09 June 2010

So here we are...

Life is what happens while you're making other plans- John Lennon
So I realize it's been a damn long while and I'm not going to apologize for that. I'd rather deal in quality rather than quality. What I will say is that I'm in a much better place right now, one that's a lot more creative, a lot more introspective, and a lot more driven to try to make myself happy. That said, I've got a lot to say in this post and I think I need to get a move on.

So what I've been doing for the last 10 weeks? Not a hell of a lot, save for a little staycation where I re-decorated the guest room. My lovely boy has lived in our apartment for 10+ years and this was always the place where people crashed when they were too drunk to make it home. I wish I'd taken "before" pictures because honestly, the room looked like an asylum-- stark white walls and a cornucopia of random bedding. When I finally got my entire bedding suite out of storage in March, I wanted to redecorate that room so it actually felt like it belonged to the rest of the place which is pretty modern and cool as well as put my cute linens to use! I've always wanted to try striping a room, but most of the time, it just looked too difficult. This room was the perfect venue for it: small enough that it made it easy to do by myself and it makes the room look so much larger than it is! It's hard to get a full picture of this room because 6' x 8'. At least now it's cleaned out and looks like a proper guest room, stocked with all the little things you might want or need while you stay with us. I know it sounds silly, but I'm a big decor geek when all is said and done, and it makes me feel really good to know that if our parents come to stay with us, we're not shutting them away in a sad little room. Plus, the soft yellowy-green tone really made the room seem brighter and cozier and the accent colors on the wall- a deep grey, a midtone gold, and a pale cement color- really class up the joint. Woot! The best part is that with all supplies and materials, it cost me less than $50 and only about 8 hours. They sell 8 ounce containers of sample paint now and they're $3 a pop! Perfect for this job! For my next project, I want to redo the study, aka Red Room as it has garnet carpeting and sad, dirty walls. It's a pass-through room in our place so the walls get knocked into a lot; it just needs some new paint and some TLC.

I've also been trying to make sure I cook more often, but sometimes it's really hard because the things I like to cook end up being way too much for just my man and me. I heartily recommend this cookbook for any couples stuck in a dinner rut. One of my favorite things about it is that when they require an ingredient that you're not going to use up in one recipe, they always include another recipe to show you how to finish it off before it goes bad- a HUGE deal in my house. I cannot say how many half-eaten veggies have lingered in my fridge unused-- or just how many Tupperware containers sat for a week as I'm not a huge fan of leftovers. It even includes a shopping guide so you can make the most of the recipes. Not only are the recipes convenient, but most of them are simple enough that you can toss them together in 30+ minutes- another huge selling point. The Cooks' Illustrated people always make good cookbooks, but this is the one that has gotten the most use in my cooking library.

This is a total godsend for me! I bought it last Friday and have literally used it every day for at least 30 minutes, but most of my sessions have gone into the 1 hour mark. It's intuitive and easy to figure out. I'm not a huge fan of some of the activities- the Tricep Extension activity in particular is worthless and I tend to just use my free weights when that one comes up- but overall, it seriously kicks your ass without you realizing it! I've vowed to use it every day and so far, so good. I especially like that you can do a lot of body measurement- weight, waistline, steps taken, activity log- without necessarily doing the actual exercises. That means I can just as easily track myself when I'm away from home as I do when I'm home. I'll probably do a fitness post weekly, mainly to keep myself on track. I don't want to get into specifics per se (no-one but me and my Mii need to know my BMI), but in the last 5 days, I've lost 7 pounds, an inch in my waist, and 1.5 points off my BMI. VERY exciting news indeed.

Alright, I'm wrapping up, but I'm going to try to keep up with my blog as well as my life....we will see... :)

14 March 2010

Absolutely, positively late Friday Favorites!

It's a short one, partly because it's late and I need to toss something up and partly because honestly, I wasn't terribly inspired by anything this week. It was a stressful week and I honestly just let it pass me by without much regard.

  • "Parenthood" on NBC. If you haven't taken the time to DVR this already, do it now. So far this has one of my favorite ensemble casts I've watched this season- only behind Modern Family and Parks and Recreation really. In the pilot they have to introduce a very large family and they did it with economy, saying a great deal about the inter-family dynamic and each character acting in it without making it feel like a laundry list about each person. Introducing 15 main characters in one hour has never felt so fresh. And the second episode is equally good. I laughed hard and cried hard during both episodes.
  • Rupaul's Drag Race on LOGO. This show is super-delightful. Catty and campy are a good mix. Plus, Rupaul's "host persona" is super likable while also totally skewering shows like America's Next Top Model and any other elimination-style reality show. Plus, those queens do some good face. We can all learn something from a drag queen.
  • The fact that by mid-week, I will be living in a 2-television household.
  • Cooking for Two: 2009. I cannot wait to start cooking from this and I will share all of my experiences here for others to enjoy.
  • Spring in Chicago. Everyone just gets a little silly from being cooped up for so long. Our first 50+ degree day, I saw no less than 10 people out in tanks and shorts. It was NOT that warm, but it had a sense of jubilation that I appreciated. People are generally looking less pasty. And last night, we sprung forward. It's a whole new ballgame!
Alright, promise that I'll get a better (and more timely) Friday Favorites up this coming Friday. It'll be mega-sized if all goes well.


"If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story."
-Orson Welles

So I've been thinking a lot lately about my life. I recently turned 29 (!!!) and when I think about where I really thought I'd be at this time in my life, never did I think I'd be doing the same thing I was doing at 25. I've had some amazing opportunities in the last 5 years, some character-building, some mildly destructive, but still nonetheless shaping my life as it stands today. But I realize that I'm not exactly a fan of the shape.

I'm blessed, this I (generally) know. I've got my health (with the help of a good neurologist), my family and friends who love me, a decent job that pays me well, and a lovely little kitten who is generally quite happy to have me around. I've loved and lost, which is truly better than never having loved at all. I'm mostly happy with myself. Until I dig a little deeper.

I think most people rounding 30 start to evaluate things a little more closely, wanting to make sure that they fix all the things that didn't work in their 20s, wanting to start anew in a new decade. I look around at all of my friends who are single and I'm glad that I don't have to deal with that anymore. I look around at my friends who are married and wonder if I have what it takes to be successful in that heavy endeavor. I look around at my friends with children and worry that I won't enjoy it as they do, not sure that I'm really cut out to be a mentor for a child in the way that a child deserves. I look at my friends who have truly found their calling in their profession and envy their blessings. I look at friends buying their first home and wish that I'd planned better in my youth to be at that point. Basically, I'm looking around and wondering, 'is this all there is?' and knowing full well that it is, unless I make significant changes in my life.

The impetus for this post wasn't to be down on myself for what I lack, but rather where I can improve. I want to be healthy. Those who know me know that I'm a glutton, in most senses of the word. If I like something, I want all of it, right now. That's a great thing at times- I immerse myself in things that I love, be they my partner or finding something new that I love. However, in certain aspects, it's not the best plan. In the next few weeks, I'll be starting a diet and exercise regimen. It won't be easy, but I'm sick of huffing and puffing my way through the city. Which leads to the smoking cessation that I've talked about forever, have attempted several times, and have never quite quit. I've smoked every day since I was 18. It's a crutch, a social lubricant, a stress reliever, and a true addiction. I've tried patches (which fall off my skin and give me rashes), nicotine gum (I hate chewing gum in general and this stuff is the devil), Chantix (which makes me absolutely nauseated) and sheer willpower (not the best plan for me). I'll get back on the Chantix soon and figure out strategies to curb the nausea, figure out ways to not want to punch babies and kick puppies when I'm beyond stressed at work. We will see how it goes. I don't like declaring that I'm quitting. It calls too much attention to it, making it impossible for me to conquer it. I'm the unfortunate sort who, when I slip, I give up. Quitting smoking and getting in shape will require a new construct for me and it's a matter of creating good habits.

As if that weren't enough, I know that I've done my time at my job and in order to have the happy ending, I need to extricate myself as soon as I find something else to do. It's daunting to be honest. I haven't had a job interview in 3 years. My job experience is fairly limited to merchandising and sales and I want to be in marketing/event planning. But yet, I know it's what I need to do. I love the people that I work with (generally), the job itself is almost rote knowledge at this point, and most days I feel good about what I do and the experiences I've had. But it's just not enough anymore to keep me sane. So I'll be starting to tighten my resume and search for something new. It's a scary thing- I've been in a little cocoon for 5+ years now and it's really unnerving to think that I'll be doing something new that will be a challenge. I always want to be challenged but it's so easy to coast. I'm sick of coasting.

This was a lot to write on this topic and, for better or worse, get used to reading some missives along these lines. I'm ready to make some changes in my life, ready to be scared for a bit, but I'm willing to do that if in the end I'm a happier person for it. I'm ready to be happy again.

08 March 2010

AND another one!

OMG. I'm literally starting to freak out over the fact that The Fug Girls and I are simpatico. It's like a gift from the heavens...

Miley Cyrus from the Oscars

Just found this amusing...

J. Lo versus Amanda Seyfried

Just needed to point out that I literally made the same argument-- well, the gist of the argument at the very least-- in my post-Oscars recap 12 hours before this post.

I would like some mad props for being prescient.

07 March 2010

Oscars Wrap-up

I finally finished the damn Oscars and feel the need to blog before bed, but apparently the wires haven't quite gotten all the red carpet pics up, so I couldn't add links. Sigh. However, the blog must go on! Here's some pithy observations:

  • Sandra Bullock looked every bit the Oscar winner that she (now) is. That silver dress was beautiful and was incredibly reminiscent of the dress that Halle Berry wore when she won for Monster's Ball. Her makeup was classic Old Hollywood and her hair looked perfect. Her acceptance speech was classy and subdued and yet broke some of the dramatic tension with the running joke about Meryl Streep being a great kisser. Bravo! Now get back to work on Miss Congeniality 3, because I seriously flove the first 2.
  • Meryl Streep's dress was by Chris March of Project Runway fame and I adored it. Even though both me and Paul agreed that it rather looked like a sexy nightgown featured on an alien race in the OG Star Trek. Sexy space goddess indeed. It was a little risque with the deep v-front, but it was covered enough everywhere else to not read as "mutton dressed as lamb".
  • Can I please be Helen Mirren when I grow up? Who can I talk to to arrange this?
  • Or the lovely and amazing Sandy Powell (Best Costume for Young Victoria)? Her style is so scrumptiously over-the-top yet super-classy. This picture was taken when she won for Shakespeare in Love...as NO-ONE has posted a photo yet of her taken at the Oscars 2010! Very hateful, but she was wearing this amazing diaphanous dress and a sequined headpiece that was adorable next to her flame-red hair.
  • If Adam Baldwin and Steve Martin are going to host, actually showing them onstage more than 4 times during the telecast is something to look into as I doubt they did the gig for free.
  • Neil Patrick Harris can host every award telecast from now until the day he dies. Seriously. His intro for the Oscars was fun and he clearly enjoys doing it.
  • Interpretative dance for the score nominees but heaven forbid we actually hear the Best Song nominees in full. I will agree that seeing someone pop and lock for the Hurt Locker and do the Cupid Robot for Up were highly enjoyable, but wholly unnecessary.
  • Monique and Gabourey Sidibe represented for women of size amazingly, but why did Queen Latifah have to stop it from being a trifecta? The silver trim on that dress looked a mess and the one shoulder strap looked very last-minute. Too bad since the color was amazing. It's funny because in pictures I found it looks awesome, but it didn't move well at all and she looked uncomfortable.
  • I would mention Oprah's dress but I like this blog and don't want it mysteriously erased from Blogger.
  • I have said it before and I'll say it again: George Clooney is like a Louis bag or a Chanel Suit. Always looks good, always in style. As my dear friend Jen said, "He's our Cary Grant." Le sigh.
  • James Cameron losing to his ex-wife? Awesome. James Cameron trying not to flip his shit on camera? Even fucking better. (For the record, the fact that The Hurt Locker was nominated for writing accolades says a great deal. I'm pleased that Avatar won their more technical awards, but as a Best Picture nominee, not as much. The right movie won!)
  • Ben Stiller needs to figure out how to visualize ideas better when they're pitched to him. I feel like all the stuff he's done lately probably sounded hilarious on paper, but what an absolute dud his appearance was! I was actually embarrassed for him, especially since I know he's capable of good comedy.
  • I coveted Carey Mulligan's earrings a great deal during the telecast. They were so delightfully fancy and yet sort of young-looking.
  • It pleased me that Tina Fey showed up looking super hot as her Golden Globes dress was sort of horrible and left me with Fashion PTSD.
  • Kathryn Bigelow is super hot. Seriously. So many levels of hot. Beautiful, smart, genuine...I've got a big ol' girl crush on her now.
  • Molly Ringwald, hooray for you! I'm aware she's on that horrible ABC Family show (is she still?) but I haven't seen her in quite some time. Meow! Super glam suits Ms. Ringwald.
  • Demi Moore. Stunning and hasn't aged in 15 years. Either she's got the best genes or best surgeon in the world. Outside of the fact that the color of her dress was a little too close to her skintone, she looked spectacular with legs that went on for days.
  • Charlize Theron is one of the world's most beautiful people. Why was she wearing one of the world's most atrocious dresses? Odd color--misty purple-- with floral motif pasties printed across the front? Tres bizarre...
  • I want to go shopping with Diane Kruger, as she's always impeccably and forwardly-dressed AND she looks like she giggled her way through the Oscars with Quentin Tarantino. AND if I play my cards right, Paul and I could double-date with her and Josh Jackson.
  • Poor Cameron Diaz. Her face just looked old. She's not an unattractive woman by any stretch but she looked 10 years older than she is at the Oscars. Slap on some sunscreen, eat some fat once in a while, and don't starve yourself the week before the Oscars. You look sickly and bloated. Not cute ladyfriend, not cute.
  • SJP. Even when you go crazy and do something ridiculous, I generally enjoy your style. When you wore an enormous headpiece to the SATC: The Movie premiere, I cheered for the craziness of it all. However, this weirdo frock that looked like Mrs. Roper Goes To The Oscars was not cute. Further, your makeup artist's makeup gun was set to Jersey Shore and your hair appeared to have gone through some sort of trauma OR you had a roll in the hay with Tom Ford before presenting. Hopefully it was the latter because those rumors would be wicked fun to start hearing all over the internet.
  • Just a note to JLo, making your dresses out of bubble wrap isn't terribly flattering to your shape.
  • Amanda Seyfried, why did you let JLo convince you to wear one of her bubble-wrap dresses?
  • Miley Cyrus, please stand up straight and not talk with your hands like you're with a group of 17 year olds. Show some friggin' respect (and get off my lawn.)
  • To the countless people I saw chewing gum during the telecast, SERIOUSLY? I mean, SERIOUSLY? Ugh. It's so gross to watch people chew gum like a cow chews cud. You're wearing tuxes and gowns....ew.
  • I am just realizing that I've mentioned 4 men for the 20 women I've dressed-down. (Puns!) I will now list a list of men who I got a little hot under the collar for during the telecast: George Clooney, Robert Downey Jr (who wore a ridiculous pair of blue-tinted glasses apropos of nothing), George Clooney, George Clooney, Keanu Reeves, George Clooney, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin (holler at the silver foxes!), NPH, Gerard Butler and Bradley Cooper, George Clooney, and this other guy whose name I can't quite recall who was nominated for Up in the Air. Geoff something maybe?
  • Sigourney Weaver is stunning still...and like 7-feet tall.
  • Lauren Bacall's voice still makes me crazy. She is the epitome of sultry.
  • Seeing Tim Robbins at the Oscars and knowing that Susan Sarandon likely didn't attend makes me sad.
  • This year's actor/actress presentation style was great. Reminded me a lot of last year's version where former winners presented. This way gave coworkers a way to be involved with the win, which is damn cool in my book.
  • The Parade of the Dead was done very nicely this year. I'm a HUGE fan of that song (In My Life, The Beatles) and I don't hate James Taylor that much so it was nice and respectful. ANNNNNND they did a great job actually showing the slideshow this year rather than spend all sorts of time watching Taylor instead. And weird seeing Michael Jackson in the Parade of the Dead, although I know he was involved with film a few times...
  • Missed Kathryn Bigelow's Best Pic speech, but was able to see Cameron's face turn from placid to sad. I think that was enough for me.
  • Still very sad that Tarantino's mostly Oscarless. Inglourious Basterds was a fantastic film and I'm very happy to see Christoph Waltz won his Supporting Actor statue.
  • Jason Reitman, get a haircut. Or just wash it. Maybe a comb? Some gel? You're a big deal man, dress like it. We will continue to think you're cool. Promise. Your street cred is safe.
Alright, that's enough I think. The show ran a little long but I was able to hop on and blog before bed, before all these sundry thoughts rushed away for the night. :) Hope you enjoyed the show-- it was a fairly decent one this year. Links will get updated soon!

05 March 2010

Sweet Fancy Jesus, it's FRIIIIIDAY!

"Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin', into the future"
-Steve Miller Band

I don't exactly know how this week got away from me! Between overindulging during birthday festivities (note: tequila and champers don't mix...) and being overworked, I was loath to do much else besides catch up on the DVR and sleep. So no blogging. So there.

However, it IS My Favorite Things Friday and I must give it all I've got, so here goes nothing:

  • The Real Housewives of NY are back! I know better than to love all the bad reality television that Bravo has to offer, but I cannot resist the Ho'wives of NY. They're easily my fave group that bring drama and stupidity without (generally) being totally trashy. They're more declasse than trashy. Mama like.
  • This OK Go video. I love them anyway- Chicago boys!- but I love Rube Goldberg machines even more. Plus, the end with the crew cheering! J'adore! J'adore!
  • Birthday wishes. I was more than willing to let my birthday pass me by this year, but countless people made a point to pop on my Facebook and let me know they cared. Awwwwww. I'm a dork but it really did make me day to see people I normally don't see a lot wishing me well. :) Next time FB tells you that someone's birthday is coming up, make sure you wish them a happy day.
  • The Hatercast from the AV Club with Amelie Gillette. Always delightful, always hilarious, always worth listening to. Definitely set up a subscription and put it on your iPods.
  • Wendy Williams. I want her to be my crazy BFF who calls me on Sunday afternoons to regale me with what happened to her on her Saturday night out.
Alright, that's enough for now. I will promise to be more prolific in this blog, but this week was a killa!

27 February 2010

Sad Clown Saturday

"There can't be good living where there is not good drinking."
- Benjamin Franklin

Since I moved into my honey's place last year, I've been hellbent on making it feel like it's OUR place and not just his place that I moved into. Really it didn't take a lot of work- I generally like his style and the place was a good fit for us- but a few coats of paint here and there, new shower curtains, a bit of tchothckes strewn about and voila! Shared space.

The biggest struggle for us (i.e. me) is the dining room. I was able to rescue an old credenza from an estate sale years ago and this year, I spent a little dough on refinishing it. Staining it a little darker and going with a painted top (Sherwin Williams Rock Garden- a mid-grade forest green) really made it look cool and chic without feeling too formal. It makes a fantastic bar that actually holds nearly EVERYTHING we have, a mystery of the universe unto itself since our bar contains well over 50 bottles of various liquors plus mixers and other sundry items. I painted the walls a cool purple tone-- Benjamin Moore Amethyst Sky- and so far, that's just about it. Not cool at all, though it is on its way to being a lot cooler with the addition of a 32" flatscreen on the wall between the two windows. Hooray for having a TV on the main floor-- no more fighting over DVR time vs. PS3 time!

So, the major thing that we need in the place is window coverings. The two windows in the dining room face the next building and they're insulated with kitten fur as best as I can tell. So I called Eddie Z's Blinds because they were running a sale. The guy came out and the estimate was.....$450!!!! And that was WITH a BOGO deal they're running. Hence the title of this post. No honeycomb light-filtering blinds for me just yet apparently...I think I might head out to the Depot later and see what I can find. Until then, it's a Sad Clown Saturday.

26 February 2010

See, I'm just like Oprah...

When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad
-The Sound of Music

I like to make people aware of "My Favorite Things".

Friday's Faves, in no particular order:

  • Hours of real estate porn on HGTV. House Hunters, My First Place, Income Property, Bang for your Buck...I can't stop watching them. Luckily, Paul also has an interest in them (not to my current psychotic degree, unfortunately) so it's not bad for him. We have rather enjoyed heckling the gross yuppies who always seem to be spouting praise for granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances and the presence of a "man-cave". It's, sadly, also gotten me into another nesting kick.
  • Hipster Puppies because they are adorable and hilarious.
  • The Benjamin Moore website is amazing if you're worried about painting. Their Color Viewer is kind of awesome because you can really get an idea of what will work and what won't before diving into some ridiculous project.
  • Restaurant Week in Chicago! Tonight we're headed to Seasons at the Four Seasons Hotel. Wednesday night, we did dinner at The Drawing Room at Le Passage. A-MAAAA-ZING. I will say that I didn't feel like I was hip enough for the space-- cool urban lounge feel-- but everything we imbibed and consumed was delish! Their cocktails rival The Violet Hour!
  • The imminent possibility that I will soon be living in a 2 television household! We've been fighting over the set upstairs every weekend lately and with all of the videogames coming out in the next few months, I guess Paulo is taking pity on me. No more timeshare tv!

First Post!

"In an ideal world, we could be more impermeable. We would be unshaken whether we were ignored or noticed, admired or ridiculed. If someone praised us insincerely, we would not be unduly seduced. And if we had carried out a fair assessment of our strengths and decided upon our value, another's suggestion that we were inconsequential would not wound us. We would know our worth."
- Alain de Botton, Status Anxiety

I think I like the idea of starting off every post with a quote and this one is a good start. It's the sense of being safe in your own skin, knowing your limitations are set expressly by yourself and being able to turn off the voice that says, "You can't. You won't. You suck." That voice isn't yours: it's the voice of what you think everyone else will say. We need to silence that voice and really know our worth.

The main reason I included that quote was because, for a while now, people have told me I need a blog. I'd never really committed to writing one because I was afraid of how I'd fill the space, what people would say (and conversely, would it be ignored?), if I'd have the time, how many posts about my cat would the Internet be able to handle...excuses, excuses, excuses. Fill the space? I think I can deal with writing a short post every other day or at least when the spirit moved me. What will people say (or not!)? Screw 'em. This is for me and if you also happen to appreciate it, rock on! The time? Seriously, it's minutes a day. Multitudinous cat posts? I'm sure you'll find him at least half as charming as I do, but if not, suck it. He's super awesome.

Excuses have been running rampant in my life lately and I'm putting my foot down. I'm going to find an audience, find the time, and find my voice. And I'm pretty damn excited about it.

My biggest concern is this: what exactly am I going to write about? I know I'll end up talking about cooking and gardening since planting season is just around the corner. There will be at least a post or two a month about my Lokimonster because he is my goofy and beloved furbaby. If I read something interesting or see something on television that needs to be shared, I will. I love fashion and will likely try to do a quarterly look at trends. I'll probably end up bitching and moaning about working out since I'm planning on starting a actual workout regimen. AND....I'll likely start blogging about the eternal struggle to quit smoking. Ugh. I'm figuring that if I touch on at least one of those topics once in a while, I'll keep myself on the blogger wagon.

Alright, so real quick: I'm a Chicagoland native (Aurora, to be exact) living in the city with a handsome man and my kitten, working for a company I've been with for 5+ years. I'm an avid reader, television watcher, NPR listener, cynic and comedienne. My life is not so bad at all and it's only going to be getting better. :)

And for the record, these posts are not all going to be such long missives....just getting my sea legs as it were. Also THANKS ANGIE!!!