Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The awkward part of the date

So now that I've told you about my weekend dates, I need to share the most awkward part about the date with JohnBoy, which was the end.

For me, the end of dates is the most uncomfortable. Not the uncomfortable pauses in conversation during dinner or after I realize this guy isn't going to work out, it's the end, after the conversation is over, dinner is paid and it's time to say goodnight.

There is always that moment when it comes time to say goodbye of...now what? Do I hug, do I kiss, what is appropriate?

I don't give up or do anything I don't want to, but I never know if I should lead or initiate something. For someone (aka me) who is rather aggressive when she wants things, I get very timid and "traditional" when it comes to dating.

Back on point, when JohnBoy drove me home after our date, there was definitely an awkward moment of...what happens now? Outside of me getting out of the car and going home.

So we're sitting in his car, talking, I'm exhausted and ready to pop out one of my contacts ASAP and we're just...staring at each other.

Finally after crickets started chirping, I said thank you for the millionth time (I meant it too), I didn't think he was going to do anything (other than say thank you) so I go in for a hug. Not totally awkward, but the car isn't the best place for a proper one, and then.....oh what the h*ll, I planted a slightly drunken kiss on his cheek and got one in return. I mean, he did pay for dinner and acted like a total gentleman all night.

This may be sad to admit, but it's been a while since I had a nice kiss from a guy and if I had one or two more drinks, I would have definitely have "nicely" pushed him against the car door and gone in for some tongue action, but I didn't.

And after his "surprise" half-kiss, I hopped out of the car. I know, I wish I would have lingered a little bit too. I don't want to "peak" too early in hopefully our string of upcoming dates.

What part of the date do you usually fine the most awkward, or what do you do at the end of the date to avoid the awkwardness of saying goodbye?

Note: Thank you for the great comments on the date post yesterday :) I so appreciate all the kind words. And after reading everyone's comments, I agree, I think it's time to vote Dayton off of "Match Island." I just can't get over that wearing the same shirt thing either! You guys give great dating advice ;)

Monday, June 29, 2009

A tale of two dates

Yesterday I mentioned that I went on two dates with guys from Match, and because I'm not a tease, I will deliver on my promise to tell you about it.

But before we get there, two dates in two days with two guys? I know, let's say it, "holla playa! Heyyyyyyyy. Big pimpin. Oh yeahhhhhh."

Okay, moving on, I went out with JohnBoy for the first time and Dayton for a second time. Check out my mention of my first date with Dayton here. And if you follow me on Twitter, you'll know that Dayton has been sending some odd signals lately by saying, "yes I want to get together with you, but I need to keep my schedule flexible so I can go sailing if I want to." Not the best thing to share, but whatevs, we still got together to see if there is a spark.

Now, let's dish about the dates.

Date #1: JohnBoy, we'll always have tacos

I won't lie, I was really looking forward to meeting JohnBoy. We've e-mailed and chatted on the phone a few times, and he was always really sweet and funny. Raised in Atlanta and now living in Chicago, I smelled "southern gentleman" on him (and not Drakkar Noir) and said, yes, let's meet up.

So we did at De Cero in the West Loop post-20sb wine tasting and I won't lie, I was really nervous. So much so that my hands were actually shaking a little bit. Eeek that never happens!

Dinner was very nice, handmade tacos and a delish margarita, and JohnBoy was every bit the gentleman I thought he might be. From opening doors (car and restaurant) to letting me order first, to helping me with my chair, it was really nice. AND he even held the umbrella for me when it started raining after dinner.

OMFG who does that?

The conversation was good, few awkward pauses and I think we were on the same page with what we wanted long-term and how we feel about our careers. No, I didn't say I wanted to marry him and have his babies, but the topics came up very loosely. The date ended well and I told him flat out that I wanted to see him again. Let's hope I do! And he even sent me a playful e-mail on Sunday morning, and I couldn't help but smile when I saw it. Oh boy.

Date #2: Dayton - you had me at Rigatoni

I met Dayton Sunday night at Tarantino's at the recommendation of a work friend, who has very good taste in food. And she didn't let me down, the Lincoln Park restaurant was a perfect setting for a nice dinner outside and the meal was beyond fabulous. The leftovers will be too.

The locale and food was amazing. The Dayton's company was okay, but something seemed a little....off and platonic.

First, I was running late, due to Pride Parade cleanup, so I was already in a flushed rush to get there in a decent amount of time because I hate being late to places.

He beat me there and surprised me by wearing....the exact same dirty polo shirt and jeans that he wore on our first date. *crickets chirping* I'm sure this wasn't intentional but definitely caught my attention, especially when I'm in a cute sundress and accessories. He said I looked "professional," yet I would have settled for "nice."

Conversation was a little rough, every 10-15 minutes, he went on "screensaver" mode and would look off into space, making me fear he might pass out at any second. I failed CPR, so don't look to me to save you on that one.

But we did talk more about work and our personal interests. He made sure to make fun of my sunburn and talk a lot about his dog. A lot. No seriously, a lot. It also came up in conversation that he has issues with his family dynamic, coming from a divorced home. Been there, done that myself. There were definitely awkward parts in conversation and I was the more upbeat of the two of us, maybe it was a bad day?

So the date ended okay with him, with a chaste hug and saying he'd write me in a few days since we weren't hanging out until next week due to July 4th.

I won't rule things out with him, but the friend vibe is stronger than ever. So I think I'll give it one more shot with him and then maybe have the "talk" about how we're feeling toward one another.

And there are the tales of my two dates.

What was the best/worst date you've ever been on?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Weekend recap: Taste of Chicago, sunburn and bloggers

Hello hello and happy Sunday! Actually, today is more of my Saturday because I'm off tomorrow, but still, I can't believe it's the end of June! Seriously.

And I am totally 100 percent exhausted. It's been one of those great weekends when you're totally busy and don't mind because you're with great company but then BOOM it hits you all at once and you have no energy to physically do one more thing.

But before I give in to that exhaustion, let's take a quick trip around my weekend.

Okay first, there was the 20sb meet up and it was a lot of fun. We had a great mixer Friday at Rebel Bar in Wrigleyville and it was really nice to see some of my favorite bloggers again (along with awesome Chicago ones) in person. Then Saturday was the wine tasting with Farmstead Wines, which supports small farmers worldwide and uses a natural approach to wine making. All the wines we sampled were delicious, especially this puppy:

Oh it was good. Clean, crisp and refreshing. That would definitely get me in trouble because it's perfect for any meal, including breakfast.

But, actually, before the awesome bloggy goodness, I sacrificed my body to the ultimate in Chicago summer festivals: The Taste of Chicago.

Yes, the Taste of Chicago is an annual 10-day festival of mostly deep-fried food from various Chicago restaurants, many of which are served on a stick, on the bone or in a small paper bowl with a crappy plastic fork. And everything can be served on a stick, from popcorn to cheesecake to fruit. And why not, it keeps your hands from getting ridiculously dirty and allows you to still hold a beer.

Whenever you go to the Taste, you can count on one of these things happening:
  • It will be ridiculously hot/humid outside. On cue, every year, the temp rises to 90 and sometimes adds humidity as another kick in the nuts
  • You eat only hot food in the hot sun on the hot pavement
  • You sweat through your clothes (sexy, I know)
  • Sunburn will appear on one or several parts of your body
  • Your personal self-esteem will be boosted
  • You find out how little clothing people can wear with or without crossing the decency line
And for me this year, all these goals were achieved, exhibited in part by my new sunburned sleeve, check this b*tch out:

Yes, I should have known better, no I didn't wear SPF and yes, it's sore but it looks a lot better in this picture than it did Friday.

I sacrificed my arm for my rib sandwich, rainbow ice cream and perogi. That's how much I love you Chicago, you dirty wh*re. You better put out next time.

Oh and just as I was about to leave, some guy got BBQ sauce all over the crotch/leg of my shorts. And then laughed at me. Yes, I wanted to cut him and no, I didn't laugh back.

At the 20sb mixer, my new sunburn was a good topic of conversation because people kept touching my arm and said, "holy cow it's hot." Yes, sunburn is hot. And yes, it did hurt that night. Le sigh.

But even though I complain about the Taste and the heat and the sunburn, it's a Chicago tradition, much like Summerfest was for me growing up. It's the great summer festivals that make me love this city and get my hands dirty.

How was everyone else's weekend? Do you have any local festivals, similar to the Taste that you really enjoy going to every year?

Oh and yes I went on two dates this weekend. More to come on that.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Summer movie fever!

First off, today was a sad day. Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson both passed away, the latter came as a total shock. Michael Jackson was definitely more relevant to me than Farrah but both are sad losses. Time to dig out my Thriller cassette tape. Oh yes, I said cassette.

Now back to our regularly scheduled post.......

I am a total movie fanatic. I love going to see movies, smuggling in candy and taking advantage of its free heat or AC during the winter or summer.

And now that we're almost half-way through the summer movie season, here are the movies I cannot wait to go see:

Public Enemies
Love Michael Mann and of course Johnny Depp and Christian Bale. Bring it on! Plus it was filmed in Wisconsin :)

Time Traveler's Wife
This book broke a piece of me inside. That said, I'm curious how they will remake this. Plus Rachel McAdams is gorgeous!

Transformers 2 (woo hoo!)
Checking my brain at the door and watching lots of stuff get blown up. Awesomeness

500 Days of Summer
I'm obsessed with this trailer. I love Joseph Gordon-Levitt and there are musical numbers!

GI Joe
My brother had all the toys growing up, I think he's more excited about this than me. And there should be some sweet man eye candy too

Haven't read the book but I love Amy Adams and the trailer makes me want to learn to cook!

Funny People
Hopefully as funny as "Knocked Up" without being too long

Paper Heart
Cute story about falling in love. Cast looks great

Movies not on the list:

My Sister's Keeper
The book broke my heart, I know I won't be able to stop the tears. And I don't know how believable Cameron Diaz is as a mom

Harry Potter
I've never read any of the books or seen any of the movies. No lie!

On a quick side note, TC and I hit the movie theater last weekend and opted not to scan for guys but rather just enjoy the AC and relax.

We saw "Away We Go" and "The Hangover." I know, two TOTALLY different films.

First, "Away We Go" was great. I highly recommend it. My boyfriend John K was great and Maya Rudolph totally surprised me. She's matured well beyond SNL. Yes, John looks like Grizzly Adams (nothing a razor and scissors can't fix) but it was really well acted, written and directed. A great mix of happy and sad with some really funny scenes mixed in.

And "the Hangover," makes me look at my Vegas trip very differently! Boy it was tame in comparison. And it makes me want to go back to Vegas right now. The movie is absolutely hilarious, but slightly distasteful too. So go see it :)

What movies are you looking forward to seeing this summer? Any big plans for the weekend?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Kicked off the pop culture island

I do love celebrity gossip and entertainment news, but there are a few things I've been hearing a lot about lately, or I've been hearing about certain things for way too long.

So let the tribal council gather because I'm kicking the following things off my pop culture island.

I cannot begin to explain how much I loathe these two. If I had a nickel for every d-bag thing Spencer said, I could pay off my student loan and I don't like that. Between "the Hills" and "I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here," I'm tired of hearing about both of them. Fortunately, E! is on the right track by going "Speidi-free" and now we need to rally other celebrity news outlets to stop talking about them too!!

John & Kate (and ALL the drama)
I won't lie, I'm not a Kate Gosselin fan, but I don't want to hear any more about them. I've had more than enough over the last few months (this picture as one example). And last night came the expected result: divorce. Who saw that coming??? Wha?

Yes, the kids are cute and Kate's hair and behavior are beyond awful, but as a kid from a divorced family, this is the best thing for everyone. Kids pick up on their parents being unhappy, so I'd rather have them be apart and happier, which will ultimately be better for their kids. I hope they use the show's network-enforced hiatus to get back on track.

Scary pregnancy shows
These shows scare the absolute sh*t out of m. For example, TLC's "I Didn't Know I was Pregnant" or MTV's "16 and Pregnant." For me, the former is way scarier than the latter but both make me want to OD on birth control. In fact, I can't even really explain why these scare me because I'll start shuddering in a ball on the floor. I think the titles say it all

Melissa Rycroft
Getting dumped on national, live television is awful. I can only imagine how humiliating it was, especially after the man who dumped you, hooks up with another woman moments after you leave. That is awful, but you've done "Dancing with the Stars" and now you're on GMA and I think it's time life goes on. I'm tired of hearing how you got your "revenge."

Lindsay Lohan
I don't know what to say, she's a trainwreck. An absolute trainwreck. But I'm holding out for Britney shaving her head again so I am kicking you off the island. Oh and start wearing pants, leggings are not attractive on bony legs. And get your sh*t together girl, seriously.

Jennifer Aniston/Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie
Similar to my open letter to Jenn awhile back, why are we still talking about this??? Please, please stop and let them each go on being equally hot.

None of these things would ever be part of my desert island game. Ick.

Who would you like to vote off your pop culture island?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Online dating is WORK

Holy cow, this online dating thing is a serious time commitment.

On a daily basis you have to weed through possible matches, send winks, write e-mails, respond to e-mails and try to be witty, charming and just be yourself without getting fussy at the same time. This could be a full-time job!

Fortunately, since my initial Match.com phone call fail last month, I have had a bit more luck. I met a guy for coffee before my vacations, which was dubbed an official "date" by several blogger and IRL friends, and it went well. Apparently I made quite an impression too because he e-mailed me the next morning and asked to see me again. Wow. That NEVER happens. So I'll give it another shot. The date went well, not a huge spark but I'll try again and not rush to judgment.

And since date boy (who I will call Dayton) entered the picture, two more guys have too. So far that's just been friendly e-mails but one guy, JohnBoy, sounds really interesting so I'm anxious to meet him in person.

The one issue that has come up is that these guys are not the most "aggressive." For example, I was supposed to go out with a guy, Sam, this past weekend. He asked me out and then wanted me to pick the date, time and place. So that I didn't sound controlling, I got together some recommendations and asked for his thoughts, since, well he would be joining me. He was noncommittal on each and then proceeded to say that I should just take the reigns on this and tell him when to show up. Um. Yeah, that's not how that works. What is the problem with even just weighing in on the place? Bueller? Anyone?

And because we kept going back/forth, it didn't work out to get together but I'll try again, making sure this is more of a team effort. I'm a planner at work, that doesn't mean I want to be the planner at home all the time too.

Anyhow, I'm just saying, doing this online dating stuff takes a ton of time. Talking on the phone, deciding where to go to dinner, getting to know one another, awkward hug/kiss at the end and then setting up a plan to see each other again. Oy.

I need to be better at multi-tasking. And putting myself first because looking at my schedule, I don't have a lot of time to meet with these guys for the next week or two. I really need to work on this cloning bit.

Do you find that dating can be a lot of work too? Or do you like dating to be a little more "old fashioned" and have the guy plan the dates?

Personally, if he asks me out, I think he should take the lead in planning. But that's just me. Apparently I need to "man up" and be more aggressive myself.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Weekend recap: Dinner leftovers and minding the Gap

So remember all those tweets and posts I did where I complain about Chicago's cool weather and not being able to a) feel warm or b) wear my new, cute summer clothes? Karma is comin' back around because it is hot, humid and, well HOT here. I mean, I love the feeling of baking in the hot sun and my skin frying from it, just as much as the next girl, but whoa, some transition please!

But outside of the hot, humid, hair-hating weather, here's the highlights of my weekend:

Friday my parents came in town for a weekend in the city and we went to Art Smith's restaurant, Table Fifty-Two. We had a late reservation and it totally didn't disappoint. In fact, I came home with half our meal in leftovers because it was so filling and delicious.

If you go, I highly recommend the crab cakes, three-cheese mac, jambalaya and you MUST order a piece of the hummingbird cake. No, that's not code word for deliciousness (although it should be). It's actually a banana/pineapple cake with cream cheese frosting. And it's amazing.

The service was impeccable and it was a more adult crowd so not overly loud. And with the famous biscuits and deviled eggs to start, my parents were MORE than impressed (me too!)

I'm also proud to say the jambalaya and three-cheese mac reheat well. Tonight I continue working on the Hummingbird cake because the piece cut for us was massive. I love leftovers!

Minding the Gap
I keep my clothing simple. I like affordable, stylish yet classic pieces in my wardrobe, so if you ever go through my closet, you will see A LOT of Old Navy, Banana Republic and especially Gap clothing in it. You can also check my Banana Republic card statement history to see first-hand how much I love the Gap. It's the kind of love that hurts sometimes.

Anyhow, I was beyond excited when Justine from Brand About Town e-mailed me asking if I could meet up and chat with her about becoming a Gap brand enthusiast. Um, YES, I'm interested. Could there BE another job that's better for me (outside of my day job?) Answer: no.

Justine braved the harsh Chicago storms on Friday to meet with me at Lavazza and chat more about the Gap brand enthusiast role. And between us, I fear I sounded slightly insane because I was so excited. Nothing's set in stone just yet, but the opportunity to host a party with my closet blogger friends = awesome. I'm ready to go!

And after our chat and quick run through the rain, she showed me some of Gap's new styles at the store and then...let me pick out some stuff to take home. *crickets chirping* Best day ever. I had to try not to squeal out loud or jump up and down clapping like Kelly Kapoor. I did that later ;)

Here's the new stuff I got too, I cannot wait to wear it to work.

And no, I won't be "cinching" or "belting" the waist like the SNL Gap girls (for now.)

How was everyone else's weekend?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A healthy list of celebrity crushes

I like guys and read a healthy amount of celebrity magazines, so it's only natural that I have a long list of celebrity crushes. Some I'm very open about *cough John Krasinski cough* and some I need to put out there more. I can't let John think I'm just sitting around waiting for me.

(Note to John Krasinski: I'm totally ready to run off and marry you at any second. I just need to grab my purse. Call me)

So rather than focus on some recent family health issues, here is a list of my biggest celeb guy/girl crushes. Oh and for any man I date, it is totally okay for me to sleep with any of these guys. Consider it my "get out of jail free" card :)

John Krasinski
It can't be a huge shock that my uterus wants to give him LOTS of babies

Jon Hamm
Why yes Mr. Draper, I can come in your office to take a memo :)

Chris Pine
Beam me up Kirk! Rawr!

George Clooney
I just really want to say I slept with George Clooney. Timeless, just like Chanel

Ryan Reynolds
Boyish good looks in a chiseled man's body. Yes please!

Hugh Jackman
He can sing and dance. And likes women. Triple threat

If you notice, all of my guys picks are clean-cut, All-American guys. That shouldn't surprise anyone if you know me. I like 'em that way.

And now for the ladies....

Angelina Jolie
Gorgeous. Hands down. And her partner is really hot too

Isla Fisher
Love her hair. I wish my hair was that gorgeous

Leighton Meester
Preppy perfect and slept with Chuck Bass. Win, win

Reese Witherspoon
I love her look, style and man. I can't help that

Who are your celebrity crushes? Guy and girl choices can be shared.

Or does anyone have any big weekend plans?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Facebook makes me feel old

Once you set up a Facebook profile, you go through a variety of emotions:
  • Acceptance, yes, you have a Facebook account now. You're not left out in the cold
  • Shock, OMG friend requests from people I knew in high school and that guy I fooled around with for one night in college?
  • Joy, yes! I am more successful, prettier, etc. than people who were mean to me in high school
  • Stalker, hmmm John didn't call me back last night, let's check his Wall and see what he's been up to? Was he really "away from his phone?"
  • Old
That's right, I said it. I'm at the stage where Facebook makes me feel old.

Sadly, I'm passed the shock and joy phase, I've moved through those emotions and have now settled on the "old" stage of Facebook. Of the many Facebook acceptance levels, I really hope "old" is the last one.

I hit this stage when I checked my e-mail a few weeks ago and received the following "friend" notification.

"Jessica, Grace [last name] has added you as a friend on Facebook."

Grace is my 13 year old goddaughter/cousin. Immediately I thought it was a joke, and that a pedophile was pretending to be my goddaughter so he could talk dirty to me on Facebook chat and spam me.

To my displeasure, I was wrong. It was my goddaughter trying to friend me.

Once I accepted her request, I checked out her profile. And let me say, the girl is gorgeous, which I already knew. Five foot seven inches tall and all legs (bitch).

I am about to leave a note on her Wall when suddenly I see her status as "in a relationship."

IN A RELATIONSHIP??? WTF did I miss? She's 13 and has a boyfriend??? If she has a boyfriend, have they been necking or god...touching???

To see if my worst fears were true, I lovingly wrote on her Wall, while having a near heart attack:

"You have a boyfriend?? How old is he? Did you run a background check? Does he have good credit? DOES YOUR FATHER KNOW??" (I know my Uncle wouldn't take too kindly to a boy around his pre-pubescent daughter).

And as I hit "send" I realized, OMG I sound just like MY parents.

That was a tough realization.

While cowering in the reality that I am just like my parents and that I said a "parent-like" thing to my goddaughter, I came into work the next day and got another friend request.

"Jessica, Hannah [insert last name] has added you as a friend on Facebook."

Sitting at my desk, blinking disbelievingly at my screen I muttered, "motherf*cker" because my other 13 year old cousin was now friending me on Facebook. Was this a conspiracy to drive me crazy?

So I check out her profile and see a picture of her weighed down my heavy eyeliner, blue eyeshadow and mascara along with several revealing outfits that are way too small for her. Let's just say this, bosoms were heaving.

And when I saw her status as "in a relationship" I thought for a minute before I wrote on her Wall. What would I say to her that wouldn't make me sound like a fuddy duddy? My goddaughter felt the wrath of my adult rage, would I make another one feel the same thing? Well, I do like my goddaughter more than this cousin, so maybe I don't have to worry.

After a few moments of thought, I wrote out quickly, "like your profile pic, just remember, don't hand out the milk for free."

And hit "send."

Has anyone else had friend requests on Facebook that make them panic or groan? Or who do you hope NEVER finds you on Facebook?

Monday, June 15, 2009

The joy of roommates

For me, picking a roommate is almost as important as picking a spouse or a pet. Why? Because you are inviting someone into your home and living with them in a casual, personal setting. This isn't like work where you can retreat to a cube or "punch out" at 5 p.m., oh no, this person is with you at night and first-thing in the morning. Oh and weekends!

I've only had a few roommates because I learned very early on that I do better living alone. I have a tendency to be territorial and like 15 minutes of quiet when I get home, where my Blackberry isn't buzzing, phone isn't ringing or people aren't saying my name. Having a roommate who is okay with "quiet time" and no talking right away is tough.

I bring this up because today, one of my co-workers was telling me about looking for a new apartment/roommates and hearing her talk about it, reminds me of an episode of the Bachelor.

First, how awesome would it be to have a roommate rose ceremony full of tears, self-doubt and drama?

In the city, having roommate is a common thing, but the process of picking one, from interviews, to applications to credit checks to waiting by the phone to hear if you're in, it's very reality show-inspired.

I guess we can say that the group dates and making out with multiple people are optional.

And along with hearing about the interview process, it made me really feel fortunate that my roommate experiences to date haven't been life-scarring awful. Sure, they haven't been great but not unmanageable.

I've had a roommate that told me to "burn in hell," on a regular basis, one that didn't like walking in on my boyfriend and me making out all the time so she would passive aggressively slam doors early in the morning and one that would chastise my cleaning skills verbally to anyone that would listen. So not awful but not fun either. That is exactly why I live alone.

What is your worst/best roommate experience?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Weekend recap: Back from Boston

Woo hoo, I'm back! I'm back in Chicago and it feels so good!!

So after my adventure in Vegas, I came back to Chicago, rested my legs for a day and then jumped on another plane, this time to Boston, aka Beantown. And now, I'm finally back in the Midwest to stay. I missed everyone!

And because I'm totally exhausted, digging through 200+ e-mails from work and preparing to get back in my routine, I thought I would recap this trip in a fun bulleted format.

My Boston trip in the numbers:
  • Celeb sightings: Zero (I tried to stalk Ben and Jen but no luck!)
  • Photos taken: 300+ (I know, I can't believe I took that many too!)
  • Times I tripped on cobblestones: 8-10 (one hurt pretty bad)

  • Length of my stay: 5 days, 4 nights (turns out the Boston Craigslist Killer struck at our hotel. We didn't know that ahead of time. Still, it was nice!)
  • Total miles walked: Too many to count (helped me offset the beer consumption)
  • Restaurants visited: 6 (some examples below)
  • Times lost in the city: 2 (not bad!)
  • Beers consumed by me at Fenway: 4 (fortunately, I didn't say anything inappropriate, but it did result in the below picture)

  • Arms sunburned: 2 (both of mine are toasty red. Doh!)
  • Gay pride parade run-ins: 1 (it was dad's first one, he was very excited)
  • Women seen touching themselves pantless and underwearless on the street: 1 (that image is burned in my brain)
  • Fresh seafood dinners: 4 (the lobster roll below was amazing. Like, I died and went to heaven it was so good)

  • Pair of seersucker pants with embroidered pot leaves purchased: Zero (but it makes a great picture)

  • Children I told to "back off" so I could sit on the duck statue: 4 (they wouldn't share!!!)

So that is a quick little recap of my trip. Photos are in the process of being uploaded to my Flickr page too.

Thank you again to all of my great guest bloggers and everyone for coming and commenting on their posts while I was gone.

Oh and here's a nice little picture of dad and me that was taken on our Harvard tour. I was going for the "bookish-cute" look in my coat and scarf. Thank you JCrew corduroy for keeping me warm!

How was everyone else's weekend? Do anything fun? Or see any good movies?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Guest post: Childhood summers

This guest post comes from Mandy at Just A Small Town Girl. Mandy is one of my favorite bloggers who writes the some of the most thoughtful and memorable posts in my Reader. I love her style and am thrilled that she's guest blogging for me! Enjoy!

The other evening while watching my cousins softball game (one of the three teams she is on this summer) I made the mistake of asking my grandma how another cousin was spending her summer. I should have known better. My grandmother went into a diatribe about how this 12 year old was spending the summer just hanging out, not doing anything in particular. Unbeknownst to me this is a very touchy subject. Heaven forbid a child not have every moment of her day planned out for her.Heaven forbid a kid be allowed to be a kid.

This conversation made me think about my own childhood.

My friends and I ran wild for three long, completely unstructured months. The whole town was our playground. My brother and I would leave the house in the morning and often not return home until dinner time. We rode our bikes from one end of town to the other and everywhere in between. My friends and I played kickball in the middle of the street, occasionally bouncing a ball off a parked car. When we tired of that we would go to the library or to the cemetery, where we made up stories about the lives of the people whose gravestones we casually lounged around on. Lunch was eaten at whatever friends house we happened to be at the time -- usually peanut butter and jelly or bologna and cheese. Every mother in the neighborhood always had an endless supply of either with a loaf or two of bread made from the local bakery.

Our imaginations ran as wild as we did. We went on safari's trudging though overgrown grass and bushes of vacant houses. We were tightrope walkers gingerly walking along the high wall on the backside of the elementary school. Sometimes we hung out on the walkway over the state route , overlooking the football stadium watching the high school boys practice plays and whatnot for the upcoming season. Sometimes we would ride our bikes uptown to the Newstand, which didn't sell newspapers or magazines but rather had the best chocolate peanut butter ice cream around. After ambling home and hastily scarfing down dinner, we would find our friends again playing kick the can in uneven alleys until the street lights came on. After the street lights came on we usually scattered about going back to our respective homes. Sometimes a few friends and I would sit out on a deck or front porch with citronella candles that never quite kept the bugs away.

I loved having the days to do whatever I wanted. No one thought there was anything wrong with just doing as we wanted, going from here or there. We didn't have music lessons or traveling sports teams. Most parents worked and we kids survived just fine. We defined the lazy days of summer. We were just kids, and it suited us just fine.

How did you spend your summers as a child?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Guest post: Non-Bachelorette material

This hilarious post comes from Alexa at Cleveland's a Plum. And I have to say, ITA with her below that I could never be a reality TV star.

for many years i didn’t watch any of the seasons of the bachelor or the bachlorette because let’s be honest, it’s cliché as hell.

but for whatever reason my roommate and i really got into the last bachelor season with jason, melissa, holly and the second runner up jillian.

jillian is truthfully why we are watching this season’s bachelorette at all – we love her. the dreamy bachelor’s vying for her attention don’t hurt either (i’m looking at your ed and reid).

but after watching week after week I have decided that as much as I love the show i could never (EVER) be the bachelorette for a few specific reasons:

  1. no one needs to make out that much with that many people. just image what would happen if there was a mono outbreak!

believe you me, i’ve been known to be quite the make out bandit in my hay day but having random lizard tongues flicking me at every turn would be a bit much

  1. knowing that my family and friends would be watching me make out that much

the fact that at times I have to cover my eyes because i can’t watch the awkwardness of the smoochy boochy pillow talk and it’s people i don’t even know, i can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like for people that know me in real life

  1. getting fed constant bullshit

there’s no possible way that every single one of those guys are falling in love with her, it’s bull caca. watching some of the contestants is like watching a slimy salesman selling themselves for sloppy kisses. (except for ed and reid, they can do no wrong)

  1. “i think i’m falling in love with you”, “no i love you more”, “i never thought i could fall in love this fast”, “i don’t normally have feelings like this”

when i hear those phrases all that comes through is blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. i think there should be a drinking game associated with the bachelor and bachelorette that when any of those lines are uttered you have drink

and yet, I still watch – every. single. episode.

maybe i’m jaded, maybe i’m turning into a bitter old spinster, but i just don’t think i could be the bachelorette. that and the fact that the idea of me frolicking around a sausage fest in a bikini is something that no one deserves to see.

so what do you think - could you put yourself out there and be the bachelorette (or bachelor)? what about even just being a contestant?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Guest post: Guilty blog fodder

Why hello there everyone, it's Katelin here from gorgeous footsteps in the sand... and for
some reason Jessica let me take over her blog today. Really, I don't know what she was thinking, haha. But anyhoo, moving on.

So recently (aka today's post) I said there were some things that I would not write about on my blog anymore, but that doesn't mean I can't blog about them over here!! :)

Heidi and Spencer
. Oh my gosh. They are probably the most annoying people out there right now, but also the smartest. Everywhere they go they make a spectacle of themselves and some media outlet picks them up! Ah. It's a vicious cycle! I can't stop reading all the craziness of their TV show adventures (even though I refuse to watch that ridiculousness) and their newest endeavors like selling shampoo. Seriously, gaaaaaaaaah. When will the madness stop.

Octo-mom. Now it's been a while since I've talked about this crazy lady but with talks of her getting a TV show and saying crap about Kate Gosselin, yeah I'm going to try and avoid her like the plague.
The Gosselin drama. I haven't really talked too much about the family drama on my blog but it's almost getting hard not too. Every episode has been awkward and the family is taking over every tabloid like wo. But from here on out I'll avoid the drama talk and just stick to the cuteness of the kids and the show.

Twilight. Yeah right. I can't stop. It's like an addiction. Anything Twilight I have to read it! I cannot wait for the new movie to come out and I'll probably reread the series again and pictures of Rob Pattinson make me swoon and ummm I'll just keep being a spokesperson.

So is there anything you want to stop blogging about but can't? Or am I alone in my habits, haha?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Weekend recap: Vegas baby, Vegas!

Hey, hey everyone I'm back from Vegas! And the good news is, I came back unmarried and untattooed. Win, win!

As you know, this weekend I was in Vegas with a group of awesome and fun bloggers and it was a blast! This was the first time I've been to Vegas so I had to find the delicate balance of alcohol and sight seeing. It was tough.

And here are a few things I learned while I was in America's Playground:
  • Vegas is totally chick-friendly. If you're a woman, Vegas is the place for you. You can have any of the following things happen: get a high five, be talked dirty to in Spanish, be whistled at and get just about anything you want if you travel with two or more women. Clubs are your oyster!
  • Boobs are not a big deal in Vegas. In fact, they're everywhere on the streets. People hand out cards with boobs (and the "other" if you know what I mean) and after awhile you just go dead inside when you see them. Being a woman, if you've seen one boob, you've seen them all
  • Holy shit it is hot. We came during a "cool week," which was still in the 90s but damn, I was baking like a pig on a spit at the pool and on the strip. That sun is punishing, as my arms will attest
  • Your depth perception will fool you. I think this may be heat-induced but things look close together on the strip but they're not! Yes, the Bellagio and Mirage are next to each other, but it can take you 10-15 minutes to walk there because of other tourists and sidewalk space
  • Time doesn't really exist on the strip. Yes, the time change from Chicago (two hours behind) was tough because it goes by so quickly and then suddenly it's 5 p.m. and you're eating lunch and 11 p.m. and it's dinner time. It's madness!
Anyhow, Jamie, Allie and I arrived on Friday morning in Las Vegas and quickly ditched our stuff at the Luxor and hit the strip, where we first discovered that whole depth-perception lie crap. I live in Chicago, walk everywhere and was still begging for mercy by the end of the day. Sanctuary! Save me! 

So after some sight seeing and a lovely lunch with our other roommie, we met up with our blogger group and walked with them over to their dinner buffet. We would have joined them but we had to run over to the Mirage. Why? Because we had tickets to the Beatles Cirque du Soleil show, Love

And here's an overly sappy moment, I love the Beatles. I love them so much. I grew up listening to their music and on any bad day, I always play some Beatles music to boost my spirits. So the opportunity to see the show (thanks to Cirque) made me literally cry. And as you know, I'm not a huger crier. So I put on my best boob shirt and we went to the show! And it was AMAZING. The music, stage set up, dancing and stunts were wonderful. It was a true sensory overload and I am so glad I got to go. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Moving on to Saturday, after leisurely sleeping in until 1o:30 a.m. (12:30 p.m. Chicago time, hey ya!) my roomies and I met up with our blogger group at the pool (where I proceeded to get a decent amount of sun) and then hit the strip for more sight seeing, including a lovely tour of the Venetian hotel and "lunch" at Mario Batali's restaurant, Entocea San Marco, which had the best gelato I've ever had. 

View from our table at Entocea San Marco

And of course, that was followed by an epic blogger meet up at a bar in the Venetian, full of $5 glasses of wine, hilarious photos and a trip to the "best bathroom" as voted by the Las Vegas Sun. And from our group's consensus, it was awesome.
Katelin and me toasting out trip (before getting silly)

My bathroom stall. Tres chic!

On Sunday, The time change finally hit me and I was up and moving at 7:30 a.m. Vegas time (9:30 a.m. Chicago). So Jamie and I jumped in a cab, to save our legs, and headed to the far end of the strip to cruise through more casinos. In fact, I even rocked the penny slots (daredevil!) and was up 71 cents before losing it. Well, at least it wasn't the rent. We also met up with Allie, Katelin and Matt for brunch at the Bellagio, which was awesome and filling, without the full "food baby."

Another perk of the trip? My cousin and his wife live in Vegas so they picked me up and took me to the "burger mecca" of the west coast, In-n-Out burger. I won't lie, I was ridiculously excited for this trip. And after some apologies for my serious photo-taking, I snapped a photo of our Double-double before it was devoured. It was heaven.

We were some of the few bloggers staying until Monday so we grabbed Amanda and went back to the Mirage for dinner, where the restaurant was so fancy, we had to ask for the prix fixe meal because they didn't openly offer it. But it was SO worth it. And I know you're sad, but the restaurant's lighting prevented me from taking pictures of the food. FAIL. I know.

And in closing, yesterday we returned to Chicago, where I came back on budget for the trip but exhausted. Seriously, our flight was circling O'Hare for an hour. And after some turbulence, my stomach was NOT happy. 

But all in all, it was an awesome, fun, crazy weekend where I got to meet a lot of cool new people and get a break from Chicago, work, life, etc. It was a real adventure and now it's time to rest up before I depart from Boston. But, I'm sure I'll go back to Vegas in the future, but this time a little more gambling-savvy.

After all, Missy Jess needs a new pair of shoes :)

How was everyone else's weekend? 

Guest bloggers start up again tomorrow, but I'll be back in full force after the weekend when I'm back from Boston! So come on back now!

Oh and Jamie took this picture of me near the bronze Siegfried and Roy and tiger statue. It's too hilarious NOT to post.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Guest post: Gotta catch them all!

Hi all! It's Rachel from I'm a Mom in Real Life! The fabulous Jessica asked me to write up a guest post for her & since I love her to bits I said yes.

Oh wait, you don't believe that I love Jessica to bits?

You know what today is?

It's my birthday! How do I spend it? Telling people how awesome Jessica is!
So there you go!

I decided to make Jessica the next blogger in my Bloggers you should know series. So get excited because Jessia just got her very own;


Friday, June 5, 2009

Guest post: Chicago vs. Vegas

The first awesome guest post comes from the lovely Jenn at Free and Flawed. Enjoy! 

What is it about guest posts that turn even the most creative bloggers into a big ball of writer's block? Don't worry, this isn't turning into a blog post all about how guest posting is so hard. I won't make you read a list of reasons why guest blogging is so hard or how many topics I thought of before settling on this one. But just in case you wanted to know...No, no. I promised Jess a real post so here it is!

While Jess is off having a blast in Vegas, I'm here in Chicago nursing my jealousy wounds. I had originally planned to tag along, but due to the lack of piles of dough, I decided to stay. So instead of sulking around the apartment all weekend, I've come up with a list of reasons why it's better to be in Chicago.

  • While you're dumping coin after coin into the slot machines, I can just walk over to the closet vending machine. 75 cents in, tasty, refreshing pop out. I'm always a winner. 
  • I've seen 21, I know all about those card counters. While you're losing money at the tables, I'll be playing a mean game of Monopoly with my grandma. What began as a game of strategy and balls turns into a fun game of hide & seek. Where's grandma hiding those pink fifties?
  • If I'm tired of looking at boobs, I just turn off the porn. I mean...what?
  • You know that saying, "what happens in Vegas - stays in vegas"......uh.....if you believe that, yeah, you might want to check out "YouTube"......

If none of that means anything to you, I've saved the best for last. Wait for it...

Mwa ha ha ha! Winner. 

Hope you're having a blast in Vegas!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Leaving on a jet plane

Here's another thing I recommend: going on vacation!

I haven't been on a proper vacation in.......years? And why don't I take vacation? Two reasons: money and I'm a workaholic.

But, I did mention in a previous post about wanting to take a vacation this year and I was serious.

So tomorrow, I am getting on a jet plane with some awesome Chicago bloggers to meet up with more awesome bloggers in America's playground, Las Vegas.

And because I hoarded so much of my vacation time this year (oops!) I am taking a full week-plus off of work to go to Vegas and then out to Boston with my dad. We're going to get our "geek on" for New England history and hit up Fenway Park to see the Red Sox/Yankees. I'm beyond excited about going to the ballpark.

My two little mini-vacations will be good for me. I get to relax and unplug from work and just veg. And while I'm not in the best swimsuit shape, after a few drinks, I'm sure that won't matter ;)

So while I'm gone, I have some awesome guest bloggers lined up and I'll be back next week with a full Vegas recap before I head out to Boston. I'll also be tweeting from my trips so if you don't follow me, feel free to do so and live vicariously through me, I do it all the time with friends.

Oh and please forgive me for being behind on commenting, I promise to get to everyone!

Miss me!?

Does anyone else have big travel plans this summer? That's either destination bound or staycation?

Note: Thank you everyone for your comments on the wedding note post yesterday. I won't lie, I was a little surprised by some of the feedback, but everyone made valid points and I can see where everyone is coming from. People were very passionate and adamant about the topic, which is great, I love reading your comments on things like this.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Wedding thank you notes (and the drama with them)

Okay I need everyone's help tonight because I've heard a variety of answers to this question.

Wedding thank you notes: a) do you have to send them? and b) how long should it take to send them out?

Here's why I'm asking. Several ladies I work with just got married and while they were talking about sending out their thank you notes, one of them said that she had still not received a thank you note from a wedding she attended over a year ago.

The new brides (and single-girl me) were shocked.

Apparently, the woman's friend, who was the bride, mentioned something in passing that she enjoyed her wedding gift, but the gift giver never received a thank you note from the couple, by mail or e-mail.

And when she told us what her gift was (it came from that famous store in an Audrey Hepburn classic film) we were all extra shocked.

I think she should casually mention something to the bride or groom. Just say something casually, not accusatory. To me, it doesn't matter how big the wedding is, if people are thoughtful enough to bring you a gift, especially an expensive one, a thank you note is in order. Plus, if I found out other guests got a note and not me, I would be even more hurt.

What does everyone else think? I'm curious about your thoughts on this because I've heard different opinions about this topic.

Note: OMG I cannot believe I left out slap bracelets from yesterday's 80s post. Seriously, I loved those things. I might have to dig around for mine. They were slap-tastic! Hmm that sounds dirty.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

80s fashion comeback

Times are tough. The economy sucks, people are being laid off and money is tighter than Joan Rivers face.

But lately, I've noticed the economy has been extra cruel to the women of Chicago. Why? Because many of them can't afford a properly fitting shirt. Oh the humanity!

Women like you (minus the guys) and me are forced to buy shirts that casually fall of our shoulder, exposing skin and a delicate cami or bra strap, the other side of the shirt's neck coming dangerously close to to cutting their throat all in the name of fashion. I've seen this look multiple times downtown and it just confuses me.

For $1 a day, you can help a woman in Chicago to have a properly-fitting shirt, and keep her from dancing around a classroom to that Flashdance song.

I mean, that one-shoulder look was popular in the 80s FOR A REASON.

I'm all for exposing a little skin, an ankle or elbow here and there, but that shirt falling open when you lean forward...that's just putting out the wrong message. Cow + milk should NOT be free.

But that is just me. I love the 80s, especially the music, and not all 80s fashion is bad (minus the shoulder pads, what's up with that look coming back?)

So if you had to pick one 80s trend to bring back, what would it be? I'm torn between Jelly shoes and Hypercolor shirts. Loved those.

Note: Thanks everyone for the pants caption contest. I'll review the entries and let you know who is the winner.

I also forgot to mention something in yesterday's post. I got to meet up with Pam from Relish and enjoy my first Bobtail ice cream of the season. It's always nice to meet more great Chicago bloggers in person!