Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The date definition

Dating, or trying to do so, sucks. I likely feel this way because I'm a traditionalist when it comes to relationships. I have the 1950s mentality of the guy asking the girl out, him picking her up, paying for dinner and escorting her home with a kiss at the end of the evening (should it go well). Maybe there isn't a sock hop or a "pin" involved but I guess I'm old-school at heart. Yes, I realize this is misguided.

I'm bringing this up today because the two things on my list that several people have been asking me about are the dating and making out line items that I included on there. And sadly, over a month into my year-long adventure, I'm sucking (no pun intended) on achieving them.

Making friends in the big city is tough, but for me, dating is even more difficult. Things are not as clean cut as they were back at home or even as they are in my misguided head. Some guys, like my friend Ryan, like to be asked out by girls, when girls pick up the dinner tabs and when the girls "chase" them. I should not be surprised by this but yet I was because very few women I know are aggressive enough to chase guys, but I know a few who will pick up the check...after they have been dating someone for a while (a long while).

I've shared many times before on here how my approach with guys is not the best, so I hate to say this, but I'm dating impotent and have zero idea what to do on them.

For example, if a guy asks you to dinner is it assumed that he will pay? And if he does pay, does it automatically qualify as a date? Even identifying an evening out as a "date" is a lot looser now than before. Some of my friends even feel that a date = kissing or more. I'll provide an example of this below.

Awhile back, a friend of mine met up with a girl he had a semi-crush on. He asked if she wanted to get together "for some food" and she agreed. He had no intention of paying because it was a "friendly" night out. He met her at the restaurant and they enjoyed some nice conversation but at the end of the night, he paid for dinner and got no kiss before she left.

Guy: So after I paid, I kind of felt like it was a date
Me: Well yeah it kind of was a date
Guy: But I didn't even get a kiss goodbye
Me: Do you feel you should have?
Guy: Well yeah, it was a date
Me: So you feel that because you paid you should get something?
Guy: Well I got a hug...
Me: Funny, because you you originally didn't tell her it was a date, but then you decided to pay and now you're upset because you only got a hug goodnight? If you wanted her to "give" you something, you should have told her that she would have to "put out" when you were paying the check or give her the option to pay her half and leave the tongue-action to "optional."
Guy: You make it sound so dirty

Oh the guys in my life. 

My ex-boyfriend Peter never paid when we would go out. We always went Dutch, which I thought was rather odd because all of my friend's boyfriends paid for dinner or movies. When I approached Peter about this, being tactful about it, he said, "You're a strong, independent woman, I don't want to disrespect you by paying." When I was 19, I totally thought this made sense, even though I said, "it's okay to disrespect me sometimes."

Now, thanks to Peter, I have zero idea what to expect when I'm asked out by someone. The last few times I went out on a date, I brought extra money with me in case I had to pay my share and when guys did pay for me, I was more nervous after dinner because I wasn't sure what would be expected. Most of them ended in hugs, but to be fair, if I paid for a city dinner, I'd hope for a little lip action. Seriously though, I'm not a prude, just old-fashioned. 

I'm not sure if I'm the kind of girl who can "chase" guys because I'm already pretty clear about telling people what I want (hello I once replied "a job," when a very hot man asked me what I wanted). I don't play relationship games and I'm fine with picking up the tab sometimes...after we've been dating for a while. Is that wrong?

So I guess I need to "man up" and be more direct in asking guys out, or just go up to a nice looking guy at the bar and say, "hey you're going to buy me a drink and then go make out with me, so put some Chapstick on."

I think that'll go over well.

Reader note: I'm sorry the Colbert video was being such a b*tch last night. It's a really great segment and I have zero idea why it would not embed or let you play it on the Comedy Central site. I'm not a Colbert-tease. Promise.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Volunteering to do math

In keeping with the spirit of my list, I volunteered tonight at the Obama campaign headquarters in Chicago. And for my extra delight, it was close to where I work and near my bus line home. Score!

So after work, I put did a "Mr. Rogers" by changing into my tennis shoes and headed over, totally unsure of what I would be doing. When I walked in, a group of volunteers was waiting to be taken back with me to be at the mercy of the organizers...who were nice enough to provide snacks and water/beer. Who can say no to that?

Time literally flew by and I had to force myself to leave at 8:45 p.m. because, oh yeah I have to work tomorrow! But while I was there, I helped sort mail, log donations and practice my addition/subtraction skills with those donations too. While I was sorting through the mail, there were a few "aww" moments, such as letters from kids, and a surprising number of letters/donations from overseas too. But for every "aww" letter, there is always a puzzling, WTF letter too. I even saw some done on a...typewriter. So odd and archaic.

Trust me, campaign headquarters are not like they are on the "West Wing," but the energy in the office, including watching people work from any hard surface, such as the floor, and seeing staffers in the "phone booths" was pretty cool. And it was nice to say I was part of it. I'll definitely be going back to help out.

This will likely not shock you, but I'm a Democrat. But this post isn't about going back and forth on the issues and telling you all why I'm choosing to vote for Obama over McCain. I just wanted to share my evening out with everyone. And I'm not going to preach too you about my political choice, but I will say this, learn both candidates positions on the issues affecting us now and go vote in November. And taking my own advice, I need to look into registering to vote in Illinois.

In closing, I share my favorite "Daily Show" clip from the 2004 DNC with my favorite guy, Stephen Colbert. I hope you find it humorous too. We'll be back to our regularly scheduled programming tomorrow.

Note: Apparently the video from the "Daily Show" would not embed on this site very well. Sigh. So instead I'm including a link to the Comedy Central Web site to check out the video. Hopefully this will work because it's really funny.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

My recent key learnings

Many of my friends ask me for advice on occasion and I always enjoy imparting my words of wisdom or sharing my stories of pure humiliation to help them feel better, or at least help them be glad that they're not me. 

Now that it's Sunday and another week is upon us, I'll share with you some things that I learned this weekend.
  • Be careful while opening a bottle of beer when tipsy. The opener can slip and you can cut yourself. I did that
  • Always surround yourself with friends who have dumb luck. My friend Sarah found $40 on the street this weekend, I found a quarter
  • Rock Band is a fun but humbling experience. It reminded me of two things: I am tone deaf and absolutely uncoordinated. It took me three times on drums to make it through a full song, although I do feel my Bon Jovi solo was pretty good
  • It is still flattering when people at the grocery store ask to see your ID when buying alcohol
  • Make the cab driver repeat your location back to you so they don't miss your street
  • Just because your college football team is winning, anything can happen in the last 20 seconds of the game (I hate you Michigan)
  • It's tacky to talk smack about someone when they're standing right next to you. That's just rude - man up and confront them
  • It might be painful, but sometimes you have to be nice to someone, even if they're rude to you
  • Doing laundry at 1:30 a.m. sounds like a good idea - until you have to stay up to finish it
  • Being sober around drunk people is not fun, it's obnoxious
  • A wine/beer headache can still be there when you wake up the next day
  • Road rage comes back pretty quickly, even if you don't drive on a regular basis
  • The right pair of jeans (here's what I'm loving lately) can give you a huge confidence boost and make your hips shake a little like Shakira
  • Putting food in front of a friend's face and saying "eat it!" can actually get them to, well eat what you want them to
So those are my lessons from this weekend. It was a flurry of activity.

Any words of wisdom that you would like to share from your weekends? I hope everyone had a good one!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I've got a case of the memes

In the last week, three people (Jamie, Maki and Blaez) have tagged me for three different memes. Oh. My. Gosh. So that I don't forget about them, I'm packaging two together. Blaez, I'm sorry but I've already done the one you tagged me for, but thank you for the linky love.

Now..on to the other two. And the same people will be tagged for both. I know, I'm lazy. An award-filled post is coming up too. I'm just overwhelmed with love.

Meme #1: Me A-Z

Jamie over at My Cynical POV tagged me for the alphabet meme, which I feared was inevitable. So before I get too caught up in my Reader, let's learn more about me with questions from A to Z. I know, it's awful learning more about me, but this is pretty easy and painless! Like waxing (not really.) 

A. Attached or Single? Single, not that there's anything wrong with that

B. Best Friend? They know who they are. I will not embarrass them on my blog

C. Cake or pie? Cake, hands down. I've posted about my love of the sour cream chocolate cake we get at birthday time. I'm salivating now just thinking about it

D. Day of choice? Saturday because I'm not working and I'm usually the most productive then

E. Essential item? Outside of my computer, it would have to be my iPod, or clothing, I don't walk around naked outside

F. Favorite color? Blue, I absolutely love this color and I always end up buying clothes in this shade

G. Gummy bears or worms? Bears - I used to live off of Haribo gummi bears in Germany. So good!

H. Hometown? Southeastern Wisconsin, go cheese!

I. Favorite indulgence? Food: probably candy, I can't stop myself sometimes. Non-food: purses, I somehow can justify always spending more on them

J. January or July? I'll go with July because the weather is nicer in Chicago than during January. Ick

K. Kids? Absolutely not right now. I always say I don't want kids because I'd be an awful mother, but you never know, I could change my mind. I could mature one day

L. Life isn’t complete without? Laughter? Family and friends? Or fun jewelry? Those answers might suck

M. Marriage date? This, like having children, I don't think I'm cut out for. Again, I could be wrong but I doubt it. When maturity hits, I'll let you know

N. Number of brothers and sisters? 1 brother (Andy) and 2 stepbrothers (Andrew and Daniel) - Yes my stepbrother and my brother have the same name!

O. Oranges or Apples? Apples, especially Honey Crisp apples which are AMAZING. Hmm those are almost in season too

P. Phobias? Sharks, heights, sometimes bodies of water

Q. Quotes? I have two that stay with me a lot: "In the end, the love you take/Is equal to the love you make." And, I can't exactly remember how this goes (tacky I know), but it is along the line of, those with great responsibility, great things are expected

R. Reasons to smile? I always have a reason to smile. Either I've read, seen or heard something funny, see an old friend, read a good book or magazine or just have a pleasant memory or thought about something I nearly forgot about. Pictures always make me smile

S. Season of choice? I like the transition time of summer into fall and winter into spring. There's something about the change in the air and wardrobe that makes me excited about the new season

T. Tag 5 people: 
CassSASandyScarlett, and LCT. Anyone else is free to do this meme too!

U. Unknown fact about me? Hmm this is tough, when my braces were removed, I had the orthodontist clean them and I made them into a Christmas ornament. It hangs on my tree every year. For what they cost, I was not going to get rid of them!

V. Vegetable? I love green pepper and black olives. I seriously put the the latter on my fingers still, like a kid. I know, I'm juvenile

W. Worst habit? I twirl my hair and fidget with my earrings when I get nervous

X. X-ray or Ultrasound? I've had both and I'll go with X-ray because it's quicker

Y. Your favorite food? Pasta, no-bean chili, enchiladas, chocolate, cupcakes, yogurt, cheese, hummus, guacamole, taco dip, really there are too many to list here

Z. Zodiac sign? Leo/Virgo, I was born on the "cusp." So whenever I read my horoscope, I have to check the date on the magazine for what my birthday falls under. I tend to lean more toward the Virgo sign though

Alrighty that was pretty painless. For those who were tagged...game on!

Meme #2: 4 Things

Maki was sweet enough to tag me for the "4 things" meme so without further ado, let's go!

4 things I did today:
  • Wake up

  • Try to decide what to wear (I'm hating everything in my closet again)

  • Walked by CVS and forgot to pick up my prescription (this will be mentioned in the next question)

  • Argue with my dad about my trip home this weekend, which isn't happening anymore

4 things on my to-do list:
  • Go fall clothes shopping. Yes all my stuff is too big again. Darnit!

  • Pick up my prescription at CVS, seriously they've called me twice to remind me. Oops.

  • Finish reading "Nineteen Minutes," start "Eat, Pray, Love" and compile everyone's recommendations from yesterday's post

  • Try to remember how to purl so I can finish leg warmer #1

4 things that are my guiltiest pleasure:
  • Shopping

  • Watching way too much television

  • Reading entertainment gossip sites online

  • Doing my modeling poses in front of the mirror while listening to music WAY too loud in my apartment

4 random facts about me:
  • Well, I did mention that I kept my childhood braces and turned them into a Christmas ornament - so that's one

  • At Halloween, my dad and I have a contest to see how many kids we can scare with our house decorations. Last year I won $5 for making 3 kids cry. Score!

  • I always flip through magazines first to look at the pictures and mentally mark the articles I go back and re-read

  • I always sneeze at least twice, I very rarely sneeze in odd numbers

4 bloggers I'm tagging:
  • Check out Meme #1, I'm tagging five people this time!
Phew, okay it's time to go rewatch the "Office" and find something to wear for tomorrow.

What is everyone else doing this weekend?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Hitting the books (not literally)

As part of my "15 things to do before I'm 30" list, I pledged to read 10 books in the next year and I'm falling behind. I've been too focused on knitting my legwarmers! So now I'm trying to balance reading, knitting and fall TV. 

Anyhow, Monday I had the day off so I launched into book number one: "Nineteen Minutes" by Jodi Picoult. I've read a lot of her books in the past and they always make me think and sympathize with characters I normally wouldn't.

And I have to admit, I cheated when I read her book, "My Sister's Keeper." When I say that I cheated, I meant that I got about halfway through the book and then, feeling a bad gut reaction, I skipped ahead to the last three chapters to see if I was right. I know, it's wrong, but I had to know. I won't ruin it for anyone, but when my suspicions were confirmed, I threw the book halfway across the room and let it sit there for three days before I returned it.

On my big day off, I only planned to read for about an hour but three to four hours later, I was still on my couch reading this book and now I am 70 percent of the way through it. And I have to admit, I don't know if I can finish it.

For those who don't know, the book takes place around a Columbine-like massacre at a high school and the ensuing trial of the kid caught when the gun. But like Picoult's other books, it looks at the story from multiple points-of-view, such as the popular and unpopular crowd. While the book is well written and balanced, I personally found it very hard to get through and am still disturbed by what I have read. Why? Well it is a heavy subject matter, but it is also a bit more personal than I thought it would be.

When I was in middle school, a former student walked into the neighboring high school one day, found the vice principal and shot him multiple times in the hallway. Fortunately, no one else was hurt, but the high school and my middle school went into immediate lock down, especially after there was a rumor that the shooter was going to the middle school next. Cops and parents crowded the streets and my dad came to get my brother and me and he had to show ID to pick us up and walk us to the car. They eventually found the shooter and he's in jail now, but the entire community was a raw nerve for a long time. My dad was a high school principal for over 30 years and wasn't always well-liked, so after this happened, I spent a lot of time worrying about him, fearing something like this would happen to him too, and fortunately it didn't.

I know this is a little heavy and I might be reading into the book a bit too much, but it hit a big nerve for me, outside of the shooting, such as the relationship between two teenage characters. I had a harder time reading this than I thought I would.

So I hope I haven't brought the mood down too much, but after seeing people's response tweets to me on Monday, I felt I had to share this. I'll still finish the book because I'm really almost done with it, but I think I'll take my time. 

For book number two, I want to find something fluffier to read. I'm open to suggestions. Help a girl out.

Reader note: I was loving everyone's comments about yesterday's post on dining out alone. Really, I'm glad I'm not alone in this feeling. But now if I call you up on a Saturday night asking if you want to get food, this is why :) Thank you everyone for your great comments, I loved reading them!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Table for one

I have zero problem with being single and I've highlighted on here many things I enjoy doing as a single woman, like shoe fashion shows and eating breakfast for dinner (multiple days in a row if necessary). I don't mind going shopping and to movies by myself, running errands and traveling on my own too. Those things are no sweat. 

But there is one thing I cannot bring myself to do as a single woman: go out to eat solo.

I love going out with friends for dinner and drinks and I often get carry-out orders on the weekend, but for some reason cannot go out to eat by myself. Even if I take a book or magazine, I would rather eat at home or get a carry-out order rather than eat on my own in public.

I think I feel this way because one summer while working at Chili's in Minnesota, the waiters were always particularly mean to women who would come in and eat alone, looking quite content. The waiters would point and laugh and when I would defend them (as many single women do for one another), the waiters would say that it's "pathetic" and just exhibits that the woman is alone and always will be. These guys at the time were in their early 20s so they had no idea what they were talking about, but the thought of waiters pointing and laughing at me behind my back definitely freaked me out.

The few times I've gone out to eat alone, I end up eating my meal twice as fast because there's no one to engage with and really, a magazine isn't going to slow me down. The faster I eat, the earlier the meal is over with and I can go home. It's bad, which is probably why I'm calling around on weekends to see if anyone else wants to go to dinner or I grab an order to take home for myself.

I'm still a strong and independent woman who can take care of herself and be on her own, but that is that one thing I hate to do alone.

Does anyone else have things they don't like to do on their own? Even if you're single or not?

Monday, September 22, 2008

A lovely Friday: LV and Saks

Rhetorical question: Do I love fashion and shopping? Unless you've never met me or read this blog before, the answer might take you a few seconds to think about. 

To my joy, I was invited to attend a Friday night fall fashion trend event sponsored by MasterCard at Saks in Chicago with celebrity stylist, "America's Most Smartest Model" judge and Harper's Bazaar Contributing Fashion Editor Mary Alice Stephenson. This event came at the perfect time because I'm in desperate need of new fall clothes so I need someone to show me what I should be looking at this season. And it was the perfect opportunity to take Speedy out for a night on the town.

Thanks to Friday traffic on Michigan Avenue, Sarah, Teresa and I were a little late, but we were able to grab some drinks and appetizers before snagging front row seats for the trend fashion show, where we got to see some gorgeous pieces from Lanvin, Donna Karen, Michael Kors, Escada, Theory and Ellen Tracy. I also got some great ideas of pieces to add to my wardrobe this fall too like romantic blouses, bold necklaces (my favorite!), deep hues, like purple, and tailored dresses. Not sure if the latter works with a curvy, full chested figure, but we can make it work.

 I am loving the purple bag, sweater coat and Prada shoe-booty!

The most exciting part of Friday night, outside of a fun girls night out and the fashion show, was that I was able to interview Mary Alice quickly for my blog :) I didn't get to ask all of my questions, but I did get to ask her key ones to share with everyone.

Pre-interview picture of me and Mary Alice

What are the biggest fall trends for women?
Costume jewelry, cocktail rings and bold necklaces which are an easy way to dress up any outfit and are available at every price point. Forever 21 and H&M are two great examples of affordable places to get costume jewelry that are great for fall.

If I could only buy one thing this fall, what should I invest in?
Tailored dress - the right tailoring and close cut makes you look your best and flatters every figure

What are the top 5 things a woman should have in her closet?
  1. Black pencil skirt
  2. Dark denim trouser jeans (perfect for work and weekend)
  3. LBD - fitted black dress
  4. Top handle bag
  5. Boots - knee-high or shoe-booty
What fashion trend should never come back?
This is tough because I draw inspiration from everything, but if I had to pick one, it would be the sheer blouse with colored bra underneath, it's very 80s Madonna. Sheer can work and can be tasteful but not mixing colors like that.

For petite, curvy girls, what are the best cuts/fits to buy?
Any style can work for curvy and petite girls, you just have to really spend time with the particular style you're interested in and find how that works for your body. Flat-front pants work the best, and if you want to minimize your waist, go for hip-slung pants that sit a little lower. If you want a "hippier" waist, go with a higher-waist pant. If you're conscious about your arms, go for an off-the-shoulder look and play with necklines.

What advice do you have for women who are still struggling to find their  personal style?
Play dress up and play with clothes to help you find what works best for you. Look online for tips and ask for help at stores about fit and cut. Identify your best asset and play it up, embrace it! Work what works best for you. And identify your "problem area" and make sure when looking for fit, you fit that area first and tailor the rest of the outfit around that. If you hate your rump, find pants that fit that the best and tailor the waist or cuff. Clothes and fashion should be fun so have fun with it!

Once my interview was over, we got to go shop around Saks to find some of the outfits they modeled in the show. There was a white wool Michael Kors dress that literally made me almost sacrifice paying rent to buy it and a gold Alice + Olivia peacoat jacket that made me hunt it down (literally) in the store. Here's a picture of me modeling the jacket. I think it looks adorable on me.

Forget rent and food, I love this jacket!

Realizing clothes would not be an option, we went and played in the handbag department, indulging in our love of Bottega, Gucci and a little D&G. At dinner after (with champagne of course) we went through the gift bag we got and I am beyond excited about my new Bobbi Brown Tube Tints, which has four mini lip glosses in awesome colors. So excited!

So it was a fun Friday night and I managed to a) behave myself and b) be professional, I was on full bloggy detail after all. 

How was everyone else's weekend?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Recent irritating scenes from the gym

There are many things that irritate me at the gym, such as people cuddling and being overly supportive while I'm trying to pump some iron so I can go home. But recently there have been two incidents at the gym that I felt compelled to share with everyone. One provided me with another reminder of why I choose to work out alone.

Scene One: At the free weights, me doing a "casual flex" while a guy is giving his girlfriend "pointers" on working out, all while looking like he can't wait to be on his own.

Boyfriend: God what is wrong with you?
Girlfriend: These [the weights] are heavy
Boyfriend: Are you serious? They're like 10 pounds, quit your whining
Girlfriend: Am I doing this right?
Boyfriend: Probably not, try harder, use your arms to lift the weight

Boyfriend: Move your leg back to do the lunge
Girlfriend: Here? (Moves her leg back about an inch)
Boyfriend: No, here
Girlfriend: Here? (Moves her leg back a little more)
Girlfriend: I don't know if I can go any further back
Boyfriend: You are such a wuss, gosh, just try for once. You can't do anything right

I couldn't stand to listen to the rest of it but I can imagine it went on like that for a while. I like a strong guy, but not one who is going to put me down. That's why you pay for a trainer to help you get in shape and hopefully not verbally abuse you.

Scene Two: The cardio floor, me in the midst of a serious elliptical routine, reading the Redeye and watching the news when my thoughts are interrupted by...

Moron: Dude, hey how are you? (I look over and see he's talking very loudly to no one)
Me: Who are you talking to?
Moron: Hey yeah I know, yeah I'm working out right now (Still can't see anyone he could be conversing with)
Me: Hey there's no one there, everything okay?
Moron: Dude I went to New York this weekend and totally hit it with this girl *laughs* Yeah it was fun
(At this point I notice the iPhone strapped his arm and groan)
Moron: What was that? Yeah I'm at the gym working out. Doing cardio, yeah feelin' the burn. Yeah I slept with some girl in New York, ha ha yeah we won't tell Ashley, totally, hot hot hot.

The conversation about him and his weekend conquest went on for a while and I had to cut my routine a little short before it became too graphic. Ironically, later I saw him and a girl, who I'm going to assume is Ashley, snuggling while walking out of the gym. I've seen this guy near the cardio machines a couple of times now and I'm always treated to hear his iPhone conversation.

The iPhone is cool but is a total pain in the a** at the gym. Just listen to your music and don't carry on a conversation in "outdoor voices" while some of us are trying to work out. This also extends to the morning bus commute with a Bluetooth headset too. Indoor voices people, or at least make your conversation public-friendly. I don't need to know that much about you.

Well the Emmy's are Sunday and Anne has a bottle of wine with my name on it. Big post coming Monday so be sure to check back. What is everyone else up to this weekend?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The dark side of the knitting purl

In response to my tweet last night, I'm doing a mini expose today on something I call "Project Cupcake," in which I will unveil for you all the seedy underbelly of twenty-something knitting groups. I realize I might have to sacrifice my identity when sharing this with you, but I feel it's important for my readers to know the truth.

I joined my Chicago knitting group over a year go, under the guise that I was interested in knitting. In reality, I just wanted to make more friends and reconnect with the ringleader, who I had lost touch with for over a year. Now I'm neck-deep in a knitting ring full of women I have come to call an extension of my "inner circle" - until it's hazing week. We're an inviting group, welcoming and encouraging people to join us, and after you've shown that you're willing to pledge our group full-time, we beat you savagely in a burlap bag with knitting needles and crochet hooks. Honestly, it only hurts for the first minute. You go numb after.

But once you wake up, you're in the group and there's no leaving. You share things at knitting that you don't always share with family or other circles of friends and no topic is considered taboo or in poor taste. I've watched a woman pump in front of me, heard stories of liquor in "lady areas" and seen a "romantic toy" named Gigi, which is perplexing and not at all arousing. This week there was a particularly eye-opening story about alternate meanings for the words "muffin" and "cupcake," which made me now look different at red velvet cupcakes. By day, we're co-workers and friends, but once we step into the hostess' apartment, it's time to put on our cloaks, bring out the needles and candles and purl to our hearts content...sometimes with beer.

Sure it sounds fun, knitting with friends, ordering dinner and enjoying  glass of wine, but the seedy underbelly of it would shock you. The taunting and teasing (usually from the more-reserved members) is brutal, almost as much as having the class bully sit on your chest and threaten to dribble spit on your forehead. I tweeted last night about my private torture and it was the responses I received from tweet-land that prompted this post. It's enough to make the toughest and meanest people (like me) crack because it's taunting in unison from multiple members. So what if I can't always remember what the difference is between "medium" and "medium rare" meat, it changes from place to place! See the torture forced upon me?

My soul feels cleansed sharing this with you all. I fear now I'll have to carry one of my knitting needles with me for safety but it's a risk worth taking. On a positive note, my legwarmers are coming along nicely though and I'm almost finished with the first one. I need to make progress on them so I can rock those this fall.

In all reality - I love my knitting group. They're some of my good friends and we're a tight-knit group (no pun intended). And yes, I'm saying this out of fear of retaliation. Really though, we've expanded to non-knitting activities, like brunch, and two of us are planning an upcoming trip to Iowa for a Big 10 game. It's fun, unless I'm being emotionally abused.

So am I the only one involved in a group like this? Feel free to share, there's no judgement here.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My recent Twitter obsession and bloggy meet up

My love of Twitter should not surprise anyone. I heart Twitter and now my Twitter-life and my television-life have merged into a combustible superpower.

I'll back up to give you more context. Over the weekend while adding people to my "follow" list, I happen to come across the name @Betty_Draper. To those who don't watch Mad Men on AMC (and why not? It's awesome), that is one of the main characters. So I click on her icon and nearly lose it to realize it's "Betty" tweeting about her day, all timed to the recent developments on the show!

Suddenly Rachel and I are tweeting about Sunday's then-impending episode and suddenly Paul Kinsey, another character on the show, is following me on Twitter! Slightly scary but also cool. Then, yesterday I begin searching for more Mad Men characters and they are all on there! Even Don and Betty's kids, Sally and Bobby. How awesome is that?? Now I'm following Don, Peggy, Betty, Ken and Joan (who has a fab figure - you go girl). The epitome of my joy on this peaked yesterday when Don Draper started following my updates. I nearly fell off my chair in excitement. Don Draper wants to read my tweets about my snap-pants and hemp lip balm? Sold! This morning I also found out Bertram Cooper and Peggy are following me now too. This could be very bad.

If you guys are Mad Men fans, check this out because it's just beyond cool and entertaining. That or I'm easily amused - a little of both I believe. Even if you're not a fan, check it out because now I'm on a mission to find my other favorite TV characters. And if you don't watch Mad Men, give it a shot. But keep in mind, even though you won't understand everything, it's still enjoyable to watch. The smoking in offices! The martini lunches! Where did those days go?

On a separate note, I was able to break myself from my recent Twitter obsession last night to meet up with some awesome Chicago bloggers (Jenn, Jamie, Rachel, Dan, D and Joy) to celebrate Lacey's visit to the city. I also got to meet several awesome bloggers (Erin, Reckless Chef and Maiden Metallurgist) for the first time, time to update the Reader!

Okay I'm off to watch last night's Closer season finale and stalk more TV characters on Twitter. Watch out.

What TV character would you want to follow on Twitter?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Boy pet peeves

Everyone has quirks - including me, but I've noticed that the guys in my life (friends and family) have a few quirks/pet peeves that drive me bat sh*t crazy, especially lately.

Now my emotions might be a bit heightened because Chicago had three days of non-stop rain, so let me know if I'm overreacting.

My boy pet peeves (in no particular order):
  • Long showers - I have two stepbrothers and I have zero idea what they're actually doing in the bathroom when they go in to take a shower. I hear the water turn on and off but they're in there for like 40 minutes. Come on! Some of the women in the house need to use the bathroom too. I don't know if they're having a religious experience or writing a book but stop hogging the bathroom and let me enjoy some hot water! I once got so frustrated with one of them that I banged on the door and told him to "pinch it off" so I could finish getting ready.
  • Tardiness (beyond "fashionably late") - This above everything else irritates me the most. I'm usually on-time or if I'm going to be late, I call to let the people I'm meeting know. Apparently this concept is lost on guys. I can name multiple examples of when I'm supposed to meet a guy friend of mine and he shows up about 15-20 minutes late, without a call or text that he's running behind. To account for this, I've adjusted the time that I actually show up to meet him, but on a day like today, when it's pouring rain and he's 15 minutes late with no call, yeah I'm not so sympathetic.
  • Wandering eye - Even if I'm not dating any of the guys in my life, if we're out and having a nice platonic time, please don't fake-listen to me while you're checking out other girls. Thanks. Eyes on me or at least on my chest. Be a team player.
  • Lack of listening - This kind of builds off the last point. Maybe it's a "girl thing," that we pay better attention and can fake being interested better than guys, but seriously, I do not want to talk about you all the time. At least pretend to be interested in my contributions to our conversations.
  • Not thinking before speaking - Now this one I can be pretty sympathetic on because everyone is different in how they want guys to respond in certain situations. Many of the guys in my life lack the "comforting" gene so I'll settle for just validating how I feel. Usually saying something like, "well what did you expect?" and "calm down," aren't the best things to say when a women is upset. Just a tip. 
Part of me wanted to do the whole "not noticing" pet peeve too, but many of the guys in my life, minus one, just aren't that observant. When I dyed my hair from blonde back to brown, my dad noticed but none of my guy friends did. When I pointed it out to them, it was like they saw it for the first time! I've given up on my guys asking if I've lost weight, if I got a new top or noticing hair color/cut changes. That's too much to ask for in my arena.

Now these are just a list of pet peeves that applies to "my guys," so I'm sure I've missed things. What are your boy pet peeves? We'll add 'em to the list!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Bathroom multitasking

Mind out of the gutter, this is a PG/PG-13 blog - most of the time.

Anyhow, as a busy young professional, sometimes your day doesn't lend a lot of time for things like...lunch hours... or brief socializing. Sure you can socialize with the people who sit around you, primarily by yelling over the cube, but having that one-on-one interaction to chat about the weekend or the Hills is often difficult.

So lately I've noticed a trend in my behavior that creeps me out just a bit. I've taken socializing to the can...literally. It started during my shopping adventure with Sarah where she recounted a hilarious story for me while I used the bathroom and I realized - this creeps me out just a bit. I'm trying to well...pee and all to the soundtrack of my friend's voice. A girl can get a bit of performance anxiety if you know what I mean.

Even at work, I always say hello when I see people I know in the restroom and last week I unknowingly engaged in a full conversation with a friend while using the bathroom, from stall to washing my hands. She even waited for me when I came out of the stall because we were still talking. And in that moment I realized, oh my gosh this poor girl has been talking about Entourage and was forced to listen to the sound of me using the bathroom and then washing my hands. Good lord. While the actual sound of someone using the bathroom isn't shocking, the real question is, what if you had a moment where a "number one" becomes something more? Someone you know, like and hang out with has heard unspeakable things that could be shared on IM or worse, Twitter around the office.

From now on, I'm going to take that extra five minutes and go over to someone's desk to talk rather than rely on a bathroom run-in to turn a conversation from "hey how are you?" to "please listen to me pee." 

It's worth it. I'd gladly come in earlier to avoid those uncomfortable bathroom situations.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Looking forward to fall

I know summer isn't officially over until the end of September but the weather in Chicago is cooling so I'm starting to look ahead to fall and why I'm excited about the changing seasons. 

What I'm looking forward to:
  • Jackets! Well not like winter jackets, more like my cute, cotton/corduroy ones that look awesome with pants and a scarf. I bought one a gorgeous navy one at J.Crew and I can't wait to wear it

  • College football - this has technically gotten started but I've been a late-season adapter. Go Badgers!
  • Michigan Avenue tree lighting - happens in November and I will have to be dead in order to keep me away from it. I LOVE the lighting of Michigan Avenue. I am a serious attendee

  • Leaves changing color - I don't see this a lot in Chicago but when I go home, I love to drive along the tree-lined streets and look at the leaves

  • Wisconsin vs. Minnesota football game - I just said I love football but this game is penned in on my calendar every year. They are huge rivals and play for the Paul Bunyon axe. Trust me, when that games end and the teams run for it, it's very exciting
  • The "changing of the bags" - yes it's time to retire the summer bags (see you in spring Longchamp!) and bring out the fall/winter ones (hello Kenneth Cole!)

  • TV is back!! This is just around the corner and I cannot wait. My DVR has had it too easy for too long, time to get her fired up and back on schedule
  • Ugg boots - I cannot wait to bring the ladies out to meet Speedy and my winter bags again. It's funny but I actually have a "theme song" that I play when they come down. I usually pick between "These Boots are Made for Walkin'" or "Big Pimpin.'" I don't know why I chose the latter

  • Cool chill in the air - I love walking when the air is cool and crisp. You can actually smell fall coming. For real. Plus it's great sleeping weather, turn the heated mattress pad on and I'm out!
What I'm not looking forward to:
  • Never seeing the sun - seriously, I wake up, it's dark and I leave work and it's dark, sad

  • Raking - somehow I get roped into this when I go home and I hate it. Stupid leaves and wind

  • Snow - it's inevitable and in the city it sucks

  • Colds - I always get one and last year's cold kept me sick for over a month and home from work for over three days. No thanks
Fortunately the positives of fall outweigh the negative ones so bring on the change of seasons!

Also - by popular demand, here is a picture of my adorable Bubbles. Look at that face, precious. And posing like a sassy little b*tch. Love her.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Quirky meme - More random things about me

My BlogHer buddy Miss Grace tagged me for a "quirky" meme so without further ado, I will share with you more random and possibly uninteresting things about...me!

  1. Link to the person who tagged you
  2. Mention the rules on your blog
  3. Tell 6 unspectacular quirks about you
  4. Tag 6 following bloggers by linking to them
  5. Leave a comment on each of the tagged blogger's blogs letting them know they've been tagged
There are the rules, so away we go!
  • One of my most prized possessions is my paper mache rabbit...that looks like a cat. Her name is Bubbles and she is white with yellow stripes and pipecleaner whiskers. I made her when I was in the first grade and I love her to pieces. She used to sit on a chair in my living room (so she could watch TV) but someone from my knitting group teased me about her so now she resides in the bedroom. She's worn, fading and fragile but she is VERY important to me.
  • I really hate cleaning floors and bathrooms. When I was a kid, my cleaning jobs were more vaccuuming and dusting, floors and bathrooms were my brother's job. Now I try to get out of doing them whenever I can. But I did clean the floors for my birthday party - that I will gladly vouch for.
  • I've never mowed the lawn. Again, my outdoor chores were more regulated to punishment in my stepmom's garden where I would pretend to dead-head flowers and sneak a magazine in with them so I could read rather than work on my "green thumb."
  • When I was in second grade, I nearly died from pneumonia. I was in the hospital for a month and about 24 hours after I was admitted, the doctor brought my parents in so they could "say goodbye" in case I didn't make it through the night.
  • As a kid, the Great Muppet movie used to scare the crap out of me. When Animal got really big, I would always run and hide behind a large brown recliner that was in our living room. No matter how many times I would watch that movie - it always scared me. Even now, I can't watch scary movies without hiding behind my hands like a kid.
  • When I read books, owned, borrowed or browsing, I always read the last page of the book first. That's what makes me decide if I want to go back and read the book from the beginning. One friend who used to lend me books would tear out the last page to keep me from doing it.
That wasn't too painful now was it? Now it's time to tag six lucky people.

G&D, Rachel, Dan Mega, Rebekah, Mandy and Arielle, you're it!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Meet my new pursebaby!

After much build-up and anticipation I'm happy to introduce to you all to another bundle of joy that has joined Lulu and me in my cozy apartment...Speedy.

That's right, in celebration of my recent birthday, I decided to buy myself a "crown jewel" purse to help me close out my 20s in style. Once I made this decision a few months ago, I was diligent in making sure I could afford it and asked for "donations" for my birthday to make it a reality. There were very worthy contenders that I found at Bottega and Chanel last weekend, but I've wanted the Louis Vuitton Speedy bag for awhile so I got it :) 

And of course, I had it gift wrapped to make it like a real birthday present and yes, it came in a "keeper box."

So here are pictures of my new little girl. Unfortunately she cannot make her full debut until I exchange the lock on the bag - when I opened her today it was scuffed and dirty and there is no way I paid for a dirty lock.

If all goes to plan, Speedy will be making her full debut later this week. Time to celebrate!

The box that arrived on Friday (yes it was huge and awkward to carry on the bus)

The lovely gift box she was wrapped in

Meet Speedy!!

I already have an outfit picked out to wear when I debut her into the world too! How was everyone else's weekend? 

Thursday, September 4, 2008

When it's okay to steal

When I was in my teens, I had a small "stealing" problem, and by problem, I mean that I would occasionally take things that weren't mine but that I wanted. It was never anything big, usually it included lip gloss or notebooks (harmless) but even as an adult, I still think it's still okay to steal in certain situations.

Now I don't want you all to think I'm going to Nordstrom or Gap or a major store and taking something off the rack - that's shoplifting - but I'm pleased to say I only steal now when necessary and it's mostly for revenge.

For example, yesterday I tweeted that my lunch was stolen in our company kitchen. The refrigerator is jammed packed with stuff, which is why I label and hide my food to avoid it being taken. This is the second time that it's happened lately and it drives me insane. Someone else is dining on my lunch, which I brought to avoid having to buy it, which I'm sometimes forced to do if it doesn't exist anymore in the refrigerator.

So upon discovering that I was half lunch-less yesterday, I did what I think anyone else would do, I took someone else's food in the fridge so I didn't have to go buy something. Is it fair? No. I don't know the person whose yogurt I took, but it was delicious. Do I feel bad about it? No. It stinks that someone else had to be partially lunch-less too, but it's the "circle of life." I can't help that.

Still bristling from yesterday, I was pleasantly surprised today when a) my lunch was still waiting for me in the kitchen and b) someone was nice enough to leave a magical cupcake at my desk while I was in a meeting, but with no note. I won't lie, at first I was afraid to eat it for fear of random lunch-stealing retaliation but once I identified the source (who I trust), I enjoyed it and it was lovely. See kids, it pays to steal. You might come in the next day and have a cupcake waiting for you :) That's a ringing endorsement.

Here's a picture of my "thank-you-for-stealing" cupcake. It's adorable, it looks like a caterpillar, it's delicious and I haven't gotten sick yet, bonus!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Random Hump Day-ness

I've been going through a very bad case of bloggy writers block lately so please forgive me if my posts are ultra random and all-over-the-place. Work has also been bat sh*t busy so I might be behind in my Reader but I'm working to get to all the new entries I have to read.

So because of my writer's block I have just random post of things today. 

You really like me!!
Tonight I came home and found a note on my 20sb page from Ashley congratulating me. On what I wondered, I haven't won the lottery. But actually it's just as good of news...

I'm the Featured Blogger on Twenty Something Bloggers!!!

It takes a lot to shock me and this definitely did, but in a great way. This, plus a good workout was exactly what I needed today and for this week. This may sound corny, but I really was so happy to be given this shout-out, let's me know my blog hasn't "jumped the shark" or anything :) It totally made my day.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this happen. I will awkwardly hug each and every one of you when I have the chance. Be ready.

Making up for my physical shortcomings
My friend Ryan hasn't been busy at work lately so he's been sending me random, hilarious Web sites over IM, along with playing the "Office" quote game. And he's wining that game. Jerk.

Anyhow, he sent me a link to a site that will quiz you to find out how many kids I could "take" in a fight. And I'm pretty pleased with my score....


Created by OnePlusYou

When you take the quiz, it asks you questions about your physical capabilities and then goes into the emotional questions like, "do you have a problem with pushing kids around?" Or would you would flinch if they start to cry. I think my answers on those are pretty clear :)

Key learning: I may be lacking in physical capabilities (being petite and not very flexible) but I make up for it with my lack of morality. You better give me my swing back!

The most awesome YouTube video of the week:
So Friday night I was at home, enjoying my date with People magazine and blogs when I came across this video on Maegan's site.

I won't lie - it took me about a minute to realize it was a guy who was dancing and it make me realize that my idea of dancing - seizure-like moves or bad 80s dances - are so lame in comparison. I don't even touch my chest that much.

Thanks Maegan for this because it lead me to spend more money at the iTunes store and dim the lights for a single-girl dance party, high heels optional.

That's my update for tonight everyone. Remember to DVR Oprah on Monday when her show from Millennium Park with Olympic athletes airs. Today during the taping, some interns and I were huddled in an office to watch the crowd from my building. Sadly, there was no Oprah sighting, but I would have settled for an inappropriate hug from Michael Phelps. I do have a "Jim"-type. I can't help it.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Weekend recap: Shopping, shower curtains and champagne

Most four-day weekends bring me back to Wisconsin for a visit with my parents, but this time, because of multiple trips home in August, I opted to stay Chicago-bound. And it was awesome. 

I like to go out, but sometimes a nice evening at home to catch up on magazines, blogs, etc. is just what a girl needs. So Friday night I had a lovely date with my birthday leftovers, People magazine, wine, Rihanna and my Reader. Perfect.

Shop Till You Drop
However, Saturday was an all-day bonanza. Sarah and I not only had girl-talk, but also I went crazy shopping. If you love vicarious shopping and spending money, you should have been with us because I had birthday coupons that were burning a hole in my pocket. Plus, on occasion, Sarah and I do this thing were we go into the really expensive stores and ogle nice stuff, even though we absolutely cannot afford to have it. It's like adult make believe and it's fun! We hit Bottega Veneta (where they served us NICE champagne), Chanel and Louis Vuitton (why not?), and of course I found something I really like at each place. But when I started calculating up its cost in comparison to my rent, I could easily put it back, almost.

I even bought my super-special-super-want-not-need birthday gift and it's coming later this week. I'll even give you a hint - it is coming from one of those stores. (FYI: I did blab what it is on Saturday night so if you do know the answer, please don't ruin the surprise.) Sarah even gave me a reassuring pat on the back when it came time to pay for it and I didn't pass out after we left to the store so it was successful.

Sadly, I'm going through delayed gratification on my gift by shipping it to Wisconsin to avoid paying Chicago sales tax (10.25%). So trust me, while I want to bring her home, it's worth it to wait a few days.

Plus, shopping was made a lot easier with some of these:

Liquid courage for major shopping

And Banana Republic was nice enough to send me a $15 off coupon for my birthday month so I had to put that to use. It would just be rude not to. Double bonus was that BR was having a MAJOR sale and they had MY sizes still left over! I've never grabbed that much stuff to try on before - and keep! Below is a picture of my bounty (with some stuff from Old Navy thrown in) and I have to admit, I'm the most excited about the Hawaiian print shorts I got from BR. My size and only $8.97, how can you go wrong? (Shorts are in blue/white - on the left-hand side of the photo)

Shopping bounty!

As many of you know, I love bloggy events and meet ups, and fortunately, Saturday night I was able to meet up with some awesome local and non-local bloggers for drinks at Joy's bar. Seriously, how this girl does a full-time job and working at the bar on the side is beyond me. It's also been a while since I had a liquid dinner so after about four Stella's, this girl was feelin' real good. Normally Joy's bar gets a very...."douchebag" crowd (her words) and I was pleasantly surprised to see the "skank factor" at the bar only hit about a score of 6 that evening. But I was treated to three peroxide-blonde women grinding on each other (while everyone watched) and nippleage.

Oh yes that's right. In the midst of conversation, I look over my non-local blogger buddy's shoulder and see a woman pull her strapless top down to flash the DJ. Once the woman was done showing off her chest, she turned around and saw the surprised look on my face so she was nice enough to clarify, "oh no honey I'm not a slut, I just got my breasts done and was showing them off."

In my experience, if you have to explain that you're not a slut, well...if it walks like a duck...you know what I mean. Secondly, I just nicely asked if I could give them a feel since she was showing them off. Of course she obliged so Baggage and I coped a feel (they felt very realistic) and discussed why she went with silicon over saline. Mega wasn't there yet so he definitely missed out but all night she was known as the "one with the fake boobs." I love this city.

Nice Little Sunday/Monday
Since I spent money like water on Saturday, the rest of the weekend was pretty low-key. But I did make it a nice little Sunday with a trip to Bed, Bath & Beyond for a shower caddy and new shower curtain - too bad I don't know if I like the new curtain in my bathroom. Fail.

Back to work tomorrow but it's a short week so let's start counting it down!

How was everyone else's Labor Day weekend?