are mentioned within. If you have a concern or comment about what I write here, you are encouraged to comment in the relevant posts or e-mail me offline to discuss more. This blog is not a full representation of me as a person and is not ill-intentioned or directed harshly at any one person or group in particular.

So in light of this, I'll be retooling a few things that will be appearing on this blog over the next week. The blog will remain actively updated but watch for content changes in the coming weeks.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Who's the best big sister? I am!

Not to toot my own horn, but I have compiled a list below of why I am an awesome big sister:
  • I'm tolerant 

  • Our secrets that go in the "vault" stay there

  • I'm patient

  • I tell my brother the truth instead of telling him what he wants to hear

This morning, my brother had a big job interview and I could immediately tell that he was really nervous. 

So, like any good sister, I offered to help him practice his interview skills and take a look at his cover letter, which he had to submit before the interview. Oh boy am I glad I did. My first few cover letters when I was job hunting were awful. I had no idea what to say, how to make it "pop" or really what I was doing. I pretty much just wanted to call the prospective employer and say, "look, I'm awesome, hire me." But sadly that doesn't work, so instead, I whipped his into shape in only two drafts (with an example of mine as a guide) and I spent an hour on the phone with him last night doing practice interviews.

We practiced some of the questions we both thought the interviewer might ask and when my brother was stuck, I used all my PR and communication's skill to help. At the end of our role-playing situation, he said, "wow, thank goodness I'm not paying you to help me. You're really good at this" (I am.) I even got an "over the phone" high-five.

So he was all ready to go and I even got him to admit (with a bit of prompting) that I am the best big sister...for now. I'm sure I'll screw something up next week.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The next sign of summer in Chicago

Along with the tourists and "summer" homeless people, the next sign of spring downtown is summed up by three words: Save the Children.

Yes, the Save the Children reps are out in force in the Loop! They prefer to grab unsuspecting tourists and city-folk by Macy's and even on Michigan Avenue by the Wrigley Building. I tend to avoid them by refusing to make eye contact and pretending not to hear them over my iPod, which is turned up a bit louder when they approach. Usually, these methods are successful, but sometimes they catch me off-guard and I'm forced to have some fun with them.

Below is a slightly dramatic reenactment of a past run-in I had with Save the Children:

Save the Children: Excuse me miss do you have a minute?

Me: Actually I'm running late.

Save the Children: Are you interested in saving a child today?

Me: Really, I'm a not a big kid person so I don't think so, next time!

The guy gave me a horrified look and, granted, it probably wasn't the best response, but with all the noise and clutter on Michigan Avenue in summer, you have to find something amusing.

I bring this up because today because my friend KMo mentioned that she was "attacked" by Save the Children while exiting the El and when she commented that she was running late for work too, the rep actually said, "I think work will be okay if you're late because you're helping someone."

My response in that situation: "I work in communications, we care once our morning e-mails have been read and media monitoring is done, then we can talk." But KMo is a better person and said nothing, even though she found my response amusing...and true.

So watch out everyone when you're downtown. And if you do take the time to listen and save a child, I applaud you. You are a much better person than me.