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

Airport drinks on the way to St. Louis

Christmas morning mimosas with my parents

Warmth! Sunshine! Florida!

Cozy Christmas presents

Wine everywhere at dinner with AGD girls

The best Christmas leftovers

New bookends

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.

IMAG1082

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.

via

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:

image

image

image

image

image

image

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

P.S. Happy voting!