Thursday, February 26, 2009

Weather reporting in "girl" talk

I find it funny that I'm posting about this when it's currently a monsoon in Chicago. Seriously, my street corner has water over the sidewalk and I couldn't get a cab to save my life. 

Despite the rain, one day, spring will come around again, and I have zero idea how to dress if it's not sub-zero or around 30 degrees outside.

For example, a few weeks ago when it was around 50 or 60 degrees, I had no idea what to wear. I literally spent a half hour trying to decide how heavy of a shirt I need and if it was warm enough to go with a down vest or if a fleece was still needed. To no surprise, I overdressed and was sweating like a prostitute in church.

When the seasons change, I need the weathermen to give me more guidance when they share their excitement about warmer temperatures. Telling me, "it's a great day outside!" or "it's 20 degrees warmer than last week" doesn't help! NBC Chicago's meteorologist will say, "bring a light coat," but that is not very helpful either. Define what kind of light coat is appropriate for today! I have options!

I need the weathermen to break it down more. 

For example, on an unseasonably warm day in winter (like we had a few weeks ago,) I need to hear, "it's 60 degrees in Chicago in February. It's warm enough to wear a light fleece coat with T-shirt underneath, or a long-sleeve top with down vest. Uggs are not required but sneakers are recommended."

THIS will help me plan what to wear.

Or when there is a chance of rain, they should say, "if you are leaving work on time but running a few errands, wear the wellies just in case," or "skip the wellies and bring the umbrella if you'll be home by eight."

THIS is also helpful.

Put the weather report in my language and I won't have to worry about running late or turning to Twitter to ask people what I should wear or getting my shoes soaked by rain. I may be a sheep but sticking my hand outside the window or staring at people's outfits that are walking on the street isn't the most reliable. Just give to me in girl talk.

Would anyone else like to see this on the morning news? Do you often misjudge what to wear when it's suddenly warm outside?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

E-mail etiquette: f-you or miss you?

This morning the TODAY show and RedEye both hit on a topic I found very interesting: the tone of your "goodbye e-mail" if you've been let go from a job

Note: I have not been let go from my job nor do I have any plans to leave. But as layoffs become more of a reality for some, this issue did catch my attention.

Most of the goodbye e-mails I've received are the standard, cordial, "I'll miss working with everyone here," type of e-mail, but there have been a few with a more biting, bitter tone. And I shook my head while reading them.

Hey, I've been let go from a job, I know the feeling of anger and resentment that you feel in that moment when you are suddenly losing your income for the foreseeable future. I've been more than tempted to tell my co-workers to go f*ck themselves and that they are all d-bags, but I didn't. 

And I didn't do that for one reason: I might need something from them again. And really, in many industries, it's a small world and that stuff isn't forgotten.

There is nothing worse than telling someone off, only to run into them again when you need something from them. And the momentary thrill of leaving with your middle finger extended wears off shortly after and you can't take it back.

So while some may not resent sending off a brutally honest e-mail, I don't have the guts to do it and I don't think I would even if I did have the 

What about everyone else? What kind of e-mail would you send out: cordial or brutally honest? Or, if you've been let go from a job, what kind did you send?

Monday, February 23, 2009

My Oscar fashion awards

That's right, it's here! Last night was the big night, the Super Bowl of fashion and my fashion senses were on overload. The pleating, the color (and lack thereof) and diamonds, oh my!

Overall, I really liked a lot of the Oscar looks this year. The stars brought back glamour and hit on a lot of the trends this season. But unfortunately, there were some missteps (Nicole Kidman) and I have recounted my Oscar fashion wrap up below for everyone to enjoy. 

Here we go Hollywood, no mercy!

Best Dressed (tie)
(Straight-up modern day Grace Kelly. Divine)

(Wish it had more color, but the pleating detail was amazing)

Worst spray tan endorsement 
(there is a lot more wrong with this look but I'll refrain)

Modern interpretation of Michael Jackson's "glove" (it morphed into a sleeve!)

Most "large and in charge boobs" (got milk?)

Sign that boobs can grow flowers!

Shameless rip-off 
(it's Kate's Globes dress in red! And she wore it better)

Best use of sequins/paillettes

Scarlett O'Hara-inspired dress 
(turning bad curtains into a dress. I hate the shape)

Showing badly that the curtains match the carpet
(in a non-dirty way)

Best Use of Toilet Paper on a dress (still love it though)

Worst boob hair 

Worst Overall Look (tie) 
(I just hate the entire neckline of this. You're dating Jake Gyllenhaal, come on!)

(Bed head + bad fitting dress = disaster. You're dating JT, "woman up" and put together something better!)

Best everyday look (JCrew)
Is there anyone I'm missing? Overall, there were a lot of great looks last night. But some SCARY eye makeup. Lots of "cat eyes" or shimmer in places it should not be shimmering.

Also, I found out that I did win my work's Oscar pool! Woo woo! Much to celebrate today.

Finally, now that the award season is over, I'm thinking of adding another semi-regular feature here where I show the clothes, accessories, etc. that I'm currently coveting. This can be anything from coasters to cardigans to shoes. What do you think?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Key learnings, Restaurant Week part one and more snow

Happy Oscar Sunday! Squee! I'm so excited. And I'm still full from the beginning of Chicago Restaurant Week (more details below.)

Oh yeah and we got about 2-4 inches of snow again! Boo. Come on global warming, swing back around with a 60-degree day again.

Anyhow, back to Hugh Jackman and here are some key learnings.

Key Learnings:
  • It's acceptable to tip your eyebrow wax girl only 10 percent when she consistently calls you a "waxing sissy"
  • A snowed in Saturday is still fun as an adult
  • Drinking can really add up at a bar/restaurant. One drink at $6 suddenly multiplies into $30
  • Cutting hair out of your clogged vacuum cleaner is messy, gross and humbling. Enough hair for a small dog can be next to you at the end of the task
  • Shaving your legs during winter really isn't a priority 
  • You don't have to be a major Cubs fan to enjoy the thrill of getting tickets online
  • Riding in an elevator that smells like puke will make you consider doing it yourself
  • Note to guys: I don't watch you adjust yourself, please don't leer at me when I'm fishing out a hair that's fallen in my sports bra
  • Loud and obnoxious drunk girls who sing in the hallway still irritate me, even if it's before midnight
  • There is no graceful way to regain your balance when you slip on the wet bus floor in boots. Just fall and let it go
Chicago Restaurant Week (part one)

As I mentioned Friday, Restaurant Week is going on right now in Chicago and this weekend I hit my first two restaurants, Prosecco and Carnivale. Below are highlights of both.

Prosecco - Grade: B+

Starter: Butternut and acorn squash with pancetta - amazing. Great flavor, very smooth and a lovely start to the meal

Meal: Butter noodles with braised pork loin and red sauce - also amazing. Very light, well seasoned and the pork loin was very well prepared

Dessert: Tiramisu - not great. In fact, it was still frozen when served. I could taste the "freezer crystals." Definitely a disappointment, but not enough to kill the entire meal

Carnivale - Grade: A

Starter: Spinach, Parmesan cheese and butternut squash empanada - superb starter. Only complaint was the empanada crust, which looked like a Hot Pocket

Meal: Beef tenderloin, peppers and aji panca with rice - very well done. Meat was perfectly cooked and the beef went together very well with the rice, pepers and aji panca (I don't know what that is, but it was awesome)

Dessert: Coconut flan - very nice finish with heavy whipping cream and caramel. 
This week I have two more places to visit and I'm excited about both. I'm trying to sample different types of cuisine through this, such as Vietnamese and Latin, which I don't eat on a regular basis, but am excited about trying.

Giveaway winner

Drumroll please! The winner of my BOCA giveaway is......Working Girl Two! Congratulations! Please e-mail me at with your contact information and I'll ship out your prize this week! Thank you again to everyone who entered, I'll let you know if I can do another one soon.

How was everyone else's weekend? Do anything fun? Are you watching the Oscars?

Remember! Tomorrow is my Oscar's fashion recap, be sure to check back and let me know if I hit the mark or forget anyone.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Tidbit Thursday

So my last post was a little heavy topic-wise, I thought I would lighten it up a little today with some fun bullets!

Let's check out what's noodling around in my noggin.
  • Over the weekend, I bought a summer dress from JCrew for 10.25 percent off (no sales tax.) And I am LOVING it. Even though I've only worn it in my apartment's not summer outside...yet, I cannot wait for it to warm up so I can wear it. The dress is a shorter version of this one in chocolate brown
  • And because I'm weak, I also bought more JCrew argyle socks, which I'm am obsessed with. I have four pairs now and have my eye on two more pairs. I don't know why I'm obsessed with it, but I feel like it allows me to indulge my inner preppy personality...and I like it!
  • For some reason, I have been very forgetful lately, which is unlike me. I can remember very random things about anyone. My recent incidents include: running into walls, nearly missing dentist appointments and forgetting parties I've RSVP'ed for. It appears as though my mind is scattered
  • Tomorrow starts Chicago Restaurant Week and I am so excited I could spit. For one week each year, select Chicago restaurants open their doors and serve prix fixe lunches and dinners for $22 and $32 respectively. This year I'm going to four restaurants: Prosecco, Carnivale, Le Colonial and Coco Pazzo. Expect pictures from the first two places on Sunday
  • Speaking of Sunday, it's Oscar time and my work is doing a pool. Fortunately, I just got my Oscar edition of Entertainment Weekly so I'm ready to put my $2 in and vote. Keep your fingers crossed that I win!
  • Also, I'm f*cking TIRED of this winter weather. Today was minus zero again with the wind chill and now another winter storm is heading our way. I've lived in the Midwest my entire life, but suddenly, warmer, non-winter climate is lookin' real good
  • I'm still puzzled by a man at the gym who was headbanging to his iPod one minute and then admiring himself in the mirror while moving his hips in Shakira-like fashion. People at my gym are weird
Oh and here is the picture of me holding the Oscar that I mentioned in Sunday's post. I want to thank my dad, family and of course, myself. I could not have done it without you!

Does anyone else have big plans for the weekend?

Also, since the Oscars are Sunday, I will be featuring the best/worst dressed stars on Monday. Feel free to prepare yourself for the lack of mercy I will show by checking out my past SAG and Golden Globes recaps.

Reader note: Thank you to everyone for your great comments on Tuesday's cheating post. I really appreciate everyone sharing their personal stories and thoughts on it. It was really interesting to read  everyone's opinion on it.

Also, I'll post the winner to the BOCA Balanced Living giveaway on Sunday too!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

How do you define cheating?

I am a pretty forgiving person, but I am pretty cut and dry on the topic of cheating.

Cheating is something I do not tolerate. Call me unforgiving and rigid, but I have more experience with cheating than I want to, so this has shaped my opinion on the topic.

In my experience: If you're really happy in your relationship, you don't cheat.

When my ex-boyfriend admitted he cheated on me - to help his conscience feel better - I asked why he would do this, especially because I thought we were happy. And he said, "if I had everything I wanted, I wouldn't have had to look elsewhere." Yes. He was a winner.

But some of my guys friends have said, "what do you define as cheating?" And let's look beyond the whole Road Trip movie definition of cheating, being in separate area codes, etc.

Is kissing cheating? Especially if it happens in a bar while intoxicated? You might not have knowingly done it otherwise so it shouldn't count right?

Hmmm, that's a tough sell. It may be misguided but "in vino veritas" has some truth to it. Usually, if I've had too much to drink, I may misbehave but it's because my actions have some element of truth to them. Especially when it comes to guys.

I'm not saying you have to be a saint and never look at another man or woman again, but I almost have to agree with my ex, if you're really happy, you don't cheat, in any way. I also firmly believe in trust in a relationship too and cheating betrays that fundamental trust. Honestly, I don't know if I could ever trust my boyfriend again if he cheated.

For girls, I also adhere very well to the rule of "not dating a friend's ex." I fear I might be one of the few that still do this too after two former friends dated two of my separate exes and told me to "get over it." Maybe this is a bigger issue of attracting the wrong kind of people to me as friends/boyfriends.

I really enjoyed the feedback to my post about living together before marriage so I'm very curious to hear everyone's thoughts about this topic too.

Could you forgive cheating, or have you in the past? If you did cheat, did you tell your boyfriend/girlfriend? Or would you date your friend's ex? Is there ever a gray area in that issue?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Things that scare me

I'm not a scardey cat, but there are a few things that scare the sh*t out of me. My friends find many of these items amusing so I figured that I'd open up the shame to everyone else!

Here are the things I'm scared of:
  • Mice - My stepmom and I have the same reaction when we see mice, we scream and run for high ground. Until mice start climbing stairs, I will find refuge from them on another floor
  • Pigeons - Especially city pigeons. I've said this before, but they scare the crap out of me. When they come uncomfortably close to me, I scream like a girl and hide behind the person walking next to me. Yes, I look crazy
  • Bees - Speaking of crazy, I also look crazy when these little bastards come around. I will do the absolute wrong thing and swat at them, squealing like a baby and running away. It's amazing I've haven't been stung more
  • Grates - I'm terrified of catching a heel in a grate (like JLo in Wedding Planner) or it breaking while I walk over one. I never walk over them if I can help it. When it bounces, it makes me very nervous.
  • Sharks - Thanks to Jaws, I'm terrified of any body of water, including a bathtub and swimming pool. Showers so far have proven to be safe
  • Bats - In Minnesota, I woke up one morning with a bat flying around my room. I won't lie, I thought I would die of rabies. I wasn't bitten by it but still, it still haunts me
  • Unattended dogs - I don't care how well behaved they are, if I see a dog leashless or unattended, I panic mildly, thinking it will tear off my face. Most times dogs are very well behaved in the city, but there are a few with negligent owners who ruin this
So what I have learned from this list? I am a total sissy. S-I-S-S-Y.

What are you afraid of? I can't be alone in some of these fears.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Key Learnings, flowers, holding an Oscar and housekeeping

I'm super excited that I get to squeeze one more day out of my weekend. Of course, this is my last "holiday" until Memorial Day, so I'll definitely make it count! 

So while I'm preparing for another day off of work, here are some key learnings.

Key Learnings:
  • If someone asks you what you think of their mustache. Answer honestly, they did ask for your opinion
  • Describing a dress color as "turd-like" near a salesperson is not a good idea
  • Laying on the couch, watching TV and reading until noon should be a daily requirement
  • It's okay to whisper, "mama loves you, come back to me" to your laptop before leaving it with the Genius Bar for minor repairs
  • Shopping for wine glasses can be very confusing/time consuming. They all look alike!
  • Popcorn + soda = good, but popcorn + soda + more popcorn + beer = tummy ache
  • Don't remind your single friends that they're "alone" on Valentine's Day. Thanks, we got the memo
  • The Oscar award is heavy, but a good bicep workout
  • The weather really can go from 60 degrees to snow in one week. Thanks global warming!
  • Unfortunately, little cleaning elves that will clean your apartment while you sleep and disappear in morning do not exist. Darn.
  • Hearing someone say, "I like spending time with you," is always a nice warm fuzzy moment
Suck it Valentine's Day

I know it's dumb, but Valentine's Day is a buzzkill for me because it reminds me that I'm single, not that there's anything wrong with that. And for some reason, this year, I was extra down about it. But fortunately I was off Friday and avoided watching the cavalcade of flowers come in the office. Yes, that's never fun to watch either.

But this year, dad came to the rescue again, sending me a lovely card, saying how much he enjoys spending time with me and how proud he is of me. Yes, I teared up while reading it. It's always nice to hear someone say that about you. 

Then the real surprise came on Saturday when I was getting ready to go out and I got a call that there was a FLOWER DELIVERY for me. For me! I ran downstairs and found that dad sent me the most beautiful arrangement with pink tulips. He is the best.

Dad says he will recognize Valentine's Day for me until I have a nice guy who will take his place. Man does not know that he will be paying out for this holiday for the rest of his life :)

You like me, you really like me!

We are one week away from the Oscars and this week I have to finalize my picks and opt into my work Oscar pool. Feeling good about the latter. 

But before the big event, I was greeted by a traveling Oscar exhibit at Nordstrom on Saturday. For free, you could have your picture taken with a real Oscar replica (yes it's heavy) and see Clark Gable's original Oscar from 1934. 

I wanted to bask in the moment of holding an Oscar replica and thank my family, but you were quickly ushered in and out, so that was short-lived, but here are some pictures from the exhibit. My Oscar photo isn't available online yet, but I will post it soon!


Two final quick notes:
  • I included a badge on my sidebar for the Everyday Adventure's blog network on Facebook. If you're on Facebook and want to join my network, that would be awesome! Let's network and connect

  • Don't forget to enter my balanced living giveaway, last day to enter is Wednesday!
How was everyone else's weekend? Am I the only one who has tomorrow off?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Defining your sense of style

A treat from the Postal Service arrived tonight in the form of the new Nordstrom catalog, which got me thinking about fashion, and making of list of things to by for summer.

Living in the city, I see a lot of glamorous women, dressed in designer clothes or looking more put-together than me on a good day.

This can give any woman some anxiety about their looks. They say fashion should be fun and effortless, but it doesn't always feel that way.

I guess I've been watching a little too much What Not to Wear lately :)

For me, I love a classic, elegant style, circa Grace Kelly or Jackie Kennedy. Their looks were refined, subtle and multifunctional. You could take one staple item and dress it up multiple ways for different looks. That's why, for me, a classic LBD is a great investment because you'll have it forever.

My fashion magazines say that in your 20s, you should try a lot of different styles and play with fashion. I may have started on this concept a little late, so I'm giving myself an extension still for a few years. My staples are black, gray or white, which I love to dress up with fun jewelry. Since my clothes are pretty simple, I like big expressions of color with jewelry (without being garish.)

Cocktail rings, bold necklaces or even a crazy belt can make any gray long-sleeve shirt look more than casual. I focus on this more because as my weight has fluctuated, so do the clothes that fit, so jewelry is best because it always fits, much like purses.

Oh and you can bid on John Krasinski's tux from the SAG Awards. I wonder how much extra it would cost to have him show up wearing that. It'll be on my floor very quickly :)

So I'm wondering today, how do you describe your personal style? And if you could only save one clothing item or accessory from a fire, what would you save?

And in case you didn't already, enter my giveaway

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Purple nail polish and bloggers

I love the color purple and bloggers, but I do not love that I've become a morning person.

I tried to fight it, but mornings are when I'm the most productive. I can multi-task easily, don't get easily annoyed by things (cough in the office) and have the most energy to go out and take on the world! Of course, that means I'm ready for a nap by 3 p.m. or need to "power nap" before going out at night. But at least I don't eat dinner at 5 p.m. so that doesn't make me...too old...right?

And yesterday morning I was bursting with excitement for a spa night (more details to come), running downstairs to some co-workers to say, "woo, woo, it's going to be a great day!" They thought I was crazy. In fact, by 9:30 a.m. I was at work, in my favorite JCrew cords that fit again (yay gym!), working easily through e-mail and saw yesterday's post was on Brazen Careerist's Web site. I was on fire! (not literally)

So what better way to celebrate a great morning than hang out with some awesome Chicago bloggers at Spa Soak in Bucktown, courtesy of BOCA? Note: BOCA is a company client.

BOCA treated us to a lovely evening of mani/pedis (which my fingernails were very excited about), chair massages, drinks and nummy food, including some amazing coconut cookies. I've not eaten a lot of BOCA burgers before but the few I have tried have been very tasty. I like meat, but these aren't a bad alternative.

I even got to meet other Chicago bloggers, like April and Nilsa, for the first time too! I love meeting new people in the city. Especially when they are hilarious and fun to talk to. Oh and I have super awesome purple fingernails. They are fierce.

And another huge highlight of the evening (which caused me to spend an hour picking out the perfect outfit ahead of time), I got to meet one of my favorite bloggers, Miss Zoot. Her blog was one of the first ones I've ever read and I think she is hilarious. I also think her youngest son is adorable. Like too cute for words, I can't even begin to describe the cuteness. She was at the event and I tried not to sound like a scary superfan, which was very tough.

Who's got two purple thumbnails and feels more relaxed? This girl!

I even got a nifty BOCA gift bag to giveaway to one of my readers! The gift bag includes: a yoga mat, reusable shopping tote (perfect for unexpected purchases while out), relaxing CD and day planner. The photo below isn't the best but this is a great gift bag.

To enter: Leave me a comment letting me know what you do to live a balanced life. This can be anything, such as going to the gym or for a run, playing sports or taking an art/writing class. Cut-off date to enter is Wednesday, February 18. So tell your friends and tweet out the news!

Don't want to enter the contest? That's cool, feel free to still leave me a comment about how you pamper yourself on a daily basis. I'm a big believer in a little treat each day.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The sweetest sin? Living in it

I am a sinner and one sin I strongly believe in is living in it before marriage. 

This topic came up this weekend and I love hearing people's feedback on it, especially because I'm so pro-premarital cohabitation. And as a child of divorced parents, I think living with a guy before marriage is important. Okay, maybe my guy and I would have to be engaged first, but either way, we're living under one roof before we say "I do." And being on that side of the issue makes my friends rationale against it so interesting.

For example, a friend of mine who got married a while ago worried that not living with her now-husband before marriage would be a tough adjustment. When I asked her if she could get over any little quirks that irritated her about him, she said, "we'll have to work out any disagreements because divorce isn't an option." 

Okay, that might be a little extreme, but dating someone and living with them are two very different things. And from first-hand experience, it can be a huge adjustment for both parties. I would rather deal with any issues right away, rather than letting then pretending it rolls off my back. And for some reason, the idea of not living together before marriage seems a little old fashioned? Not in a bad way, but just surprising. 

So what about everyone else? Would you or did you live with your spouse before you got married? And if you did or didn't, would you do go back and do things differently?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Key Learnings, Sephora temptation and Oscar movies

I hate to say it, but I love global warming. After a painfully long January and cool February start, Saturday was by far the best day in awhile. Temps in the 50s? In February? In Chicago?

Whatever is causing it, I'll take it. I love opening up the windows to air out my apartment. I also sleep a lot better with fresh air too. And now the weather is more mild this week? Holy cow, I'm not complaining. I love it! 

So now let's close the weekend with some key learnings.

Key Learnings:
  • Quitting drinking during the week is tougher than starting to drink during the week
  • Before going on a wild goose hunt, always call stores ahead of time to make sure they stock the item you're searching for
  • Man furs, especially man fur vests, will always draw looks from a crowd (and giggles)
  • Just because it's 50, doesn't mean you should be out in shorts and leggings with T-shirts. Let's not get too crazy
  • A real gentleman will carry your obnoxiously large Crate & Barrel bags for you while walking through a crowd
  • Low-key Friday and Saturday nights are a nice change of pace once in awhile
  • Couches have a magical healing power to help you relax and feel better if you're sick
  • Scalp massages always feel nice when getting your hair done
  • All salons should provide wine to customers. It makes paying much easier
  • The best mimosa's are 10 percent OJ and 90 percent champagne
  • It's okay to be afraid of pigeons. They do get uncomfortably close in the city
Sephora love
Although I'm watching my spending, I decided to budget a little money for a treat and headed to Sephora on Saturday. My goal was get something practical and economical, not crazy. Trust me, I would love to roll around in eyeshadow and blush shades, but I need to keep it real too. Sephora is a girl's playground. Rows of make-up with a generous return policy, it's a win-win.

My only complaint is that there is never enough staff around to help. I end up having to track people down or wait for them to finish helping another customer, which ends up taking forever. Saturday, I had to answer my own questions, which left me with two hands full of foundation and concealer tests. I now have makeup all of my jacket too thanks to the tests.

In the end, I left with two items: Smashbox Under Eye Brightener and Clinique "All About Eyes" concealer. The only one I'm not 100 percent sure about is the concealer but I look forward to playing with both!

The Oscars
The Oscars are about two weeks away and I'm back to my one-movie-every-weekend routine. This weekend, a friend and I saw Gran Torino. It was shut out from the Oscars, but it was still good. I don't know if I'll get to see the Reader or Benjamin Button before the big show, but I don't think that will change up my pool too much.

How was everyone else's weekend? What movies do you still need to see before the Oscars? Or what one do you refuse to see until it's on DVD/Netflix?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Rant: What's weight got to do with it?

I might be late to the game on this, but the Jessica Simpson weight news is really irritating me. And the part that irritates me the most is why the media asks other celebrities about it, basically saying, "hey, Jessica's fat again, what's up with that?" Quite a lead-in for that night's show.

To be fair, the outfit that she's wearing in these pictures is not flattering at all. Unless you're rail-thin, high-waisted jeans just won't work. And that belt? Bad choice too.

Regardless, my first thought when I saw this and all the ensuing media coverage was...WHO THE HELL CARES IF SHE PUT ON WEIGHT? Seriously!

Guess what? I am still having trouble losing the weight from Christmas. Does that mean my friends and co-workers need to contribute comments about how they support me, or chastise me for getting into "bad habits" again?

Jennifer Love Hewitt graced magazine covers when she sold out and turned into a Stepford Wife and now Jessica Simpson is making headlines, scaring young girls to put down that donut by making her an example of what happens when you put on weight.

While Jennifer was praised, Jessica is dissected, examined and rationalized as to "how could this happen?" God forbid the girl has another helping (or two) of chips or chicken wings (hmmm chicken wings) and a few pounds come on. It appears as though that is the worst thing that can happen to you.

Oh and US Weekly said she weighs 135 now and as a woman who weighs more than that, I'm calling bullsh*t. Yes, we all carry weight differently but there is no way she weighs that, and that is okay! But if she does weigh more, why not come out with it, because if Tony and you don't care, there's no shame in hiding. In fact, according to my latest People magazine, you're proud of your body. 

So, if you want to show that you are comfortable with yourself, be a role model to girls that weight fluctuates and guys don't always care about how women look below the face.

I can say that as a more overweight teen, having someone come out in support of their shape, rather than hiding it would have been very helpful and it would have made some of the awkwardness around my body better. And knowing that some guys don't care about your curves or size, would have made me feel like I was more attractive and desirable. 

And please, no more high-waisted jeans. From one curvy girl to another, it's just not your look. Kthanksbye. Love ya.

Am I off base with my thoughts here? Or am I the only one who is irritated by this?

Reader note: Thank you for all the great comments on how you're cutting back in the recession. I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one living a little more frugally than normal. Fingers crossed that this gets turned around quickly. And again, welcome to all new commenters!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

When the recession starts getting real

Yes this sounds like a bad Real World intro but right now the reality checks are coming in.

I watch the TODAY show every morning and sometimes, it just depresses me, hearing nothing but bad news about the economy, housing prices, layoffs, etc. I watch the segments and find a few interesting tidbits, but thought none of it would actually come close to me.

That is until my one of my best friends (who is also my first Chicago friend) was laid off last week. The news spread with the start of the phone call, letting us know the news and followed with a sense of total shock among my close-knit friends.

I was shocked that something like this could happen to a close friend of mine, and it immediately got me thinking about my situation. 

I'm a single-income woman in the city, fortunately with some money in savings, but no real back-up plan in case something awful happens. Suze Orman says men and women should have enough money in savings to pay their bills for six months in case we get laid off. Yeah in the city that is a lot of money.

To put more money in savings, I've started trimming back on my spending, or at least really trying to. So here is how I'm trying to stretch my dollar a little more:
  • Weekend budgets. I take out a certain amount of money on Friday and it has to cover me until Sunday, or until the money runs out to avoid going too crazy at the bar
  • Grocery shopping. I buy items that I can freeze and prepare for the week. I cook Sunday nights and reheat for the week. Yes it's not ideal but it keeps me from buying dinner every night
  • Cut back on lunches out. I'm not about eliminating all treats, but I brown bag it just about every day. Keeps down the office snacking too
  • Downgrade my Netflix account. I can barely get through the movies I get in the mail now, so I'll save some money here
So those are my ways to stretch some dollars right now. It's not a lot, but every little bit helps.

Is anyone else cutting back in "fun spending?" If so, where are you making adjustments in your budget? Or where is the one place you really don't want to cut back?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Random Monday thoughts

Well, it's Groundhog's Day...again. And because January wasn't long enough, Mr. Groundhog saw his shadow today, which means six more days of winter. Ding! I love that movie :)

Guess it's not time to put away the Uggs or deep winter jacket just yet.

Anyhow, today was kind of a long day so I'm putting tonight's random thoughts into a bulleted list, with a strong Super Bowl focus (for this week.)
  • Jennifer Hudson looked fabulous last night singing the national anthem. Her voice is still strong and she looked nervous but composed. She's a fighter and she came back with style. I totally want that outfit
  • I used to hate clothing tags that would itch my back or hip, but now that clothes have gone tagless, I have started wearing my clothing inside out more frequently. This especially includes: T-shirts and underwear. Last week, I wore clothing inside out at least three times. I'm a freak
  • The Office! After a disappointing few weeks, the Office was super awesome last night. Granted, I could always use more Jim/Pam sweetness in my life, but Dwight's "safety training" exercises were more than enough enjoyment. One of my favorite parts was during the fire when Angela threw her cat into the ceiling, only to see it crash back down on the opposite side of her desk. I could not stop laughing. 
  • I think Lulu (my Macbook) is having temper tantrums. Lulu has been freezing up a lot lately, forcing me to have to restart the computer without properly shutting down. So I turned on my inner geek switch and broke in my new back-up hard drive (just to be safe.) I would freak out if I lost all of my photos and music, so to be safe, I have a date with the Genius Bar this weekend!
  • As soon as I saw the GI Joe and Transformers 2 trailers last night, I could see my friend Ryan go into a child-like joy fit. I have a feeling I will be dragged to one or both of those movies this summer. I'll go willingly to one, but not the other
  • Super Bowl commercials - Careerbuilder: Tips and Doritos: Crystal Ball. Why? Throwing a snowglobe to get free snacks is hilarious and wishful thinking. And let's be honest, when you're not happy in your job, who hasn't cried constantly, screamed, daydreamed of being somewhere else or wanted to punch small animals? I do love koalas though.

  • My favorite all-time Super Bowl ad: Bud Light swear jar. I have a potty mouth so anytime TV beeps out swears, I cannot stop laughing. More immaturity

How did you celebrate the game? Or what is your favorite Super Bowl celebration food? The food spread was thin where I was, but I'm planning something bigger for the Oscars, with taco dip! 

Sometimes I wish the game was on Saturday night so I could fully celebrate with fatty foods and beer but I need to lay off the booze now anyhow.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Key Learnings, sales and my Chicagoversery

Happy Super Bowl Sunday! This weekend the "other" man in my life, dad, came for a visit and between that, Friday happy hour and a birthday party, I am ready for some quiet next weekend. Oh yeah, that's a week away, but it's never too early to plan ahead.

So take a break from the commercials and let's enjoy some key learnings.

Key Learnings:
  • Plaid pants are never a good idea for men or women. Ever
  • Just because you can wear a fanny pack, that doesn't mean you should
  • Lite beer still gives you beer gut the next day, and a wicked headache
  • Cracking lobster is messy and unladylike but oh so good in butter
  • If you get a good tax return, it feels like Christmas morning or your birthday
  • When parent's volunteer to pay for groceries, stock up and always take them up on it
  • If a dress is on sale from $190 to $18 but needs alterations, get it. You'll save money in the long run
  • Women go crazy for deep discounts on a Saturday (I was nearly trampled at one store)
  • Calories don't count on Super Bowl Sunday (or your birthday)
  • There is never enough staff at the Apple store to help you when you have a quick question
  • When a woman says your boobs look amazing and perky in a dress, you buy that dress, flattery helps making purchasing decisions easier
Sales, sales, sales!!
I know this sounds crazy, but one thing I am loving about the recession is the retail sales. Dad got super lucky at Brooks Brothers with 60 percent off regular prices and I hit the JACKPOT at Banana Republic. I love the Banana Republic winter sale, when they clearance out fall/winter merchandise up to 60 percent off, but this weekend they offered an additional 30 percent off sale price. I got two party dresses, a skirt and cashmere hoodie for $90. Each of those items individually was over $90 at ticket price.

Finally...a Chicagoversery
I cannot believe it, but Saturday was my Chicagoversery. Four years ago yesterday, my dad moved me down to Chicago to start a three month internship, neither of us knowing how it would turn out.

Before I moved here, I never wanted to live in Chicago. Dad and I would come down for the day to shop and see the lights on Michigan Avenue at Christmas, but the thought of living here never crossed my mind. But around my 25th birthday, I was in a professional limbo. I couldn't find work in Wisconsin and I was tired of temping and having unstable employment. I was also recently let go from a job I hated and wondering if my career field was right for me. I was even looking at going to law school or nursing school as a back up.

So after a talk with my dad, we decided I would give my career one more try and apply for internships in Chicago. Within two weeks my company called me for an interview and a month later we were looking for apartments in Chicago. And now...four years later, I'm still here. Three months turned into four years and I have to say, moving here was a huge chance but one that totally changed my life.

Living in the city has given me the confidence to make it as an adult, on my own, and be the independent person I knew I could be. Things haven't always been easy and there have been bumps along the way, but for now, Chicago is home and I miss it when I go away for too long.

Stay classy Chicago, I'm not ready to quit you just yet :)

Here's a picture of me about a month after I moved here. My look has definitely changed :)

How was everyone else's weekend? It was almost...warm in Chicago. Yes, it was a balmy 35 degrees.