Thursday, July 31, 2008

The purse evolution

Back in my tomboy years, I swore that I would never carry a purse. Why? Because I hated the idea of having to hold it all the time and I thought purses were pointless, especially when I could fit everything I needed in my cargo pants pockets. Yes, at that time I had no idea how much "weight" the puffy cargo pants pocket would add to my full legs.

But now, I not only can't live without purses, but also I've noticed that I've "crossed over" from small, clutch purses to the oversize bags. 

My what a change. Today the RedEye declared clutches the "it" bag of summer, telling us to put our oversized ones away for winter. Yeah, hi, I can't do that. Where would I put my camera and obnoxiously large cell phone? That won't fit in a tiny clutch! I could only get a few bills, an ID, maybe a condom (if I'm feeling extra skanky that night) and my keys in that small of a purse. No cell phone or camera? They can't stay at home!

As exhibited below, I used to only carry small handbags because I could get everything I needed at the time in them. This includes: wallet, cell phone, Chapstick, fingernail clipper and my keys.

But since I moved to Chicago, I've noticed a "bag evolution" from small, cutsey, clutch purses to mom-size, full-day bags, like the one below.

Suddenly I started needing to pack extra things, like gym shoes and clothes, cameras, business cards, pocket mirrors, make up and mini hair brushes, in a purse, all of which could not even remotely fit into the small cute bags I used to carry. And now because of going to the gym (to work on my pipes), I carry a large purse and a gym bag. WTF? Do bags multiply like bunnies?

Now when I'm on the prowl for a new bag to join the others on the shelf, I actually will not buy it if it cannot hold the new "essentials" that I carry, negating the optional shoes, magazines or even Lulu that might also be in that bag one day.

When we did our bloggy meet-up at Sheffields a few weeks ago, Rachel pulled the ultimate mom purse magic trick, a black bag that magically hid a HUGE camera, shoes and necessities. It was like a mini-clown car.

I've been told by my guy friends that this change is the equivalent of the evolution into "tucking in your shirt," but that is a post for another day. Ryan recently asked me how many purses I have, and my first response was, "designer or not?" It's a sickness. But I love them.

In fact, I've started laying out the big bags because the fam and I are headed to northern Wisconsin for a little break. And seriously, I need to take a few days to get my mojo back and work myself out of my current funk. So I will be hopefully posting while I'm gone as I dutifully support my dad on the golf course, so forgive me if I'm behind in my comments. I'll catch up soon, promise!

Has anyone else gone through this "change" as well?

Reader note: Wow you guys are so spoiling me with all these amazing comments about Newsweek and the Rage Girl post. Seriously I don't even know what to say! Rage Girl almost came out on the bus tonight in response to inattentive parenting and a screaming child but I kept her under wraps. And I will be sure to photograph my free Nordstroms Cafe lunch. I will be over-ordering and bringing Glad-ware so I can enjoy it well beyond the Cafe as well.

Monday, July 28, 2008

I'm a petite little ball of rage

I always wanted to be a superhero but unfortunately my alter ego isn't as cool as Batman or Supergirl. My alter ego's name is Rage Girl. It's like the female Hulk, but minus the green skin, bulging muscles and no top thing.

My alter ego used to come out only when I was horribly anal retentive and OCD in high school and college, but since I graduated and moved out on my own, she only comes out on certain occasions now, like during customer service incidents or working with vendors.

It may be hard to believe but I'm overall not an "angry" person. Funny and sarcastic, yes and yes, but angry, no. I just have a tendency to overreact sometimes and "make a mountain out of a mole hill." I get hormonal - deal with it.

Since my BlogHer-Girls Gone Touristy adventures last week, I've been a bit more tired than usual as I ease back into my routine. This has lead Rage Girl to come out more than normal in a given period of time.

Recent Rage Girl appearances --

Ask before taking

Last week on the plane back from San Francisco, I zonked out pretty much right away once we were in the air. Four days of little sleep and a two-hour time difference will do that to me. The woman next to me was flying from San Fran to Chicago to New York to Oslo, Norway (good lord what an awful flight) and was already obnoxious on the plane before we took off.

After a nice little nap, I suddenly woke up, in a panic (over nothing at the time) during the flight and noticed that the new Vanity Fair magazine I tucked away in my seat pouch was gone. Panicked, I started looking for it, unsure how it vanished, when the obnoxious woman turned to me and said...

"Oh was that magazine yours?"

"Yes, where is it?"

"I thought it was there for everyone so I took it" (she takes the magazine out of her backpack)

"Well yes it's mine, how about before you steal things you f*cking ask the person first?" (Rage Girl is now talking)

"I'm sorry, you were asleep"

"Yeah well do you see me dig through your stuff and assume it's for everyone? No I didn't think so" (I take the other magazine out of my pouch while saying this and stuff it in my bag again)

Summary: She probably thinks Americans are totally crazy.

Eyebrows gone bad

My love of Nordstroms is not hidden in my little blog. If I could make out with Nordstroms, I would. It's a beacon of joy and happiness in my life, where racks of purses and shoes make me smile and take all my cares away.

A few months ago I went to the Nordstroms Spa at a friend's suggestion for eyebrow waxing. I can't maintain my own eyebrows (I'm plucking deficient) so I met a woman named Amy at the Spa and now she's my "girl." Unfortunately, Nordstroms has an issue with my last name because they can never find me in the system as a client. Why? I have no idea. 

On Thursday, I called to make my post-San Fran appointment and spa attendant told me I was not in their computer system, which can't be true because I've gone there multiple times. 

When I challenged her on this, giving her multiple ways to search for me, last name, phone number, etc. she became defensive and told me that I was "wrong," which immediately brought out Rage Girl and I demanded to speak to a manager. When the attendant said no, she and I continued to argue and Rage Girl got very upset and started yelling (so embarrassing.)

The woman continued to tell me I'm wrong, which lead to me swearing and hanging up the phone in a huff. 

Summary: Now my happy place thinks I'm a raging, psychopathic b*tch.

Fortunately, I did speak with a manager, who was very apologetic about the situation and was able to resolve the situation. And now I get a free eyebrow wax and they threw in a coupon for a free meal at the Nordstroms Cafe and Coffee Bar for me too. I said thank you and apologized for Rage Girl's actions. I usually end up having to clean up her messes. This was almost as bad as the whole "belt incident" at Nordstroms too that Liz had to step in to regulate on.

So that's me, at time a petite little ball of rage. Maybe I'll develop another super human power, like flying or X-ray vision. Fingers crossed.

Anyone else have superhero powers or an alter ego?

Reader note: Thank you to everyone who commented yesterday on the Newsweek article about accepting money from your parents. I really enjoyed all of your comments and totally agree with you all. And welcome to all the new visitors that commented as well!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Suckling at the parental teet

Question: Am I less of an "adult" because my parents still offer me financial support on occasion even though I have a full-time job?

According to the July 28th issue of Newsweek, the answer might be yes. The "My Turn" column in this issue, titled "Subsidized in the City", is written by a young professional on the topic of adult men and women living in big cities like Boston, Chicago and New York, whose parents fund their lifestyles even though they have a salary job. As you can likely guess, the author is against this and comments frequently in the article on how parents providing these perks to their kids is causing them to avoid being a "full" adult.

There are multiple comments in the article that I agree/disagree with, such as:
  • "By continuing to provide for their twentysomething kids, parents hinder their children's ability to be financially responsible. If you don't learn to budget early on, what will inspire you to do so when your finances become your own prerogative?"

  • " is possible to live in any city regardless of your age or income, it just takes budgeting and prioritizing."

The article focuses primarily on men/women whose parents go above and beyond paying for things, such as half of their kids New York rent, all of their utilities or let their kids charge on the parents credit cards so they don't go into debt. I agree with her that this is excessive, much like the behavior from parents on shows like My Super Sweet 16, where the parents feed their kids materialism but then chide them for being materialistic. But I don't think you're less of an adult because your parents do help you on occasion with things like a cell phone bill or unexpected medical/dental expenses.

I live in Chicago, where I pay my own rent, utilities, food and shopping bills, even if I get a bit excessive in shopping one month. I don't run to my parents to "make it go away," but I have gone to them for help when I needed to put down a security deposit on an apartment or when I needed to have a root canal and crown done and my out-of-pocket costs were due right away. They were happy to help and put me on a "payment plan" to refund their money at no interest. I think it's okay to use the "Bank of M-O-M and D-A-D" for certain items as long as the parents have set up the guidelines with the kids of when they will be repaid.

Her second point about being able to live in any city regardless of age or income I don't 100 percent agree with. She comments about the "life" and "diversity" of a large city like New York, yet she feels you can survive and thrive in this environment by forking over 80 percent of your salary to rent and not being reliant on your parents. If you're putting out that kind of money for rent, I'm not sure what else you sacrifice to stay afloat in the city, eating or transportation? My guess, eating.

When I moved to Chicago as an intern, I made around $9/hour, which barely helped me afford a small studio apartment, transportation around the city and food. I lived on noodles and casseroles for six months until I found full-time employment and during that time I didn't do really any fun stuff around the city because I couldn't afford it and I wouldn't take money from my parents. I'm not saying my parents should have paid my rent, etc. but I don't see the harm in taking $20 from them here or there if it lets me go have fun and build a social network in my city.

That doesn't make me less of an independent adult to ask for help and it doesn't make my parents "enablers" by giving me money at times or offering to take me to Banana Republic to buy some new shirts for my job.

The author also comments, "Financial independence means social freedom and absolute control over my own life. Yet among my peers, I seem to be the only one who feels this way."

No honey you're not, so please don't group all of us twenty somethings in there with you. Maybe you just have catty, spoiled friends whose parents are inattentive and show their love only by giving them money.

Am I totally missing the mark on this? The article gave me quite a "bee in my bonnet."

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

San Francisco part two: Girls Gone Touristy

As the bookend to my BlogHer adventure, I've decided to show you the second part of my trip in pictures. BlogHer ended Sunday so my friend Sarah (who is also the first friend I made in Chicago) met me at the hotel and we were off!

Sadly we weren't "Girls Gone Wild" but we did cover a lot of the tourist attractions in the city in the two days we had together. Below is my montage for you all. Oh I have plenty more than this but it's just a sampling of our fun. I'm saving some for my "food love" post soon.

I also just wanted to clear up one thing, I did change my clothes while I was there, but because of the cold northern California weather, I only had one coat/scarf that could keep me "warm," which is why you'll see me in the same external outfit in every relevant picture.

San Fran's Bart map - easier than Chicago?


San Francisco (from the top of a painful hill!)

Me and a cable car

Fisherman's Wharf - Sea Lions!

Boudin Bakery - famous San Francisco sourdough

Local dungress crabs


Cupcake break from Kara's!
(raspberry buttercream frosting)

Lombard Street 

Palace of Fine Arts (boo construction)

Sarah and me at the De Young museum garden

Haight Ashbury

Coffee with Angela!

Heading the airport

Phew I'm pooped. And I decided to spare you pictures of being hit on my a woman at a bar and a man vomiting between the Bart cars while heading to Oakland. No I wouldn't actually take pictures of that but you know what I mean.

San Fran was an awesome time and a perfect break from Chicago, but like Dorothy said..."there's no place like home."

Fortunately, my friend Sarah is coming back to Chicago in two weeks so it's time to get the band back together again. Woo hoo!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

San Francisco part one: BlogHer '08

After three crazy days, a run-in with hotel security, a cheeseburger party, damaging photos, many late nights and one early morning, BlogHer ’08 is officially closed for this year. And now it’s 1:15 a.m. San Fran time and I’m blogging because I can’t seem to fall asleep yet. That will be painful tomorrow. Anyhow, my time in San Fran for the conference has been amazing. Truly eye-opening and just an overall a great experience.

It's true that I haven’t been “warm,” except for my time around a microwave and heat lamp, since I arrived on Thursday, but I would come to this conference again in a heartbeat. But next time, I’ll bring warmer clothes as opposed to the “cute cool” clothing, which I currently have. Yeah cotton jackets and layered T-shirts = not a good idea. I should have listened to my friend Sarah's advice a bit closer.

I don’t want to bore you with all the details of the conference but I did want touch on some of the highlights from this part of my San Fran visit.

BlogHer ’08 Highlights:
  • Cab trip to the hotel

  • My interview with the New York Times

  • Bloggy meet ups

  • Parties

  • Presents
Cab Ride:

So on our way to the hotel from the San Fran airport, we got our first real indication that we weren’t in Chicago anymore. Cabs here proudly state that they take credit cards. That is awesome. In Chicago, I have to fight with a cab driver to take my credit card but here, they not only state that they’ll take it, but display the credit cards they accept. I love San Fran!

So during our bumpy ride into the city, our cab driver suddenly pulls over along the side of the road (not in front of our hotel) and a man, who was waiting on the sidewalk we pulled in front of, approaches the car, and slips something to the cab driver in exchange for money. My car-mates, Danielle and Teresa, and I didn’t quite know what to say and then suddenly we’re back in traffic heading to the hotel. It wasn’t until we were checked in and Teresa and I met up later that I said, “hey was our cab driver doing a ‘drug deal’ on the ride to the hotel today?” Now I can’t say for sure that’s what happened but it was O-D-D.

Me & the NYT:

Yep that’s right, I was interviewed by a Style-section reporter for the New York Times. On Friday, the first day of BlogHer, I was really excited to attend the Twenty-Something meet-up session. I met a ton of nice people in my first few days here but I was really looking forward to this meet up to find people in my age range. After the meet-up, the reporter approached me and introduced herself and said she wanted to ask me a few questions. The Times is doing a story on BlogHer and she interviewed me for part of the article. Now I’m not expecting to see my name in the paper (even though it would be awesome) but as a NYT Style-section fanatic, that would definitely be a treat. So fingers crossed and I’ll keep you guys posted when the article runs.

Bloggy meet ups!

Obviously there are a lot of bloggers at BlogHer, specifically women bloggers (shocker I know.) As I mentioned above though, everyone I’ve met here has been really cool. And my bloggy business cards (picture still coming) from Angie were a huge hit. People have commented how “cute” and "clever" they are, to which of course I say “thank you." I’ve collected a ton of cards from mom and 20-something bloggers and overall, I found that people were really interested in finding out what people were blogging about, how long they’ve been blogging and what kind of topics they write about on their blogs. I will be working on adding some of the new blogs to my Reader next week and checking them out as soon as possible. And I met someone Saturday night who already reads my blog, which was a huge treat. I felt insanely flattered.

Part of my Chicago blosse and my new blosse addition: Vanessa

One of the most interesting things I overheard in a break-out session was, "I work in porn, but I don't use my real name. I mean I want to be a teacher one day." Awesome, just awesome.

Famous blogger "run-in:" At the BlogHer Community Keynote speech on Friday night, a co-worker I was sitting with casually leaned over and whispered at me:

"Do you know who is sitting at the table next to us?


"Dooce, she's sitting like in your seat at the table next to us."

"Really? No way." (Turns out my co-worker was right, so to share this news, I texted a few friends about my fortune, followed by me repeatedly staring at Dooce without trying to look like a crazy stalker.)


The time change has been hard over the last few days, but that hasn’t stopped me from partying like a little rock star! Thursday night we went to the Newbie party at the hotel, where I got to see my Chicago blogger buddies and meet a Katelin and Vanessa in person! The bar at the Newbie Party was also very generous – Teresa’s cranberry and vodka was about 80/20 in mix, with the 80 being vodka. Meow!

The hotel was also hosting a People’s Party, which we got to a bit late and thus lost out on the goodie bags. They were really cute too, which made it all the more disappointing that I didn’t get one.

But Sprout was doing a drawing for a gift bag, full of yoga mats, SIGG bottles and kid-friendly toys. And let me say, I entered the drawing only because I know I wouldn’t win. I never win stuff like this but I always throw my card in anyhow. So you can imagine the SHOCK on my face when the woman doing the drawing pulls out a business card and says, “Everyday Adventures of Me in the City? You’re the winner!” I seriously burst out laughing and “woo-ing” very loudly (because of a glass or three of wine). So I grabbed my HUGE bag of stuff and filtered through it in the hallway answering “no I’m not a mom but my friend is!” to people’s questions about my prize. Now, I have plenty of gifts for my beloved Ada, Sarah and some for me too.

Then Saturday night, TNT hosted a BlogHer party and I was particularly excited because, as you all know, I just listed The Closer on my list of “things I love” right now. Gina Ravera (Det. Irene Daniels) from the show was there and I was literally trying not to geek out in front of her.

I had my picture taken with her too, but I need to track it down from the photographer so it’s coming! I’m not letting that slip by. And some of my 20-something peeps at the party and I closed that night club, Ruby Skye, down…at 9:30 p.m. It was a ton of fun, and proves again that Chardonnay for me is very effective in helping me to loosen up.

Below is a picture of the cocktail napkins at our Macy's party last night. I thought this napkin was the most genius idea ever. By day 2 of the conference, a lot of bloggers had run out of business cards so this was a proper substitute to hand out to people. Our Chicago/LA/Texas bloggy group thought it was awesome. I hope someone grabbed a stack before we left the party.

Christmas morning-like joy

OMG I have so much stuff, I’m so glad I brought a big suitcase to take back to Chicago. Below is a picture to show you a sampling of the stuff I got here at the conference. I will definitely be keeping some of it and donating it to my friend Sarah, who is hosting me Sunday-Tuesday at her apartment, and giving some to Yoda Amanda’s daughter Ada. I’m getting Karma on my side by paying it forward here.

So in a nutshell that’s my time at BlogHer. I could go on and on about this for days, but rather than ramble about it, I’ll just say this on top of my highlights. Going to BlogHer was definitely an experience. It was overwhelming at times, but totally worth it. I got to go to some great sessions and meet some really cool people. It wasn’t all play (I was there for work) but the opportunity to go was amazing and I really hope I can go next year too. And I have more pictures to collect so there are more antics caputerd on film that are not represented here.

So what's next? Well while co-workers and blog buddies are flying back to Chicago today, I'm opting to stay behind on the West Coast and get some "R&R" with my buddy Sarah, who lives in San Fran now but is in the process of moving back to Chicago in August.

I’ll be back in a day or two with the second part of my San Francisco adventure: the chronicles of Jess and Sarah. And our adventures are starting with the Dark Knight in IMAX and will likely end with someone being drunk dialed as we sing/scream Journey into the phone. Beware.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The List: What I love/hate right now

Things are pretty busy at work and getting ready for BlogHer so I'm keeping it short tonight.

I've already listed things that I'm grateful for so now I'm going to share with you all some things that I'm loving and hating right now that aren't maybe as profound.

I'm loving....
  • Mario Badescu Azulene Calming Mask - My skin is super sensitive and I have rosacea and honestly this stuff calms the extra redness on my skin. Just don't laugh while wearing it, your face is pulled tighter than a sheet.

  • Old Navy fold over skirt - Yes the fabric is non-natural but it's great to wear in summer and it doesn't care if you're having a "fat" or "skinny" day.
  • Reef Sandy flip flops - I have these in about 5 colors and I wear them all the time. I even have them in black now so I can "wear" them to work.
  • Ice cream/fro yo - Now that it's warm out, I crave this all the time. Our go-to place in our building just raised prices though so I'll be paying for my treat, so I'll have to space it out more.
  • Bloggy business cards - The beautiful Ang made some for me for BlogHer and they are AWESOME! I'll post a picture of them soon, they are adorable!
  • The Closer on TNT - my parents got me watching this show and I love it. It's only on in summer so it's on my "must watch" section of the DVR.
  • Babies! - Yes I will be an awful mother but I sure love getting my baby fix, thanks to Yoda Amanda and the beautiful Ada. I got to visit both of them this weekend and I got lots of great pictures of the lovely Ada Q. I just need to get around to turning the flash off my camera so I don't hypnotize her with the flash light. I seriously have 10 photos of her with the same look on her face - see below.

I'm hating...

  • Sunburn - I've gotten two minor ones this summer already. I need to be better about applying the SPF all over and not just on my face.

  • Humidity - Very unflattering on the hair. Plus I hate sweating already before I get to work. Ick.

  • The possible actor's strike - I love television, please do not keep me from enjoying my favorite shows (primarily the Office) this fall.

  • Birds - I have a flock of them that hang out in the mornings near my bedroom window and the chirping is driving me crazy!!!!! They do it every weekday and even on the damn weekends! Come on!

  • Cleaning - Erin has a great idea of doing the cleaning in 15-minute intervals during the day with a set goal of what to clean each day. I am planning on adopting this method in my own apartment but for now, I hate cleaning, especially the bathroom and kitchen.

So that's what I'm loving/hating right now. Anyone have items to add to the list?

Note to my lovely readers: Thursday I leave for San Fran and I'll try to blog as much as possible from BlogHer so you can all see the awesome pictures and read the updates from this Everyday Adventures girl/woman. My Reader right now is pretty out of control and I'll try to post as many comments as I can before I leave and definitely when I return. So please keep comments and I'll return the favor ASAP. I have not forgotten!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Civic duty calls

Here is a snippet from a phone call I had with my dad earlier this week:

Dad: You got some mail here today
Me: Oh yeah? Is it a check or a bill? I prefer a check 
Dad: Neither, but you have been picked for something
Me: Really? What's that?
Dad: Jury duty
Me: Shut up, no I wasn't, really?
Dad: Yep, I'm mailing the summons to you today. I would have called the courthouse myself to tell them you can't serve but I'm afraid they'll look me up and ask me to serve instead and I don't want that
Me: Thanks dad *grumble grumble* Sure send the alleged summons

So yesterday the letter from dad arrived in the mail and sadly this is what was in there....

An official jury summons for Wisconsin. It's been about 5 years since I was last called for jury duty and apparently when I renewed my WI driver's license last summer, I was moved up in the line. Well at least that's what I think happened. Crap.

Tomorrow I will have to call the local courthouse to see if they can give me an extension or release me from serving, considering I don't live in Wisconsin anymore or pay taxes there, but I still hold a Wisconsin driver's license and just this year declared myself an Illinois resident.

When I shared this unhappy news, someone told me to go get an Illinois driver's license, but I don't want to give up my Wisconsin one. I know it's dumb and honestly I have no good reason to keep it, but I don't want an Illinois license. The vain part of me says that because I don't want a new driver's license photo. Look at my current one, I look really cute and my last two driver's license pictures looked AWFUL. I can't let this go, I'm adorable!

Fingers crossed the Wisconsin court house is lenient with me. Otherwise I'll have to figure out how to handle this little mess then.

Damn you civic duty.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

28 going on 16 - the car fight continues

When I go home to Wisconsin to visit my family, I've noticed that the Amtrak train magically puts me in a time warp once I board at Union Station and I exit the train as a 16-year-old again. This is not always a bad thing, but there are a few teenage memories I would prefer not to relive.

The major issue I have when I go home is: the car. I don't have one in Chicago because a) I don't need it and b) right now I couldn't afford it between gas and parking so I happily walk, bus or El just about everywhere I go. I rarely ever take cabs and when I do, it's a treat. This is why I look forward to going home because I get to DRIVE. I love driving, singing to the radio, driving on the freeway, parking, you name it! Sometimes I fear that I'll forgot how to drive when I haven't been home in a while but it's just like riding a really big bike :)

My dad is great about basically handing over his car to me after he picks me up from the train station. The car and a full tank of gas is pretty much at my disposal. Awesome! I always return it with at least three-quarters of a tank and try to leave him a couple of bucks to contribute to the refill, but that doesn't always happen.

The only drawback about having to rely on my dad's car when I go home is when it's not as available as I want it to be. There have been a few occasions when the stars align and somehow everyone needs to use their individual cars at my house, thus leaving me to beg for rides or sit around and wait for people to come back with cars so that I can leave. I look like a little lost kitten in the window, pawing at the glass, asking when I can go out to play.

There is nothing more demeaning at the age of 28 than begging your dad to borrow the car for the night. Usually when I say, "dad can I have the car, PLEASE," his automatic response is "where are you going?" followed by "what time will you be back?" I usually shuffle my feet and come up with a half-correct answer but then he'll sometimes say, "well if you don't want to tell me, then you can wait or I'll come with you." Most of the time it's okay if he comes with me (no I'm not going to the sex store or to cruise for guys) but when you're home and in a three bedroom house stuffed with people, I need me time alone and I don't want company. Plus why do I have to actually tell him. Come on, just give me the keys, it'll come back with me in one piece!

The other way I get the car when the stars align so unholy against me is if I take dad somewhere to meet his golf buddies on the weekends they spend the day at the course. Of course the drawback to this is that I have to take him to meet the guys at some ungodly hour of the morning on the weekend (around 5:30/6 a.m.) and promptly have to pick him up at 2:30/3 p.m. that afternoon when he's done. Sometimes that just seems like too much work so I spend time hiding in my house so that I don't get picked to do yard work or garden while he's gone. Thank goodness for Lulu and Wi-Fi at our house because they have kept my stepmom from finding me! Another benefit to being petite.

Ah to be 28 going on 16 again those weekends. I wonder what other painful teenage memories I can relive when I go home? Hopefully not the whole being-caught-by-your-parents-while-making-out-with-a-guy bit. No thank you.

Also, one week from today, from right now, I will be in San Francisco for BlogHer and I cannot wait! Counting down the days to California sun and bloggy goodness. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Random Tuesday - advice and stickers with a dash of humor

While I was home this weekend, a few weird/funny things happened so I thought for today's random post, I would bullet them out and share a few photos. Gotta love a weekend at home :)

Good advice
I laughed when I saw this note on my parent's oven Sunday night....

Why did I laugh? First off, it's kind of funny, but the reason the note is there in the first place is because we store our birthday cakes in the oven so they don't dry out. One year when the cake was in the oven (sans note), my stepbrother preheated the oven to make a pizza and left the kitchen while the oven was warming up and, well, cooked the cake. Fortunately it didn't do that much damage but now we clearly mark when cake is in the oven to avoid this little disaster. That's a good piece of advice.

While celebrating dad's birthday at the ballpark this weekend, a woman approached us while tailgating to solicit money. Normally my dad would say back, "no thanks" or in this case "it's my birthday today, you should give me money," but before he could, the woman started handing out witty stickers. I was excited to see what sticker from her collection she would choose for me and here it is:

I don't know why she chose this particular one for me, spanking is not really my thing, but thanks? Plus did you have to do that in front of my dad and family? Geez, they'll be teasing me for months about this.

One sticker she did have that I specifically requested is:

I know a few people I could give this to :) I might have to make this a blog award icon.

Hope you enjoyed today's randomness. We will return to our regularly scheduled programming shortly.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

A Funtastic 4th of July weekend

I'm thrilled to report that I had another funtastic weekend, this time at home, which was a great follow up to last weekend's blogger extravaganza

Every year I go home to Wisconsin for 4th of July but this year was extra special because it was also my dad's 60th birthday. 

But before the birthday celebration today, dad and I still made time to head out to the neighborhood I grew up in for the annual 4th of July parade on Friday. And let me tell you, this parade is huge. People are very serious and territorial about marking spots for the parade and people will be packed in five rows deep to get their parade on. And of course when this happens, there is fun people watching in abundance. People in Wisconsin definitely love their 4th of July parades. Happy Birthday America.

Wisconsin parade fashion

The only downside is that the neighborhood parade starts at 9 a.m., which means we have to leave at 8:20 a.m. to make it over to the other side of town, park and get to a spot in time. Every year, my wake-up call for the parade goes the same way around 7:45 a.m.:

Dad (bangs on the door): Jess, it's time to get up 
Me (sleepily): Five minutes please
Dad (five minutes later - bangs on the door again): I'm serious Jess we have to get going
Me: Getting up now *actually still lying in bed*
Dad (impatient): NOW Jess, come on
Me (angry): FINE I'm getting up! Get off my back

Don't worry, we're talking again by the time we're sitting at the parade, me unshowered and with zero make up on outside of SPF.

Well this year the weather was amazing here so there was an even larger crowd than usual at the parade and below are some photos that I thought you might all enjoy, including kazoos bands and camels, yes that's right, camels.

The famous local kazoo band

New addition this year: a camel

The only thing missing this time was a float from the Nature's Outpost store, which last year threw plums instead of candy into the crowd. It was a nice change of pace, until we realized the kids on the float were throwing the plums like baseballs. I had to duck and hide from one, to which my dad replied, "hey can you stop hiding and go get that plum over there, I love plums." Keeping me safe, that's what dads are for.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, today is my dad's 60th birthday. I know he doesn't read this blog (thank god) but I still want to wish him a very happy birthday. I love you dad.

Also, please no judgement on this picture, it was taken after baking in the sun for three hours.

His gift this year is the iPhone (hey 60 is a big birthday) but I also made him a video on Lulu's iPhoto program to the following song from Loudon Wainright. Seriously, I cried while making it because the song fit so perfectly. Good daughter = me.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

My approach to making out with guys

As as just about everyone knows by now, I am not very good at flirting. Actually I think I might be more "action than talk" when it comes to guys because I don't know what to say to them, especially in the heat of the moment, so I tend to just stop talking and tell them what I want or coax them into doing what I want.

That method seems to get a pretty good response from members of the opposite sex too so I keep with this approach because if it ain't broke, I'm not fixing it. 

Last weekend, someone told me that I'm the most "brutally honest" person he's ever met and well, I would be lying if I said that's the first time I've had a man say that to me.

I blame my caveman approach with guys, specifically when it comes to making out, on my first boyfriend, Peter (names have been changed to protect his identity). Peter was a great guy and I actually saw myself marrying him, but he was more of an "I don't want to disrespect you" kind of guy, which is sweet at first. And I was fine with the getting-to-know-you stuff and talking and whatever when we first met and started dating.

But when you're 19-years-old and crazy in love, you don't want to talk after a certain point or be regulated to just hand-holding. You want to make out and that's what he had a difficult time leading to. So after we had been together for awhile, there was more than one occasion where I had to be the "instigator" or just say, "hey can we stop talking and make out now?"

Who has to ask for that? Hi, I'm pawing at you like a bear and leaning in very close, that's a sign to kiss me. If I had a nickel for every time I had to hint (not very subtly) that I wanted to make out, I would be able to pay off my college loans. Yes, I'm not kidding, but am being slightly dramatic. These hints usually consisted of me pushing him around to corner him or playfully wrestling so I could get him in a submissive state. I hate being the dominant one sometimes and Peter has ruined the whole "submissive" thing for me.

I think near the end of our relationship, he just gave up like an animal. Ironically, that wasn't what contributed to us breaking up, but I'm sure my overly aggressive nature didn't help.

Another example of my making out approach occurred when I was living in Germany for a semester in college. All of the American students went to a bar in a dorm every Thursday night for cheap food and beer/wine. Well one night after a bottle of Chianti, I had been eyeing up another American student for a long time and decided to move in for the kill.

After engaging in some small talk, I opted to "corner him" by stealing his Birkenstock and refusing to give it back until we made out. Yes I did this rather than just tell him that I like him. Once he realized I was serious, he complied (willingly of course) and when we were done kissing, he asked how it was and the only thing I was coherent enough to say was, "not bad, really, but I've had better." Yes I did actually say that. To no surprise, we did not make out again after that incident. Feel free to laugh, it's

My Chicago bloggy buddy Jenn has illustrated on her blog tonight a wonderful Paint picture of beating a man into submission (with a Wii remote this time) in order to make out. It's a genius idea and self-serving to both parties.

Am I the only one who does this? 

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

An angry letter about 10.25 percent

Dear Chicago -

First off, thank you for being so great lately with the weather and the CTA. Seriously, a girl cannot complain. I did have awesome bus service and timing this weekend with my bloggy friends in town so thank you for cutting me a break. I'm not sure if you're the person to really be talking to about this, but just wanted to put it out there.

Moving on to the real purpose of this e-mail, I have again quite a bee in bonnet about something that I saw on the news last night - the official one percent increase in the Cook County sales tax, bringing it to 10.25 percent. 10.25 percent!!! Are you f*cking kidding me? That wasn't supposed to happen until November when you can rob the tourists who come here for their holiday shopping and feel so much cooler that their gift from the Disney Store came from Chicago. What the h*ll??

As you can imagine, other residents aren't overly thrilled about this either and the news caught some real gems on camera to illustrate that point too. But seriously, I love shopping and you're making it ten times harder for me to do so now. Now I have to start shopping online and shipping big ticket items to Wisconsin where sales tax is only 5.6 percent. I don't want to have to do that! I am glad that it does not apply to groceries though, that would be like breaking my ankle and then my knee to make sure I stay down.

And I'm even more upset because you're doing this to balance our city's budget, which we can never seem to have under control anyhow and to fund transit, which is archaic at best and also never seems to have enough funding. I love living here but you're making it really difficult for me. There are even rumors that the sales tax might have to be increased again too, seriously? Chicago wants to host the 2016 Olympics and we can't even balance our state budget or fully fund transit, yeah that's making us look real good.

Now I know people are going to tell me to "suck it up" and just deal with it and I will. In a month this will be a dead issue and in six months we'll all forget what 9 percent felt like in the pocketbook but it's the psychological response to double digit sales tax when no other city in the nation has that. I am writing this to be forthright with my feelings on this.

So I'm officially putting the county sales tax "on notice." Yes you're right up there with Harry & David and meteorologists. How do you feel about that? Think about it and get back to me.

Burn in h*ll,

Note to readers: This might seem harsh and hyper emotional but I had to vent my feelings on this topic. 10.25 percent sales tax is ridiculous and honestly, it makes me *gasp* not want to shop anymore. I'm taking my gift cards home to Wisconsin with me this weekend so I can shop in peace there. So take that Chicago! You have won the war, but I want to win a few battles.