11 December 2008

things i'm so over...

  • The Rolling Stones, Coldplay, and Radiohead. Blech.*
  • Starbucks. evil. support local business - drink local coffee.
  • recession. spend some damn money. stop trading, silly traders.
  • strapless wedding dresses with poufy skirts. 
  • Tanning. we all have different skin tones for a reason.
  • K-State athletics. embarrassing.  
  • Store-bought sweets. gross. [that's store, not bakery]
  • big cars. cars in general. i love walking.
  • drinking shots. 
  • running.
  • winter. seriously - 6 months of this crap?
  • polaroids. 
  • Signed picture frame mats.
  • scrapbooking - maybe more accurately named crap-booking. stickers should have nothing to do with your photographs. i promise.
  • fast food. you really think that crap tastes good?
  • chemical cleaning products. grooossssssssssssssss! all method, all the time, please.
*After many years of declaring hatred for the Rolling Stones, I stated that I didn't mind them so much the other day. Then the radio station at my new work** played an all day marathon of those jerks. Hate is not a strong enough term. LOATHE is more accurate. 

**More on 'new work' later.

30 November 2008

getting to know me

Well, I have been tagged by my good friend and fellow blogger, Eric, of intern[life] to write 6 random things about myself. I'm pretty random, so this seemed an appropriate task.

The rules are:
-link to the person who tagged you.
-post the rules on your blog.
-write 6 random things about yourself.
-tag 6 people at the end of your post.
-let each person know he/she has been tagged.
-let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Here goes.

1_Maybe I'm just slow, but it takes me a while to figure some things out. For example, for the longest time, I thought the theme song to "The Golden Girls" said "and the heart attack would say thank you for being a friend." My mother later informed me that it was 'card attached'. Also, for the longest time, I thought that Sara Lee slogan went "Nobody does it like Sara Lee." Come to find out, it's "Nobody doesn't like Sara Lee." I think the first is better and makes more sense.

2_I've had the chicken pox twice. I figure that surely gives me a reprieve from having to do something awful later in life.

3_I don't eat turkey at Thanksgiving. Call me un-American, but I just don't. I don't really even like it. I'll eat turkey deli meat on a sandwich with other stuff, but certainly not by itself. The main reason for this is that my grandpa Chuck [my mom's dad] refused to eat poultry of any kind. Therefore, my mom doesn't really like turkey either. Growing up, our traditional Thanksgiving fare was always hamballs, or sometimes we'd be completely random and just cook a favorite large meal, like corned beef and cabbage. This year I ate smoked salmon. No turkey. [By the way, you know, the pilgrims didn't actually eat a turkey. They likely had waterfowl of some kind. NPR said so.]

4_My mom and I have almost identical birthmarks.

5_I hate any workout that isn't dancing. Were it not for making me feel and look better, I probably wouldn't exercise at all.

6_I thought I would try to be a vegetarian for a month this summer. That lasted for about 2 days. Then I ate a bratwurst.

Now I tag:
Sam, whose blog is pretty much dead

I know - that's only 5, and probably only 2 people will do it, but that's all I got, people. I would tag Amy, but her blog is dead, too!

22 November 2008

tiny wooden peoples

IF I were to be so traditional as to put two tiny peoples on top of a wedding confection, I would order these freaking adorable little wooden peoples - custom painted to look like Don and myself from GooseGrease on Etsy. [Or I'd save $35 bucks and paint some myself...] 

Don was not so much filled with child-like delight when I showed them to him... Clearly something is wrong with him. Or he's not a miniature obsessed girl. 

p.s. If you do not know of the wonderful, handmade loveliness that is etsy.com, go there now! DO IT! 

10 November 2008

American History

I've been avoiding politics on this blog. So, in lieu of politics, I give you a piece of American history (ok, slightly political). 
I was in Grant Park to witness one of the most significant moments in American history. I was in Grant Park the night America elected its first African-American President. I was in Grant Park the night MY vote actually helped to elect a president. I was in Grant Park the night MY generation stood up and took responsibility for their country's future. 

On November 4, 2008, Don and I joined 120,000 other people on Hutchison Field in Grant Park to celebrate the election results and hear Barack Obama speak. This night was a full circle experience not just for our country, but for Don and myself as well. Ever since the 2004 DNC, we've been hoping Barack would run for president. For the first time in our young lives, we were involved in a political campaign. Beginning in January of 2007, we started doing our part to support Barack Obama's bid for the Democratic nomination, and eventually president. We donated our money, our time, our cell phone minutes, and our prayers. We called volunteers and voters. We voiced our opinion even when it wasn't popular. And for the first time our vote for president counted. 

Because Don is so awesome, he was able to score us a much coveted ticket to get onto the field for last Tuesday's party. Before we were on the field, I was really nervous about being in the midst of such a large crowd. Once we were there, however, my fears were calmed. The energy of the crowd was so positive and electric. Each time CNN announced that another state had come in for Barack, the crowd erupted in cheers. During John McCain's concession speech, the crowd in Grant Park was extremely respectful and clapped for the great Senator. (I would like to note, that although I'm a fervent supporter of Barack Obama, I have the utmost respect for John McCain, and think that his speech that night was very gracious and genuine.) Then the celebration portion began. We said the Pledge of Allegiance with 120,000+ people. We listened in awe during the National Anthem. And then Barack Obama took the stage and gave a serious and inspiring speech. People were crying, hugging, laughing. On November 4, 2008, Chicago was the center of the world. And we were a part of it - a night that I will forever remember. 

Whether you agree with Obama's policy or not, you can not deny what a great and historical moment this is for our country and the world. You also can't deny that he is the first transformational figure to inspire my generation, a generation of apathetic entitlement, to get up and get involved in their government and communities. Millions of Americans, of all ages, who had never been involved in politics volunteered their time and talents to help elect Barack Obama. 

And it worked. 

So I ask you, what were you inspired to do to help your candidate? Did your candidate inspire you to make phone calls, join your neighbors and volunteer, or donate small amounts of money to make a positive change? Did your candidate inspire you to research BOTH sides of the issues, to respectfully listen to both parties, and to engage in intelligent and respectful discussion with those whom you disagree? The election is over. An overwhelming number of Americans voted and put their trust in our next president. And as Americans, we all have a responsibility to work together to be involved in our government and communities to make our world a better place. If that's not something worth believing in, then I don't know what is.

This last picture is the sea of people filling Michigan Avenue after the rally. As far as you could see up and down Michigan Avenue, were thousands of elated people walking, dancing, cheering. There were 250,000 people in the Grant Park area, and not a single incident or arrest occurred. 

(On an even more serious note, I ask that you please pray for the safety of our President-elect and the other servants and leaders of our great country. They sacrifice more than we can ever imagine for our freedom, and it is our patriotic duty to do so.)

25 October 2008

how to make flaky, buttery pie crust...

(although not prize winning pie crust)

So, for the second year, I entered the Bucktown Apple Pie Baking Contest. If you'll recall, I did quite well last year. This year did not go as well due to a snafu with our flame-throwing gas oven. But, this year's pie, titled "Butter Love" was deemed tasty by the public. My goal, besides winning, was to greatly improve on my crust technique. I am happy to say that I did make great strides in that department. 

If I were a super hero, my name would be Suzie Butters. My secret weapon would be butter - I already use it in pretty much everything. (Paula Dean is right - it makes everything butter, errr, I mean better.) Not surprisingly, my secret to flaky, buttery crust, is a whole lotta butter. Here's how I do it:

1 - spend way too much time cutting a stick of butter into tiny pieces

2 - refrigerate, mix with flour and other stuff

3 - form into disk and put back in fridge before rolling out
4 - roll out, refrigerate some more, put in pan, fill with goodness, top with second crust and crimp edges. then bake (obviously).

This was my first practice pie of the season before baking. 

These were my competition pies (before baking), which had it not been for the oven snafu, would have been completely perfect prize winners. I'm sure of it. 

I'll get 'em next year.

30 September 2008

ridin' fixie

Now that Don and the bike are fully recovered, I thought I would post about said bike. Don inherited this 70's-ish KHS bike from my Dad when we moved to Chicago. First, he bought new wheels, including a flip-flop back hub (for single or fixed gear option). He stripped off the 12 gears so he was left with a single-gear bike. He was riding it a lot after this conversion. Then he crashed. Which led to the rebuilding of the front wheel, new crank and pedals (to prevent repeat crashing), and new leather grips to replace the old foam ones. I bought him the lovely Brooks leather saddle for his birthday. Then he bought a new chain, replaced the brake cables, and flipped that back wheel over. And now he rides fixie (with brakes) like all those hipsters.

I wanted to do a simultaneous post about my bike, but the ol' Jetfire is in need of further repair before she's completely decked out. Although she's lookin' much better than when I purchased her on Craigslist.

15 September 2008

lucky me

i always enter free give aways on a number of blogs that i frequent. and i never win them. until today! i just found out that i won this.

07 September 2008

louis kahn was right...

...the brick really does like an arch
*the southwest corner of division and damen streets, chicago [click to enlarge and fully experience the splendor that is chicago's victorian brick-work]

And if you think of Brick, for instance,
and you say to Brick,
"What do you want Brick?"
And Brick says to you
"I like an Arch."
And if you say to Brick
"Look, arches are expensive,
and I can use a concrete lentil over you.
What do you think of that?"
Brick says:
"... I like an Arch"”

27 August 2008

more beer please

Mindy was the only one to guess correctly. Other people emailed or called me instead of posting (problems with instructions, I see). We're drinking beer at our wedding, fools! Our honeymoon is a beer tour of Belgium - no chamy for us! And we're not so traditional. For example, we won't have a stacked wedding cake. They're expensive and not so awesome. We're certainly not interlocking arms while we toast either. I think that's weird. We're also not tossing flowers or a garter. Or serving chicken. I freaking hate dry wedding chicken. My bridesmaids won't match - unless you count the same color fabric as matching. They also won't be shiny. Don hates shiny bridesmaids. There won't be any tuxes. There also won't be a religious official - cuz we're not religious. We're not registering for fancy china or silverware or lots of appliances that only serve one function. We're also not registering at Target - cuz we're grown-ups and can go out and buy any of their stuff for ourselves at anytime.

So maybe I'm making this obvious that I don't really like the status-quo wedding. I also have come to abhor the wedding industry. Their sales pitch of perfection is not only ridiculous and a means for a huge mark up, it is also a bold faced lie. I've been reading a plethora of wedding blogs as of late, and probably my very favorite is A Practical Wedding. Meg, the author of said blog seems to be a smart gal with a good head on her shoulders. My favorite quote from her is "If you still believe in perfection, you are too young to get married." See what I mean? Anyway - several of these sites have helped affirm my belief that a wedding should be a reflection of the two people getting married to one another. That's what we're shooting for.

If we were having the champagne - it would totally be the Marc Jacobs glasses. They are pretty awesome. I think those Vera ones are terrible!

22 August 2008


I was thinking about starting a wedding blog, but realized I'm too busy for two blogs. So you, dear, loyal readers, will just have to endure what I'm going to call 'hitchin posts'. Here's number one:

Call me a little eager, but I've been trying to get as much wedding stuff out of the way as quickly as possible so I'm not all stressed out at the end. Wouldn't that be a lovely way to start a marriage - with a girl whose about to pull her hair out???? Anyway, I purchased some glasses for the 'big toast(s)' yesterday. Because they were on sale. I'll give you three guesses (this is meant to be interactive...hint, hint):

#1_Marc Jacobs for Waterford:

#2_Aarne Pilsner from Iittala glass:

#3_Vera Wang's Love Knots Flutes:

So - which is it???

05 August 2008

this should be me

I'm so over wanting some hipster glasses. My most recent object of lust is the scooter! Ideally, I'd like to snag a vintage Vespa, ala Roman Holiday style (perhaps in pearly white with robin's egg blue accents). As those are a little pricey, my next choice would be the Stella scooter from the Genuine Scooter Company:

They make them right here in Chicago!
Super cute and super fuel efficient!!!! Can't you just see Don and I zipping around town!

30 July 2008

mid-summer treat

A belated birthday treat to myself - I finally spent the rest of my birthday money on the Orla Kiely bag and wallet above. They arrived today. Few things are as exciting as a new purse. Especially a new purse with many organization compartments and a matching wallet!

I've been carrying the same grey Chilewich bag since my last year of college. While it has been durable and provided ample storage, it is perforated and didn't provide much protection from rain and snow for the inner contents.

This new bag solves several problems:
First - I've been needing a bag that is more conducive to bike riding, but didn't really want to buy a true messenger bag. I'm just too girly for that. New bag can be worn on the shoulder or extended to be worn messenger style.
Second - I needed something a little more weather-proof. New bag is coated cotton that wipes clean!
Third - I needed a more-narrow bag that didn't offensively hit every person I walked by in a restaurant or on the CTA. New bag has taller, but more narrow footprint.
Fourth - I needed to not spend 5 minutes digging for my keys every single time. New purse has a pretty striped ribbon with a hook on the end to which I can attach keys for easy retrieval.

I don't know what it is about those Scandinavians, but they've got a knack for designing bright and colorful patterns that speak to me!

05 July 2008

Nicole and Darreld go for a drive

I didn't get my Dad a card or a present for Father's Day this year. I didn't even call him. But that is because I went for a 3 day convertible drive with him, starting in Chicago on Father's Day. We used to go on father-daughter convertible drives all the time when I was in junior high and high school, in my first car, Alfie, a 1983 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce. So when he asked me if I wanted to go, I thought I'd humor him. Here we are with Alfie II, a 1990 Alfa Romeo Graduate (which unlike Alfie the first, has no rust, you don't have to start it with a screwdriver, and has functioning AC):

In case you aren't familiar with these fine Italian machines, here are a few things you should know: Alfa drivers are more accurately called enthusiasts - they don't just drive these cars, they love them. They love them so much, they typically join the Alfa Romeo Owner's Club, or what I like to call my Dad's "Old Man Driving Club", wherein they have meetings and go for drives - I guess. Anyway, my Dad was in Chicago for the 2008 Alfa Romeo Owner's Club National Convention (whoa) and our little drive was the pre-convention tour. More specifically, it was the FANGIO (Fantastic and New Greater Illinois Observation) 2008 Pre-Convention Tour. Here's how that went:

Day 1_We head west and a little north from Chicagoland on the Lincoln Highway - which is winding and devoid of the typical Chicagoland weekend traffic. Some highlights from this part of the drive include a waitress that looked like Miss Trunchbull from the movie Matilda, a sunburn, and being scolded for not driving fast enough. (To my defense - I DON'T DRIVE anymore. And on the rare occasion that I do, it's in the city at less than 40 mph.) After a wind-whipped drive through the northwest corner of Illinois and into Dubuque, Iowa, and back to Illinois, we stopped for the night in Galena, Illinois. This is where it gets interesting. Galena was kind of a big deal starting in about 1825-ish when lead miners started moving to the area. It has a cute little downtown and is full of great old buildings. After dinner, some of us met up to take a ghost tour! The cars lined up in front of the old mansion where our tour started:

I was really hoping to have a real ghost encounter, but I guess I'll just have to settle for the 'orb' of light in one of my graveyard pictures. If anyone knows where I really can see a ghost - please, let me know.

Day 2_More winding road driving through Iowa. We stopped for coffee and donuts at Breitbach's Country Dining in Balltown, Iowa (population, Breitbach's family, mostly). The Breitbach family has owned it for 6 generations, but the original building burned to the ground on Christmas Eve last year. Since then, it has been rebuilt - mostly by volunteer labor and had just reopened the weekend before we stopped. Before leaving Iowa, we stopped at Pike's Peak, and I had some serious deja vu. I realized I had stopped there with my grandparents on a trip when I was 7 or 8. It's a site that overlooks the Mississippi and Wisconsin rivers. This time, there were railings, so no one had to yell at me to get away from the edge. Oh, and the rivers were a whole lot higher this time:

After crossing over into Wisconsin, we drove a little further and stopped just outside Spring Green in Dodgeville. And we stayed at the strangest 'hotel' I've ever been to - the Don Q Inn. I was hoping to eat at a local brewery and try some local Wisconsin beer, but had to settle for a rowdy dinner at a corner bar. During this meal, my new friend Howard, from Ohio, was quizzing me about my fiance, Don, when he found out that we are both only children. So after some discussion of social workers and birth order theories, he called Don to ask him some questions. I guess he passed the test. And we're still engaged, thankfully.

Day 3_For me, day 3, Tuesday, marked the architectural and beer highlight of the trip. We took the 4 hour estate tour of Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright's Wisconsin estate. My 'professional' critique - it was much more interesting and also less refined than his commissioned houses. It is also still a functioning architecture school and home for people, unlike the sterile museums that most of his houses have become. I found it refreshing, and the countryside was beautiful. After our tour and my Dad's first encounter with an organic cheeseburger (he was so puzzled by this seemingly oxymoronic dish), we hit the road. But we didn't get far before we stopped in the Swiss town of New Glarus. I was on a very specific mission to buy a large quantity of cheese, including cheese curds, and beer from the New Glarus Brewing Company. After some ice cream, a beer tasting and some purchases, we were finally on our way back to Chicago. If you enjoy barley and dairy products as much as I, then you should really consider a Wisconsin vacation. Anyway, we had a great time - it was good to spend some time with my Dad and leave the city for a while. And I suppose the driving was pretty fun, too. Fantastic and new indeed!

Unitarian chapel on the estate:

F.L. Dub's house:

Yup, it's even cuter in person, the Romeo and Juliette Windmill:

01 July 2008


this is a primary reason why i have some seriously buff calves:

this photo, my friends, was taken at the bottom of the stairs that lead to my office. we are on the third floor. every time i come to work, i climb these stairs. everytime we get a package, i climb these stairs. everytime the door buzzer doesn't work and i have to run down the stairs to let someone in, i climb back up these stairs.

heels are treacherous. i don't wear them very often.

14 June 2008

man make fire (or) big boy grill

Life is complete - well it is for Don, anyway. Now that we have our very own patio space, he could finally get a grill of his own. And being from KC and a Semple, where BBQ is a religion, it had to be charcoal. So we Zipcarred over to the Home Depot the week we moved in and got him a Weber One Touch Gold. And some charcoal and a chimney and lighter fluid and woodchips... But what about bbq tools, you ask? Not to worry - he won a delux set of those a few years ago at the Semple Christmas Eve Extravaganza. So we already had tongs, a spatula, shish kabob baskets and a basting brush big enough to paint a house with, thanks to Uncle John.

We've been grilling pretty much every night that we cook. Below is a photo montage for you to enjoy. Can't you see how excited he is!

I told him to pose like a Spartan.

Porkchops. Delish.

02 June 2008


so there really was a plan to make a glorious new post tonight - but life had other plans. i was busy taking care of mr. emergency [don went to the ER this morning for the second time this year - for a broken collar bone!] and making ricotta gnocchi from scratch tonight. it was delicious and i'm tired. so you'll just have to wait to hear all about his fabulous new weber grill.

29 May 2008

this blog is lame

I'm not gonna lie - I've been a major slacker about blogging, but also about blogging 'the right way'. I surmise that only a handful (make that a tiny handful) of people ocassionally peruse this blog. That fact alone leaves little incentive to take the time to craft a great post, as my friend Eric always does. But, in our recent move we have decided to conduct a social experiment on ourselves and live...duh duh duuuhhhh... without TV! Crazy? Maybe. But this will leave me more time to write some good posts. Or at least that's the plan. I think a new look and title might be in order too (whoa...let's not get too carried away).

I do have some *exciting* new posts brewing - so you better check back, like, everyday, just in case.

05 May 2008

happy cinco de mayo!

April was a busy month. May doesn't look to be much quieter.

We had the loveliest of times in San Francisco. The Townsends were excellent hosts and fed us well! I bought material for my wedding dress, bought some clothes, saw lots of art and architecture, and ate lots of delicious food. And I did have a French macaron - thanks to Tanner. It was nice to spend some time in a place that was green and blooming!

My mom, grandma, and Brazilian aunt Carmem came to visit the weekend of my birthday. We had a great time. I turned 25 without any trouble. Got a new digital camera, tickets to see the Alvin Ailey dance company, some monies and gift cards. We made a delicious salmon dinner and I made 2 birthday pies.

We found a new apartment [on my birthday, to be exact]. It is a little bigger than the space we have now and is super cute. I'll post pics and more info later. We get keys May 10, but will move most of our stuff in May 17.

And we found the place we want to have the wedding...we just need to move forward with those plans.

I've put all sewing and miscellaneous tasks on hold until we set a date and move. So my shams still aren't done...but they'll get there eventually.

18 April 2008

foodie or weirdo?

i think i've made it pretty obvious on here before how much i like to eat good food. and even kind of good food. tonight don and i are going to see the alvin ailey dance company (life-long wish) at auditorium theatre. to make the ocassion extra special, we've decided to spend too much money on food. so what do i do today - i go to the restaurants website and look at their menu. and i realized that i do this everytime we make plans to go somewhere and they have a menu online, regardless of where it is. typically, i can be pretty undecisive when it comes to food options, so i think looking at the menu ahead of time takes the pressure off when it comes to ordering. i also like looking forward to certain flavors for the rest of the day. and i think it has something to do with the part of me that always likes to be prepared.

is this weird? does anyone else get this involved with advance food selection?

02 April 2008

lovely gift ideas for a woman in her mid twenties

Parisian macaron cookies - if you want to be truly authentic, you could find a way to import them from the French pastisserie Lauderee. I think there are also some shops in the states that sell them....[perhaps one in San Francisco that I will try this weekend].

Luxurious laundry items from the Laundress.

A lovely vintage apron.

A set of letterpressed stationery or boxed notes.

A big fabulous bouquet of orchids, lillies, dahlias [anything besides carnations, roses, babies breath and leatherleaf fern].

Audrey Hepburn movies.

01 April 2008

in like a lion...out like a...lion?

so march is done. contrary to what my first grade teacher taught us, the saying that march comes in like a lion then out like a lamb and vice versa does not apply in chicago. it is still cold.

but - march was indeed productive. i found a wedding dress to copy (good thing i'm not buying it - it's an $8000 dress). and no - you can not see it. i've also got a good idea what my lovely bridesmaids will be wearing. we still don't have a wedding date or location - unless you count 2009 and the midwest as answers. but, i do have my something old, borrowed and blue - my grandmother's garter from 1954! my mom wore it when she got married, too. i think it is sooooo adorable!

as far as my other to-do items for march: we don't have a new apartment yet, but we've told our current landlord we're leaving. we're a little nervous about it but tired of their crap. if anyone wants to donate a down payment to get us out of the rental market and into a condo that would be greatly appreciated. i did get a good start on my current sewing project, which is the shams for our bed. i basically just have to sew them up and they'll be done.

so what's in store for april? first of all - i plan to welcome 25 with style and grace. we've got a trip to san francisco planned. my mom, grandma, and aunt carmem will be in town for said birthday. other than that, the big tasks are figuring out more wedding stuff - i.e. date and location, finishing our tulip chair cushions, and finding a new apartment. wish me luck!

13 March 2008

attention shoppers

You officially have 1 month until my 25th birthday. Plan accordingly.

[wish lists available upon request]

11 March 2008


Thus far, March has been an extremely productive month.

Last week, I got a haircut. What makes this haircut so special? Until now, I haven't found a stylist in Chicago that lives up to the high standards that Carrie of Salon 808 in Topeka has set. I would try out a stylist here - hate the haircut, and then wait months until I went back to Topeka to get a real haircut. I tried random salons that said they had a stylist who specialized in curly hair, I tried a couple stylists recommended by friends with curly hair. All were horrible. Last Thursday, I decided I would give the lovely looking salon down the street from my office a try. Success!!!!! I was blessed with the stylist talents of Emily - a stylist with a very precise method, similar to that of my fabulous Carrie. I think I'll be back. Alot. Finally, a scalp massage, shampoo, cut and style that is perfect, takes more than 10 minutes and was only $55. Lovely.

Also, this past Friday and Saturday, my dear friend Laine finally made it to Chicago. And the purpose of the whole visit was to go wedding dress shopping with me. So I tried on lots of wedding dresses. It was a lot of fun. Much like playing dress up - but better. I got to try on $12,000 Vera Wang dresses, glamorous satin lovelies, and just beautiful things in general. I'm not actually going to buy my wedding dress, my mom will make it, but I need to shop around to decide what I really want. We had lots of fun. I think Laine and Elizabeth were more worn out than I was by the end of Saturday.

For the rest of the month, I plan to decide on a dress design, maybe set a wedding date/location, establish a wedding budget, finish those pillow sham covers I attempted to start, and start the cushions for our Tulip Chairs. Hopefully we also find a new place to live - our lease is up at the end of May, but we'd like to know where were going next before we say that we won't renew. What are you doing this March?

27 February 2008


My latest purchase has made me realize that even I fall into certain categories. What is it you ask? A BlackBerry.

My old phone was on it's last leg and I was eligible for a discount w/contract renewal. I really love being organized - I write everything in my Outlook calendar at work, keep a list of current addresses, etc. So the cute little BlackBerry Pearl was a perfect option for me. And with all my upcoming bridal appointments - it made perfect sense (more on that later). Needless to say, I kinda feel like a grown-up now!

But I digress. Back to the subject of labels. Here are a few that I technically qualify for:

D.I.N.K. - Double Income No Kids
Don's Aunt Julie calls us this, and it's my personal favorite. I think it's code for "has money with no responsibilities." That's pretty much true as well.

YUPPIE - Technically, I am an Young Urban Professional - although I don't think I fill the typical stereotype. When I think of yuppie, I envision someone in 1980's preppy garb (polo shirts with logos and pastel colors), driving a BMW, talking on a Zach Morris cell phone. The yuppie of today however, tends to wear a boring black suit w/blue oxford shirt, drive a leased luxury car, and works downtown in a high-rise building for some financial corporation. I however, don't own a car, I wear jeans to work everyday, and I'm as much as artist as a professional. On the other hand, I pay too much for rent b/c we wanted a great view and fabulous space, I own a BlackBerry, I belong to a networking organization. I also would much rather do things myself instead of hiring someone else, which is not typical of an urbanite w/disposable income.

L.P.E.R. - Lincoln Park Engagement Ring - This is a phrase I coined to describe all these women I see with obscenely large diamond rings who appear to have no job and are all about symbol and status. Typically they live in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, which is full of over-priced ugly condos. They also all look the same - the women and the rings. I'm pretty sure they only buy groceries at Whole Foods (which I think is all about status and little to do w/groceries), too. Now technically, my engagement ring did come from a store in Lincoln Park. It is kinda big and sparkly, but I certainly wouldn't call it obscene. The rings I refer to are typically larger than 2 carats. And I have a real job and ride the bus - no symbol and status here!

Hipster - I really don't think I qualify for this one, except that I like their music, drink local coffee (Starbucks is evil), recycle, eat natural foods, shop at local boutiques, and am into the artsy modern craft scene. But I don't have the glasses, the dark hair/attitude, skinny jeans, overly-layered wardrobe, or lack of structured schedule.

Maybe a better or more accurate description for me is Yupster - young urban professional with a preference for the local business/food/coffee/art of Chicago's small neighborhoods. And I'm extremely crafty.

*After completing the above post, I realized it's probably not very relevant or entertaining - but it's my blog and I do what I want. Read it or leave it.

20 January 2008

My turn!

Yep, I'm finally engaged! And it only took 5.5 years! Here's the story, with a little necessary background:
There is a restaurant and lounge at the 95th and 96th floors of the John Hancock Tower, called the Signature Room, here in Chicago, which offers a spectacular view of the city. The first time I went there was my third year of school when we were in Chicago for a school trip. Ever since that first visit, I've dreamed of getting engaged there, although I never told Don this. So, you can imagine my excitement when Don's dad and stepmom got us a gift certificate to the Signature Room for Christmas this year. Now all I needed to do was postpone our dinner until Don would be able to get a ring....
Well, Don insisted that we go soon, so I finally gave in. He made a reservation for us on Saturday January 12 - pending clear skies, of course. The sky was crystal clear that day. We both dress up, as we normally would for a fancy dinner, and take a cab to the Hancock tower. We arrive early, so we sit and have a drink until our table is ready. As I had told a friend a few days before, I was really skeptical about Don proposing that night, so I was just casually enjoying our evening. Our table by the window is finally ready. We order a bottle of wine and have a lovely dinner [I ordered the scallops in case you were wondering]. Don says, "Well we have to get dessert." Not a problem for me. As we're waiting for our dessert, Don says "I have a surprise for you." Still none the wiser, I say, "What are you talking about?"
"I've been working on it for a while now." 
"What?" still unsuspecting.
Then Don stands up, and at that moment, I realized what was happening. He walked over to my side of the table, got down on one knee, and pulled out a small black box. And it's a good thing he didn't have a long speech, because I was so stunned, I wouldn't have remembered it. My response consisted of me nodding my head and saying "Uh-huh." I really was so surprised and speechless. Then our dessert arrived, with "Congratulations on your engagement" written on the plate. 
The whole night was simply perfect. 
So, Don and I are getting hitched! But so far, we have no idea when or where yet. We're just enjoying it right now. Especially me - I really enjoy staring at this ring.

ring 5

[Yeah, that puppy is a full carat! Perfect color and clarity, too.] 

11 January 2008

A little perspective, please

I've got a bone to pick, with several people, regarding the current funding crises for the CTA (Chicago Transit Authority). For those of you who aren't up to date on Chicagoland transit news, let me bring you up to speed. Last year, the CTA threatened a couple of 'doomsday' scenarios - meaning they would increase fares and cut service due to a lack of state funding. Apparently the CTA has been operating on the same budget for about 20 years. Smart. Not to mention the fact that there is no federal money for public transit since half of Washington has their hands in the pockets of big oil. But I digress.

Well, since the state legislature couldn't get their act together and help, our fantastic governor bailed the CTA out w/some borrowed emergency funds, or something. So DOOMSDAY #3 was slated for January 20, unless funding could be provided. Part of the problem is that no one in the Illinois legislature could agree on a funding bill. Or those non-Chicago reps and senators didn't want to give any money for Chicago's public transit. Anyway, long story short, earlier this week, the state house and senate finally passed a bill, to which our brilliant governor gave an 'amendatory veto.' This means he would pass it, but with minor revisions - namely, he wants senior citizens to ride for free. The bill proposes a quarter of one percent sales tax increase. Easy peasy, right?


So there are these whiny sons of bitches complaining about the tax increase because, 1 - all taxes are bad. 2 - they don't want to pay for public transit they don't use. Are you freaking kidding me?????? First of all, that is a barely noticeable tax increase - you have to spend $100 to see 25 cents worth of tax. Big effing deal. Secondly - those jerks in their cars that are clogging up Chicago's roads and freeways need to stop and think what they're saying. Guess what - alot of people have to pay taxes for services they don't use. Take me for instance. I DON'T OWN A CAR! Yet, I have to pay taxes for the roads and freeways. So maybe I'll stop doing that. I don't go to school nor do I have a child in school, but I have to pay for those. Social security won't be around when I'm old and crippled, but I still have to pay that. I don't use Medicare or Welfare or Social Services, but I'm pretty sure I still have to pay for it. It's called the greater good and it's part of being a citizen. Deal with it.

Furthermore, those a-holes also don't realize how transit helps them. 1 - it cuts down on traffic. The more affordable and available that public transit is, the less likely people are to drive. 2 - It keeps people who shouldn't be driving, like teenage girls and blind old ladies from causing 8 car pile ups. 3 - it creates a sense of community that you cannot get while driving in your air conditioned BMW by yourself (or maybe with your fluffy worthless dog). 4 - pollution reduction. Need I say more?

Another pet peeve of mine is how citizens/politicians from other parts of Illinois complain about the problems in Chicago. Guess what - Chicago is the best thing Illinois has going for it. Did I say, hmmmm, when I graduate college I want to move to Illinois? NO. I said, I want to move to CHICAGO so I can get a great job, live in an urban setting, and have Barack Obama for a senator.

I would appreciate a little ounce of perspective from all these naysayers. It only makes sense to fund public transit, you jerks.