Medieval Times

At the end of February 20 years ago, I turned 11 and my friend Kate turned 10. And how did we decide to celebrate? A birthday feast at Medieval Times! (Festivities also included playing Dr. Mario for several hours.)

In the spirit of nostalgia, we decided to celebrate our 31st and 30th birthdays this year by convincing our families to head back to that very same majestic concrete castle to don paper crowns, check out some jousting, and eat mini chickens using only our hands.

SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSCWe were cheering for the Black & White Knight. Sadly, he met his untimely end at the hand of the Red Knight, who seemed like kind of a jerk. But whatever.

Even though our knight lost and we were perhaps the only group in attendance who was not accompanied by at least one child under the age of 12, it was a great way to celebrate. And now that I’ve got both feet planted firmly in the 4th decade of my life, it’s kind of fun to revisit a childhood memory. Because what they say is true–“some things never change.”

They also say “31 is the new 21.” Or did I make that up? Either way, it’s true.

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Everything’s broken and I hate everyone

I would have posted a lot more lately, but our Internet connection decided to suck for some unknown reason.

Don’t roll your eyes at me! It’s not an excuse. It’s the truth.

Let’s talk about everything in my life that has malfunctioned this past week, shall we?

Get comfortable.

1. Our hot water heater. Last Wednesday I took an ice cold shower. No, it was colder than ice. I swear. It was painful and completely ineffective. Walking around all day with leftover conditioner matting your hair against your scalp is not pleasant or attractive. On Thursday, I brought 10 cups of warm water into the bathroom with me that I heated up on the stove and poured each of them over my head between washing, shampooing and conditioning. Sadly, 10 cups was not enough. I had to once again rinse out the conditioner in a frigid fury. At least this time I was prepared for the shock. Pounding my chest with my fists a few times, steeling my glare and uttering “LET’S DO THIS” between gritted teeth before stepping into the stream actually seemed to help. On Friday, I took a nice, hot shower thanks to a brand new water heater and I was happy enough to cry. In fact, I’m not completely sure that I didn’t.

2. The CTA. That same Wednesday morning, we encountered utter chaos as we approached the Brown line stop near our apartment. Disaster had struck. There was some sort of issue and the train wasn’t running. Armageddon was upon us (in Chicago commuter terms), and it was every man for himself. We walked by bus stop after bus stop flooded with mobs of angry yuppies tapping away at their iPhones and anxiously shifting in their Uggs. We tried hailing a cab. HA! That was a joke. Finally, 5 blocks later, we got on a bus that would take us within relative walking distance to our office buildings. I was a half hour late for work.

3. My phone. That same day (same day!), my phone battery completely died by 10:30 am. And since then, it’s been pretty much crapping out on me whenever it feels like it. Which is a lot.

4. The Internet. I’m typing this out in Word right now, and before I started writing, I entered wordpress.com in my browser. It’s. still. loading.

5. Hulu. We decided to subscribe to a free weeklong trial of Hulu so we can watch the last few episodes of the 2nd season of Downton Abbey before starting the 3rd season. Good idea, right? It would be if the damn thing actually worked. But with my track record lately, why on earth would I ever assume that? Also, this issue is not related to the Internet because it doesn’t work even when our connection is running smoothly. So in case you’re keeping track, that counts as two separate things that are broken and conspiring against me and I hate them.

6. Our car. Surprisingly, our ’97 Honda Accord is actually still running. But it got towed on Saturday while parked in the Loop, so I thought I’d just tack that on the end of this rant. We had to trek down to the underbelly of the city to pay a fortune to pick it up, and Will thought this would be a nice opportunity for an evening stroll. 15 minutes of dodging pigeons and their excrement beneath Wacker Drive and a somewhat nerve-wracking encounter with a growing group of unsavory-looking individuals proved otherwise. Luckily, it was relatively warm that day, so frostbite was not a concern. Unluckily, I had not checked the forecast and was walking for miles in my big puffy coat in 50-degree weather. I was actually sweating in January, which is gross. And unexpected.

But I have to say that everything else in my life is great, just so I don’t feel like a negative, spoiled, ungrateful person.

Also, here’s one thing that’s not broken (yet):

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My new computer! Now I can actually upload photos again – it’s nuts! So look forward to some lost pictures from the past few months. That is, if I can ever get WordPress to load.

Christmas creep

Today while strolling through the Gold Coast, I used my phone to take a photo of a Christmas tree through the window of a complete stranger’s home. Surprisingly, I was not arrested.

My excuse? It’s Christmas! And it’s getting to me. It’s the time of year when I just can’t resist anything sparkling, the smell of pine, and the crooning of Bing Crosby. The air is refreshingly crisp, Starbucks drinks taste of gingerbread and peppermint, and all of the tiny dogs I pass are wearing plaid sweaters with mini matching booties. It makes me happy.

Because of this, my Instagram photos of late have been overwhelmingly Christmas-themed. (This is of course in addition to the year-round themes of “Gatsby” and “alcoholic drinks I drink.”)

Pretty paper

Pretty paper

"But officer, look at that tree!"

“But officer, look at that tree!”

All Bing, all the time

All Bing, all the time

Tongue paper cuts from stamp-licking are a very real thing

Tongue paper cuts from stamp-licking are a very real thing

The little hipster

The little hipster

Still sleeps with his teddy bear

Still sleeps with his teddy bear

Treat yo' self

Treat yo’ self

Indoor 'smores ('smore what?)

Indoor ‘smores (‘smore what?)

Beer flight

Beer flight

Night lights

Night lights

"Good news! I saw a dog today."

“Good news! I saw a dog today.”

So that’s what I’ve been up to lately. Not looking forward to January. Christmas detox can be quite painful.

Deck the hall

“Hall” is singular because our apartment literally has one hallway. But “decked” it is!

Last Friday night, I convinced Will to help me set up and decorate our borderline pathetic Christmas tree. Gatsby also assisted by bringing the cuteness.

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To get us in the spirit I turned up the sound on my computer and blasted my new Christmas playlist. It’s a hybrid of this list I found on Pinterest and some of my very favorite Christmas tunes. And it is merry as hell. Download these songs and see for yourself!

  1. Holly Jolly Christmas–Burl Ives
  2. Baby it’s Cold Outside–Rosemary Clooney
  3. All I Want for Christmas is You–Mariah Carey
  4. What Christmas Means to Me–Stevie Wonder
  5. It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas–Bing Crosby
  6. Blue Christmas–Elvis
  7. I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm–Frank Sinatra
  8. The Christmas Waltz–She & Him
  9. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas–Bing Crosby
  10. Santa Baby–Madonna
  11. Cool Yule–Louis Armstrong
  12. Happy Christmas (War is Over)–John Lennon
  13. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)–Darlene Love
  14. What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve–Ella Fitzgerald
  15. Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree–Brenda Lee
  16. Please Come Home for Christmas–Don Henley
  17. White Christmas–The Drifters
  18. Jingle Bell Rock–Bobby Helms
  19. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays–*NSYNC
  20. The Happy Elf–Harry Connick Jr.
  21. The Christmas Song–Nat “King” Cole

I just blogged to say I love you

Hello! Remember me? Yes, I know I disappeared for about a month without any warning, but I’m back! I needed to give attention to some other projects and priorities. You understand, don’t you? Let’s just move forward and pretend it never happened.

To get my blogging legs back, I thought I’d just provide a little synopsis of some things that have happened over the past month:

  • I found out quinoa is delicious.
  • I ran a 5k wearing devil horns and a tail.
  • I made friends with a few new babies.
  • We booked a winter trip to Florida (can’t wait).
  • I decided to start plucking out my grey hairs.
  • I discovered a new favorite nail polish color.
  • I went to a bonfire party and was introduced to smores made with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (thanks Kelly!)
  • I got lost driving around a scary industrial corridor while being chased by a tornado (don’t ask)
  • I contributed to the fight against breast cancer by shopping, drinking and watching a fashion show at Saks
  • We toured some awesome architecture as part of the Chicago Architectural Foundation Open House and found new beautiful streets in the Gold Coast I never knew existed.
  • I finally went to Pops for Champagne (and have no idea why it took this long)
  • We had excellent meals at David Burke’s Primehouse, Chicago q, Honey, Cafe Selmarie, Cantina Laredo and 3rd Coast.
  • Lake Michigan got angry, but that was nothing compared to the stories we’ve been hearing from New York and New Jersey. I can feel a Red Cross donation coming on…
  • And our internet connection started sucking, so I am posting this from my phone. And I’m not happy about it.

What’s that you say? This post is in need of some visuals? I agree. Behold:

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That’s it for now! I’ll try not to be gone so long this time…

P.S. Happy voting!

Instagram lately

Don’t mind me. I’m just here on my couch working and occasionally finding a minute here and there to edit my photos from NYC. So in the meantime, you get… Instagram! (I’m really using these Instagram posts as a crutch, aren’t I?)

Polka dots and arm candy. If I ever start a band, I think that’s what I’m going to call it. And I shall play the bass. (Thick bracelet is from C.Wonder in NYC, thin bracelet is from Italy and polka dots are from Anthropologie on sale.)

“I just want to be alone.”

View of the Chicago Public School teachers striking from my office window. And that is all I will say about that touchy subject. #callmeSwitzerland

Look! It’s my friends Kelly and Luke getting married last weekend at the gorgeous Cuneo Mansion! (Confession: I did not take this photo. I was honestly having too much fun at this wedding to even think about reaching for my camera. I totally stole this Instagram pic from my friend Sheena–hope she doesn’t mind!) (Fun fact: The Cuneo Mansion is where My Best Friend’s Wedding was filmed.)

Another wedding pic stolen from Sheena featuring some of my favorite people on the planet. (Side note: Check out Sheena’s new education blog if you’re interested in how she’s piloting an iPad program in her classroom. Very cool!)

The wedding after party.

A shot from our Saturday evening stroll. Sometimes I forget how lucky I am to be able to walk ten minutes down the street and see this. Not this time, though. I was feeling pretty lucky.

And just when I thought Saturday night couldn’t get any better, we ended up at Sprinkles! They may look like boobs (what’s with that??), but these cupcakes are cray-mazing. Peanut butter chocolate for the win!

40 years of wedded Bliss

My amazing parents have been married for 40 years. Four zero. That’s a long time.

We celebrated their love in style last Saturday night on a yacht cruise on Lake Michigan and in the Chicago River. And if you have anything to celebrate, at all, for any reason, ever, I would highly recommend this method. We rented the SunSea yacht for 3 hours, capped off by the fireworks display at Navy Pier and it was one of the best nights ever.

Congrats Mom and Dad! I love you guys!

P.S. After this party, and Kelly’s bachelorette party, I’ve had a very yacht-y month! Awesome.