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.

Let’s get random

And suddenly, it’s 2013.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!

My activities over the holidays can best be expressed in a dramatic monologue and simultaneous interpretive dance. But Gatsby got camera-shy when I asked to record his performance for the blog. So you’ll have to settle for Instagram. (Did you know that you can follow me on Instagram? Because you can.)

Tea at The Drake

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Airport drinks on the way to St. Louis

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Christmas morning mimosas with my parents

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Warmth! Sunshine! Florida!

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Cozy Christmas presents

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Wine everywhere at dinner with AGD girls

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The best Christmas leftovers

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New bookends

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As you can see, the holidays were pretty awesome, and man I want to go back to Florida.

In addition to that half-assed recap, I also have these thoughts:

1. I’ve been reading Are You There, Vodka? It’s me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler, and dammit if that woman’s writing isn’t way more entertaining than mine. I envy her edginess, and I guess I could always go the shock value route, but I have to wait for my parents to die first. Or go blind, or forget how to read. Other women whose writing is better than mine include Tina Fey and Mindy Kaling. Conclusion: comparing myself to professional comedians is not a productive exercise in self-esteem building.

2. Everyone please stop using the phrase “cool beans!” right now. It really makes me wish you weren’t a tool. Also, beans make me think of farting and then I associate that with you. And I really want to like you. I do.

3. I’m pretty sure I had this floral jean jacket in third grade in 1991. It’s now being sold at Gap in 2013. I don’t remember traveling to the future to make the purchase, but I’m not completely ruling it out.

4. Do you say “The Gap” or just “Gap?” I try to avoid saying it altogether because I just don’t know.

5. Showering every day is really starting to feel like a burden. This is very concerning because “second day hair” is not a look that works for me.

6. We recorded a Downton Abbey marathon on PBS about a month ago and watched all of it over the past couple weeks. It’s fabulous. But I just discovered that the DVR didn’t record the last 3 episodes of the second season (whhhyyy???) and there doesn’t seem to be an easy way to watch them online. It is slowly dawning on me that I might never get to see them. I guess that’s the reality of the cold, cruel world we live in.

7. While playing Cards Against Humanity last weekend, I discovered that nothing is funnier to me than random tiny animals wearing human clothes.

Have an un-sucky Monday!

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

A narcissist’s Thanksgiving

Yes, I had to Google how to spell “narcissist.” Guess what? I had it right! Am I the first person ever to try and chest-bump a computer screen? Maybe.

While I come down from that high, let’s talk about the real reason for this post. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. And thanks to one of those obnoxious trends on Facebook, we all know that everyone is thankful for their family, friends, health, pets, first world country amenities, Twilight, and Channing Tatum.

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Of course I’m thankful for all the things that everyone else is thankful for. I’m not a sociopath. But I’ll just show my thankfulness to those things in my own way and use this blog for other purposes. Namely, proclaiming my awesomeness to all the land.

Instead of making a list of things I’m thankful for this year, I thought I’d make a list of things that should be thankful for me. Let’s get started:

1. Gatsby. He is an animal, and yet he lives a plush existence among humans inside our house. And I treat him like a king. A king, I tell you.

2. Gossip Girl. I think I might be the only person who still watches that show. XOXO, me.

3. Lindsay Lohan. I’m rooting for her! It’s about time we had a teen-actress-turned-trainwreck who actually turns herself around. Drew Barrymore was a long time ago, guys.

4. Will. I cleaned up some Gatsby puke in the hallway the other morning before he woke up that was right in his well-worn path from the bedroom to the bathroom.

5. Anyone who rides in my car in December. Because I just made the BEST Christmas CD ever!

6. Turkeys. I won’t be eating much of them tomorrow. I can’t bring myself to tear into something that still actually looks like a bird. I prefer meals that don’t have limbs or a ribcage.

7. Skinny jeans. I make them look gooood! (And by gooood, I mean satisfactory. I just felt like saying something really cocky.)

8. My parents. The most trouble I ever got in growing up was “talking to my neighbor” too much during Grandparents Day in kindergarten. I mean come on.

That’s all I can come up with right now, but as you can see, I’ve given many people and things a lot to be thankful for.

Hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving! We’re heading to St. Louis this year, and I’m hoping for a visit to Ted Drewes to indulge in a pumpkin pie concrete. An ENTIRE piece of pumpkin pie. Blended with frozen custard. Talk about things to be thankful for!

Scent-cess!

It’s fall. The temperature’s dropping, then inexplicably rising for a freakishly warm couple of days, then dropping again–along with our spirits and our poorly-timed plans for “one last al fresco dinner out before it turns cold.”

It’s around this time of year that I get the urge to smell things. Things like pumpkins and cinnamon, cedar and burning leaves. It seems like all of the good smells come out in the fall. Summer is nice and all but steaming garbage bags and body odor are not scents that evoke the same kind of fondness. At least not for me.

So, once fall arrives, so does my quest to find the perfect seasonally-smelling candle. Because if I’m stuck inside, I might as well make it a full sensory experience.

Last week, my search efforts took me to Anthropologie. I find a lot of things take me there, actually. Namely, my addiction to their adorable clothes and lack of will power. (Peter pan collars? Chevron? Polka dots?? I’m only human!)

I learned one thing that day: Anthropologie sells a lot of candles. And it takes approximately 45 minutes to canvass both levels of the State Street store smelling all of them. And then re-smelling my favorites.

The nose bleed was worth it. (Yes, I’m exaggerating. No blood was shed. But I did implement a self-imposed sniffing hiatus for the rest of the day.) In the end, I found a real winner!

The Capri Blue Cracked Ice candle in Citrus Clove:

And it looks almost as pretty as it smells! Major score. I can only hope that it lasts until mid December, when my nose will shift gears towards all things pine, peppermint and gingerbread…

Waaay back in September…

We went to New York! And here’s a s#!tload of pictures:

It was a fantastic time. Even though it’s completely after the fact, I wanted to share these photos and some information about the places we went and what we did in case you’re planning on visiting this great city in the near future.

We stayed at the Carlton Hotel, which was really nice. Our room was tiny, but I think that’s par for the course in New York. We were right down the street from Madison Square Park, where we ate lunch at Shake Shack one day (YUM) and enjoyed paninis from Eataly (YUM again) another day. (One quick note about Eataly–they are planning on opening one in Chicago where ESPNZone used to be–I support this.)

We mostly wandered around the city, making stops at landmarks like Times Square, Central Park, MoMA and the Brooklyn Bridge. We also did a little shopping at stores we don’t have here in Chicago like Uniqlo and C. Wonder.

We visited the 9/11 memorial, which was actually really pretty and soothing–a fitting place to reflect on what happened there. Seeing all of the names etched on the memorial was a bit of a reality check, and we’re hoping to go back in the future once the museum is open.

And if you’re really interested, below is a quick list of other places we went. I’m hoping none of them sustained too much damage from Sandy last week.

Casellula Cheese and Wine Cafe–tiny adorable place, best mac & cheese I’ve had in a long time!

The Press Lounge–rooftop bar, not too pretentious, great views

Cafe Cluny–delicious food, romantic atmosphere

The Rusty Knot–super casual, nautical-themed bar right across from the river

Milk Bar–GO THERE. Get the crack pie. It’s called that for a reason.

Lupa–Mario Batali restaurant, amazing pork shoulder and pasta

The Spotted Pig–fun West Village bar/restaurant (also a Batali joint)

So those “I heart NY” shirts you see people wearing all over the place? I get it now.

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!

CARLIECRASH HAS BEEN CRASHED

Friends, family, acquaintances, and random other readers of Carlie’s blog –

Do you ever type “carliecrash.com” into your browser to see if Carlie has updated her blog… and then you sadly realize that it’s still the same old post from 3 weeks ago?  Then, a couple of days later you think to yourself “she surely must’ve updated that blog by now…” and then you return to “carliecrash” only to be disappointed once again?  Yeah… me neither… 

Last Sunday while out with Carlie and Emily in Lincoln Square, I brought this very subject to Carlie’s attention.  She explained that she has been very busy with work lately and that she has big plans for the blog soon.  In the meantime, Emily suggested Carlie take on a guest blogger… and that’s how you ended up with yours truly!   No, I can’t compete with Carlie (or as I prefer to call her, CarB) and her genius, written comedic timing.  But I, at least, hope to satisfy some of you when you came to this page today, hoping that “Parade of Insanity” was no longer the latest post. 

Carlie and I first met back in college at Illinois Wesleyan.  We joined the same sorority, became roommates in Big Front (you know it, you love it), and now both reside in the great city of Chicago.  We also both have sisters named Shannon.  Sidenote: Our other friend, Kelly, also has a sister named Shannon.  I think we were all destined to be friends.  Okay, let’s get back on track here.  Last year, Carlie and I decided to do some neighborhood exploration in our great city.  There are so many neighborhoods you hear of and, yet, don’t know where they are or what you can do there.  Our first adventure last year was to Lincoln Square.  You can read about that outing here.

With the seasons changing and what we thought would be a crisp chill in the air, we decided to plan another outing and try to recreate some of the magic of that October day a year ago.  We added in a little SF (that’s Smallfry – our friend Emily – in case you didn’t know) and took the El up to Lincoln Square last Sunday.  Mother Nature had other plans for our day when we saw the forecast was a high of 70 and sunny.  Should’ve worn flip flops!

The outing began at Huettenbar with a window seat.  After a few Oktoberfest beers and several occasions of “prost”-ing (that means “cheers” for all you non-German speakers) and a hint of a sunburn (who knew you’d need sunscreen at the end of October!!??) we decided to stumble up the street to the next location. 

This brought us to the cutest little bakery/cafe called Cafe Selmarie.  I would highly recommend dining here if you are in the neighborhood.  I had the chicken pot pie while Carlie and SF both got buffalo mozzarella ravioli dish.  My sister has a huge problem with someone ordering the same thing as her at a restaurant.  (Shan, if you’re reading this – yeah…they both got the buffalo mozzarella ravioli.  I wonder what Carlie’s sister, Shan, would think of this?  I also wonder what Kelly’s sister, Shan, would think of this?  Maybe it’s a “Shan” thing?!?)  Topped off with some hard cider to drink and we left happy.  I would also highly recommend asking for Adam as your waiter.  I don’t think he was as amused by us as we were by us.  Ah, good times. 

The Chicago Brauhaus was next.  This place doesn’t disappoint.  If you’re looking for some authentic Germans and some crazy music, this is your place!  You can even drink das boot here!   They also have those pretzel rods in mason jars on the bar.  (Question: Does anybody really eat these?  I always question the cleanliness of anything that spends several hours at a bar counter – including slimy men.  I mean, I saw the bartender refilling them, so it does appear that someone MUST eat them.  But who?  Or am I the only OCD person paranoid of this type of thing…hmmm…must self-reflect on that later.)  We went for a “medium” sized Spaten which when we were served our beverages, could only be described as “large.” Only one more drink here.  We had to pull ourselves together…it was a school night, after all. 

As we contemplated heading back to the El to head home, we made the decision to head across the street to indulge in some gelato from Paciugo, It was just too impossible to resist!  Should you find yourself someday with this same battle, always choose gelato.  In fact, whenever given the choice between something and gelato.  Always choose gelato.   More specifically, always choose the banana and chocolate gelato combo.  You can thank me later. 

As we rode the El home reflecting upon our day and licking every last drop of our gelato containers, we couldn’t help but think about how sometimes when you set out to recreate a fabulous day from a year ago, you are simply setting yourself up for disappointment.  Not this time, people!  We are making this a yearly outing!  Stay tuned for Carlie’s post in October 2013 of our 3rd annual Lincoln Square outing!  And let’s hope that’s not the next post we see from her! 🙂

Thanks, CarB for letting me take over your blog for a day.  Maybe you can consider changing your website to “megancrash.com”?  No…that kinda sounds weird.   Okay, you can keep your blog title.  🙂

Parade of insanity

Or the Chicago Marathon, as it’s more commonly referred to, tore through our neighborhood yesterday morning.

We awoke to the sounds of cheering, drum-pounding and the not-so-soothing stylings of Kanye and Jay-Z (that shit cray!). 

So we decided to head out into the madness and walk along the route for bit, enjoying the smugness and relief that comes from being people who do not sign up to participate in logic-defying activities, such as running 26.2 miles. Because why? Why would you do that?

But good for these people. I salute them. They’re for sure way more entitled to justify over-priced Lululemon outfits than I am. So they have that going for them.

Gatsby, on the other hand, could not fathom the thought process that must have occurred when these people signed up for this.

And the ghost of 1970s Fat Elvis was there to encourage the stragglers and shoo them away from the light.

Congrats to everyone who finished! You’re done! It’s over! That’s definitely something to celebrate.