Tuesday, December 30, 2008

twilight

oh

my


god.

I'm not sure why I'm like 100 years late on the whole twilight phenomena, but i read the first book yesterday. the entire book. I couldn't put it down! I'm ADDICTED. All I want to do is rush out to the nearest book store and buy the next three so I can devour them quickly.

I've already heard the last book is a bit of a letdown, but I don't even care.

Okay, and also. Whoa on the sexual tension. Its almost like a steamy romance novel! I was pretty close to creaming my pants. Edward is just so dreamy ::sigh::

i would really love to find a twilight themed bar back in chicago. mmmmm

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas (a little late)

So for those of you who didn't know, I had to work on christmas. This meant that I was not able to spend Christmas eve or Christmas day with Neill or his family (as his brothers and him traveled back to WV on Wednesday).

However, Neill's family --in their infinite kindness--postponed their Christmas celebration until today! So, after work on Thursday I made my way over to O'Hare and hopped on a flight to Columbus, OH. Unbelievably, my flight left on time! Mom, Jared, Kurt, and Neill came to pick me up in their pimp escalade and we got back to their house around midnight.

After some quick hanging out, I crashed hard and slept late. Yessss. Today was mainly spent eating a HUGE meal (turkey, mashed potatoes, beans, curry chicken, croissants, stuffing, corn souffle), lazing around reading/watching tv/playing dominoes/watching tv/etc., and opening presents!

omg. I'm so relaxed. I can't believe the last time I've spent a whole day doing NOTHING. le sigh. This is the good life :)

Anyhoo, Neill's mom just finished showing neill and I how to make jamaican beef patties (but with turkey). yum.

I hope all of you are enjoying the holidays!!!!!

(As a side note, the only problem with my travels were my new boots. My feet were soooooooooooo hot on the plane. boo.)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Santa brought me an early present!

Meet my new boots! They are awesome. Now I will walk wherever I want and not be afraid of puddles or snow or ice or mountains. Bam.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

boys boys boys

my apartment is filled with men right now. Neill is sleeping like a baby in bed and two of his brothers, Kurt and Jayson, are sleeping in our living room. They stayed up to the ungodly hour of like 6 in the morning so I'm thinking I'm going to have quite a bit of alone time on my hands this morning. (Which is cool and everything. I like being alot. But, I don't like having to be alone and quiet).

I feel as though I haven't written an update on here for a while and now too many things have happened. So, all you fools will just have to miss out on the fabulously exciting tales of Mme. Alisha. Key words would be: Wilde, latkes, glug, party, friends, family, presents, Chanukah, Christmas, cookies, and CAKE.

I've been trying to keep up with working out among all of the food and merriment, but man it is HARD to want to go to the gym when the temperature is in the negatives. brrr. Although, I've got to say, once I get to the gym and get all warmed up it feels good. Plus, I want to stay there longer (and thus work out more) simply to avoid going back outside. Yesterday when I was there, I saw a woman meeting with a personal trainer. This is something I've been toying with for a while, but I'm sort of emabarrassed to do it. Ya know? I want someone to show me up to get buff (in this sense or in this sense, not this sense). Whoo. Anyhoo, I could look up pictures like this all day so I'm just going to stop now.

There is laundry to be done!

Monday, December 22, 2008

2nd Night of Chanukah!




Drr the menorah is backwards in the first two pictures. Ooops.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Inspiration

So back in the day I wrote a post or two about my fear of creepy christians. I would like to say, for the record, that this fear still exists.

That being said,

check this out!

I think this video is extremely inspiring and it has an important message--let's not forget those less fortunate than ourselves. You don't have to look far to find someone that could use some help. Even a small gesture might make a difference for some. If there is something I have learned while working at the National Runaway Switchboard, it is that if you don't have a dollar everything may as well be a million bucks. When someone does not have enough money to call someone or when they don't have money to take the bus or when they don't have warm clothes for winter, enough to eat, or diapers for their baby all they need is a little assistance. A little help. I challenge everyone to do something for someone in a position of need this holiday season. Because the truth is, every single one of us is lucky and we do have a duty to help.

*Note, I have no idea who this Hillsong group is and I probably disagree with the majority of their beliefs and messages. But seriously, who can't get behind helping people?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

fantasy

Is it just me, or is the commercial for Britney Spears' perfume horribly wrong?

Man hunts woman and shoots her (because he just can't help himself). She was about to go off and do her own thing (world domination), but once she gets shot in the back she realizes that this is a fulfillment of her secret fantasy and so the hunter and the hunted are able to spend the rest of their lives together.

gross.

On the upside, I got the cutest little tabby cat tape dispenser at NRS' staff holiday luncheon. I love office supplies!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Shopping

Oh.My.God.

Capitalism.Overload.
Shopping.Overload.
Spending.Overload.

What is it about shopping for other people that suddenly makes it okay to "lot loose" and buy things for yourself that you would usually never splurge on?

I bought this super sweet heather colored cardigan at Old Navy today. I <3 the color, but it was 30 bucks! The rational side of me knows that it will probably go on sale for at least 50% off in like a month (or less!), but the cray cray side of me wanted it NOW. And so I have it NOW. I'm going to wear it this weekend :)

Now, I know what you are thinking (scratch that. I hope that you are thinking) that some cardigan from Old Navy isn't exactly a crazy splurge. And you know what? That is exactly what I told myself to justify that purchase. And so I agree with you. Thanks for being on my side :)

Oh. And I don't even need to work on justifying the full price chocolate color cords I got. I NEEDED them so I could stop almost getting in trouble at work for wearing jeans on the weekends. That is a work related expense. I'm pretty sure its even tax deductible. So really I'm saving money on that one. Mmmhmm.

On the total upside:
+We got awesome presents for other people
+I got to spend all day with Brian!!!!!
+I got my shopping fix for probably the next 6 months
+Endless salad at Olive Garden (and breadsticks yum)

On the total downside:
-Spending 2 hours driving through a snow storm to get home

And on the totally unrelated side:
-A couple that lives on our floor left a card outside of our door wishing as a MERRY CHRISTMAS. As the resident Mrs. Scrooge, I must say one thing about this. I am so tired of people assuming everybody is christian. That is all.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Must Stop

Chocolate eaten yesterday:

5-7 hershey's kisses
3 mini reeces pieces
2 ghiradelli chocolate squared of the eggnog and peppermint bark variety.
1 (big) bite of chocolate pecan cake

I've got to stop!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Out of Habit

Man it is fucking cold outside today like nobody's business.

Yesterday, was NRS' volunteer and community holiday party. We had it at Wishbone and lots of volunteers and their friends (or what we like to call them - friends of NRS) were there. To be honest, I wasn't really looking forward to going. (I'm sure all of you are just soooo surprised that I was hesitant to go to a party. haha). But, I'm so glad I put on my big girl panties and sucked it up. I HAD A BLAST! All of my favorite people were there and I could actually talk to them thanks to the vodka and sodas I sucked down to lubricate social graces. And my my my how gracious I became! But, seriously, it was just a really positive time. I feel much more appreciative of the awesome people I have met through NRS. I work with some cool ass peeps. And, I've gotten the chance to meet some badass people who volunteer at NRS. So really, last night was just one big love fest all around.



Check this out - you can totally tell that I am highly skilled in the sorority girl picture pose. BAM.






Of course, as fate would have it, tonight I'm sitting all by myself. I'm vegging on the couch and I am currently wrapped in an electric blanket. It sure is toasty . . . but I can't help being a bit worried that I'm going to get electrocuted or die of a nose bleed. Hmmm I wonder if it is even possible to die of a nose bleed? We also have no food in the house, so that is sad. I had to eat cereal for dinner. Poo. At least it is that delicious peanut butter flavored cereal - Puffins. That shit is the BOMB.

I'm supposed to be holiday shopping, but of course thats not going anywhere. It has been on my to do list for like a month and I haven't bought one thing for one person yet. Although, I did go through my house to collect all the junk I don't want anymore and I have plans to regift it to people. ALL OF YOU ARE GETTING USED LOTIONS AND CANDLES. please deal with this. I've really got to get stuff for the families . . .my mom and dad are easy (a massage and a sweater or two), but neill's parents are always a bit trickier. Especially his dad. Wouldn't it be funny if I gave someone some spit? hahahahahaha man that thought just cracks me up.

Speaking of crack. I'm on it. This electricty is frying my brain!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm turning into scrambeled eggs. Fuck.

I should go.
Good bye.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

RtD Review!

Ready the Destroyer's CD, Through This Night, was just reviewed by Jack Rabid, the publisher and editor of The Big Take-Over!

Check out what he had to say:

"This is punchy punk the way I've always liked it best: deft, well-played, melodic, and not the least bit simple. This multi-racial (hurrah to that!) Chicago trio work in a fair bit of '80s emo on their debut. too, so they sound younger, less "old school" '77 ramalama. Leader Neill Miller already sounded like a bad ass guitar guy (he plays circles around most) and ballsy singer long before I got a gander at his equally bad-ass afro out of The Mod Squad. Yowsa! Meanwhile, his nondescript looking rhythm section of Aaron Cleall bass and Nic Lama drums are no slouches in talent quotient, either, holding down a pulsing basis for Miller's stabbing, ripping leads and dangerous rhythm parts. Hard-hitting, serious, and smart, RtD are, like The Soft Boys, ready to destroy you". (readythedestroyer.com)

-Jack Rabid, Big Takeover, Issue #63

AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Ready The Destroyer @ Quencher's 12/6/08


James and Chocolate Stout

Ready The Destroyer

Me

Jung and Lisa

James, Neill, Ruanna

Saturday, December 6, 2008

In the oven right now

You are going to be totally jealous of the delicious dinner Neill and I are about to embark on. That is, unless you are a vegetarian. If so, I'm sure you are already aware that your opinion does not matter.

So, I should first tell you that it is a recipe from my favorite food network house wife. Let's see if you can guess who from the description!

Last night we made a marinade for the chicken that consisted of:
-the juice of 4 freshly squeezed lemons
-3/4 cup olive oil
-Salt & Pepper
-1/2 tablespoon thyme

After letting the chicken soak up all of those fine juices over night, we popped those babies in the oven about 30 minutes ago.

While the chicken was cooking, I made a satay dip. First, I sauteed a small onion with olive oil, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes for about 10-15 minutes. After the onion became transparent, I whisked in vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce, ketchup, sherry, fresh lime juice, and, of course, peanut butter! I let that cook for about a minute or two and then took it off the heat to cool.

Right now, we are waiting for the chicken to be done so that we can dig in!

On a side note, please don't judge me for all of my posts being about food. Don't hate. Appreciate.

Oh, on another side note, we had the most annoying kids calling in today to NRS and pranking us. They just wouldn't stop. I think they must have called us like 50 times. And they kept telling me that they shot my momma. Very disconcerting :( I almost snapped on them.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Photos of the Holidays

Once upon a time there was a super hot momma and her daughter.

The super hot momma decided that she would be a saint and host Thanksgiving and invited her daughter, her daughter's bf, her daughter's father, and his sister.


The daughter believes that she also got some of her stunning looks from her father and so needed a photo to document this fact.

And while the family Thanksgiving was special and touching and all that jazz, little did people know that just the night before the daughter had her OWN Thanksgiving with tons of food specially prepared by her boyfriend and her boyfriend's life long manfriend.

They made a 20 pound turkey.


And two chocolate bourbon pecan pies.


And 10 pounds of potatoes that they mashed with cheddar cheese, real bacon, sour cream, and jalapenos.


All in all they were very pleased with themselves.




Unfortunately, there exists no photo documentation of the other deliciousness that they made, but you will just have trust in god that it was the bomb.

The end.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

mmmm

+ mmm almost time to start dinner (roasted carrots with dill & roasted spicy cashews over salad).
+the princess bride is on!
+delicious ethiopian food last night for Fro's birthday. And cheap! There were like 12 of us and we all stuffed ourselves for about 12 bucks a person. OMG so freaking good.
+top chef = best t.v ever

-COLD COLD COLD COLD COLD. i almost died on my 5 block walk from the bus to home today. like seriously. i almost just gave up and laid down on the side walk to wait for death. it was awful awful awful. BRRRRRRR

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

fast girls

Today has been an amazing day of lazing around the house, eating thanksgiving leftovers, and semi-productively working on my graduate school applications. I hope to have six submitted by the end of today! That means only four more to go. Whew. I've already sent out my applications to UT-Austin, University of Vermont, Kansas University, DePaul University and Loyola University. I'm working on the application for the University of MO-Columbia today and then once I'm done with that I will only have do to the University of Utah, University of MO - St. Louis, IU-Bloomington, and University of Nevada - Las Vegas. My next week or so will be hectic with trying to get those in, but I will be richly rewarded with Chanukah, a visit from Jayson and Kurt, and then a trip to WV for Christmas. Sweet sweet holiday relaxation.

Right now, however, instead of working I'm just waiting for some laundry to dry so that I can go to the gym and get my clothes all dirty again. Then Neill and I are going to go see Elizabeth Elmore of Sarfe and The Reputation at the Double Door. I saw her perform at Schubas last year and fell even more in love with her songs so I'm super excited for tonight. She is opening for Juliana Hatfield. I have no idea who that is, but neill says I'll like her. We shall see!

Monday, December 1, 2008

don't call it a come back

So I guess I forgot about this blog for a while. Ooops. Don't worry though, nothing too interesting happened in October or November. The highlights follow

+ End of September/beginning of October I visited my g.pa in Florida for Rosh Hashana.
+Oct 2 was Ready The Destroyer's CD release show at Reggie's Rock Club
+I saw Ani Difranco at the Chicago Theater on October 6th
-I got my wisdom teeth pulled on October 17th and spend the next two weeks pretty much dead to the world. Ugh.
+Halloween on October 31st!
-I missed Knox's Home Coming on Halloween weekend because I had to work. boo.
+Neill's 30th Birthday extravaganza on November 2nd! HAPPY BIRTHDAY BOO!
+++++++++++++OBAMA+++++++++++++++
-Working on graduate school applications. boooring.
+Nov 25th Neill and I went to see LuLu at the Lyric Opera.
+Thanksgiving with Neill and James and then the next day with family!
+November 29th checked out Sydney's new apartment for her birthday and saw lots of people from high school. Slightly awkward, but fun night.
+Dorothy's birthday dinner on the 30th!

So that pretty much catches everyone up and brings us to today. James and Jung are supposed to be coming over later and we are going to cook/chill. Fun!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sarah Palin

Is totally gross. She and McCain are going to make a sick twisted pair.

::gag::

Oh, and I'm eating my little bit of frozen snickers right now.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

ultimate satisfaction

I have not forgotten about the quarter of a snickers bar I left in NRS's freezer door wrapped in its own wrapper.

It better still be there or I'm going to have to sniff out the culprit.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Love Love, Kiss Kiss, Blah Blah Blah

Ooops. Its been a minute.

What can I say?

I know!

I ate 3/4 of a snickers bar today! It was just one of those days--I NEEDED it. I was originally going to go for M&Ms, but then we only had the peanut ones. Those don't satisfy my chocolate cravings at all. Then I was going to get a Twix, but I realized what I really really really wanted was a Snickers bar and anything else would just be a poor substitute. So I did it--I bought it!!! I haven't had a chocolate bar in FOREVER. I mean, I eat chocolate everyday. But, somehow my little chocolate squares I eat seem so much less sinful than buying a Snickers from a vending machine and eating it mid-day. MMMmm. It was delicious. I'm pissed that I left 1/4 of it in the freezer. I meant to eat it, but work got so busy that I forgot. It better still be there waiting for me on Thursday when I get there or heads will ROLL.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Presents Day!

pay day = presents day.

(well it also means paying bills and rent and credit cards and all the other owed money, but I prefer to focus on the positive).

Presents I bought myself today are as follows:

1. The Introvert & Extrovert In Love. I realize that I should probably be embarrassed that I found this in the self-help section, but I could NOT resist this book. I have high hopes and plan to read it with a highlighter or some other sort of marking materials. I have also already notified neill that I will be reading him all relevant passages. (In case you were wondering, he is the outie and I'm the innie).

2. The Modern Girl's Guide to Life. This is another guilty pleasure sort of book, but this has information on EVERYTHING. And 25 dollars isn't really that much money for an encyclopedia . . .. right? Plus, it does have a bibliography . . .so it really is semi reliable . . . .right? :) Whatever. I refuse to justify this -- it is enough that I wanted it.

3. New fancy shower curtain from Restoration Hardware.

4. dress to wear for our upcoming anniversary.

5. random tops (including, but not limited to: super soft t-shirts, white linen shirt, red flowered cami, & deep blue shirt). Obviously, there is no justification needed for these because they were all essential items.


Whew. Its like christmas :) My new lust items are:

New bedding set from Restoration Hardware in a yellow hue.

Yessss. Time for gym, dinner, than more of murdoch's splm. wooo

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Midnight Surprise

+ I went to the library the other day and got 2 books to read--The Awakening and Selected Stories by Kate Chopin and The Sacred And Profane Love Machine by Iris Murdoch. I read Murdoch's A Fairly Honorable Defeat earlier in the year and loved how dark and twisted it was, so how could I pass up a book with a title like The Sacred and Profane Love Machine. I started reading it immediately and it has not disappointed. Dark. Twisted. Sex. Love. Lies. Kink. Good/Evil. Drama. And thats all in the first 84 pages :)

-Work drama. blah.

+Nice dinner with my mom a few days ago. We went to Francesca's Forno right on the corner of Damen, North, and Milwaukee. I've avoided that restaurant since we've moved here because it looked obnoxious, but I feel kinda salty about that because the food was goooood. It was loud on a Wednesday night and (comfortably) crowded, so I'd imagine it gets pretty packed on the weekends and thus will now only be avoided on Fridays and Saturdays.

-Been eating like crap recently. We had what felt like NO food in the house this past week and so neill and I have been eating out every night. Sunday night was Penny's , Saturday night we ate and Alex's and Gracie's party (think steak, cheese, mini quiches, and more cheese), Friday night was the Silver Cloud, Thursday was Sultan's Market, Wednesday was Francesca's Forno, Tuesday was Usagi Ya, Monday was La Pasadita, Sunday was Carson's. GROSS. I didn't realize how bad it was until writing this all down. While I'm impressed at my memory, I can't believe what we've been eating. Just goes to show you how easy it is to slip into that sort of pattern (and by pattern I mean the pattern of eating totally delicious but maybe not so healthy food every night). Thankfully, we just went grocery shopping yesterday and we got tons of yummy fresh and healthy food. I could probably use some fiber in my diet right about now. haha.

+ Speaking of fiber, James came over last night and we grilled up tons of veggies. They were so good! We made eggplant, zucchini, portabello mushrooms, potatoes, and a red pepper. We also grilled up some shrimp and chicken.








After eating we played Circle of Death and laughed our asses off (++++).

OOOOh and also another +++++++ to the max -- it was my grandfather's birthday yesterday! He turned 93 or, as he says it, he is starting his 94th year. My My My. He is such a trooper! Happy Birthday Zadie!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

articles that have changed my life

Many many moons ago, when I was still in high school, I got the best gift ever--a subscription to BUST magazine (note to self: add this website to my favorite links list). I love/d this magazine and, looking back, I'm so glad that I was reading such an awesome magazine rather than seventeen or glamour. I'm sure I read loads of awesome articles, but the one article that really made an impression on me then and still to this day dutifully remains linked on my myspace as my one and only blog entry was Meet the Whimpster (I couldn't find an archive of the article on bust's website, but this looks like the original piece). I LOVED this article. I read it over and over again and shared it with my friends. We would read it together and glance knowingly at the girls who were guilty of dating whimpsters. In our highschool world, this article unlocked MANY secrets.

Anyways, I had all but forgotten about the whimpster until I stumbled across another spot on article about the Manic Pixie Dream Girls. I pretty much agreed with 90% or more of this article--especially the part about Natalie Portman in Garden State. I hate that bitch. Ugh. And Kirstin Dunst (um Elizabethtown anyone? gag). Anyhoo, before I had even gotten to the end of the article about MPDGs it dawned on me that whimpters + MPDG = true love. Apparently, the writers over at jezebel had the same thought. And even though they dismiss the term as so four years ago, all I can think is as if. I heart that the women over at jezebel remember the whimpster, and I'm so glad that they reminded me of it :)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Simple Strawberry Cake

A week or so ago I was randomly perusing blogs hosted by blogspot and I happened across a delicious looking food blog. I was immediately enticed by her entries and appetizing pictures. Particularly, I've had her recipe for strawberry cake on my mind. So, Matt's birthday provided the perfect excuse to try it out.

Her recipe is vegan and uses ground flax seed as an egg substitute, but we didn't have any of that hippie shit so we decided to just use egg in our version. I used the equation 1 tablespoon flax seed + 3 tablespoons water = 1 egg to figure out how many eggs to use. The original recipe calls for 2 tablespoons flax seed and 3/4 cup warm water and so we ended up using 2 eggs and then adding a bit of warm water to the batter for good measure. Besides this little switch up, we followed the original recipe. The cake was really easy to put together and was very straight forward.



Voila! The finished product!


I kept it in the fridge overnight and then brought it to work for Matt and everyone else. It was pretty good--although not what I was expecting. In texture and taste it much more closely resembled a coffee cake than a cake cake. Fro actually said it tasted like a special k with strawberries, but I'm not taking that comment to heart because he is a freakaleak (plus, I know he didn't mean that it didn't taste good--he ate half the pan!). I would definitely make this again (maybe with strawberries and another berry or adding some white chocolate chips), but probably for a brunch occasion.

Next on the list? I want to try and make the red currant and plum clafoutis. yum!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Inspiring

At work today I was reading an article on stretch marks from the Huffington Post. The article is very tongue and cheek, but it makes a really important point. Lots of real women have stretch marks (whether from growing tall or wide or lumpy or whatever combination of those), but yet I rarely see any out and about (that is, besides my own). Why is this? Why are stretch marks considered unattractive? I know most women complain about them, but how do men feel? I'm not particularly bothered by my stretch marks (mostly because I feel like I've got bigger body issues to fry...um cellulite anyone?), but I also never felt as though any of my partners were concerned with them either. What is the big deal with them?

Anyways, the huffington post article linked to this great website called The Shape of A Mother. Awesome! The site's owner writes:

"It is my dream, then, to create this website where women of all ages, shapes, sizes and nationalities can share images of their bodies so it will no longer be secret. So we can finally see what women really look like sans airbrushes and plastic surgery. I think it would be nothing short of amazing if a few of our hearts are healed, or if we begin to cherish our new bodies which have done so much for the human race. What if the next generation grows up knowing how normal our bodies are? How truly awesome would that be?"
What an inspiring message! I'm sure lots of people might see the women who are featured on this website and think that they are gross or repulsive or fat or whatever, but I think words like amazing and brave are more accurate. I apploud them for accepting and loving their bodies for what they are--strong and natural. Its so rare that we see women like this that it is easy to forget that the majority of women have stretch marks, or lumps, or rolls, or whatever. Looking at stuff like this reminds me to be a little kinder to myself and show my body some love!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

another day another dollar

These past few days have gone by so quickly. After going to Piece last Tuesday with Grace and Alex, I came home to spend some quality time with Neill. We had a great night with each other and it put me in a totally good mood. We had just finished the movie 21 (about the MIT student who counts cards in Vegas and wins a ton of money playing blackjack) and so to continue our theme we watched the movie Rounders. Neill had seen it many years ago, but it was a new one to me. It was funny to see Matt Damon so young, but the movie was good! A lot more heartfelt than 21.

On Wednesday I spent more quality time with Grace. We lounged at her place for a while and then trekked over to Marshall's. I got this awesome black and white casual button down shirt with a tie around the waist (which I wore on Friday and received many compliments on). After shopping, we had dinner at a yummy chinese restaurant I had never been to called New Jeanny's. Egg rolls, veggie tempura, and mongolian beef--oh my! Then , I went home and James came over. I hadn't seen him in what felt like a month so it was awesome to catch up with him. This is one of the first (if not the first time) we have spent time alone and it went swimmingly. I was glad to have someone to vent to about work and what not. Before long, Neill came and picked us up and we down to Union Station so pick Jayson up from his megabus stop. I love riding around downtown when its dark outside. I'm usually never around there at night and its awesome to get a chance to see the city all lit up and people watch. I wish I took pictures :(

After all that activity in one day I was soooooo tired. I usually shy away from filling up my days so much. I would much rather relax and take things slow than rush about from one thing to another. If I had the choice between having a day where I could putter around the house/relax/cuddle with neill/do whatever or having a day where I had back to back activities that were exciting and fun, I would choose the former. Does that make me weird? Maybe. I can't help it though--I'm a unique blend of loner and homebody.

Anyways, Thursday was back to work for me (blah). But after work and gym, Neill and Jayson grilled. Yum! It is crazy how much meat he and jayson can consume. I can't imagine what it was like for their mother at dinner time with 5 boys to feed!

That bring us to yesterday. It was time to hit the pool again, but my heart just wasn't in it. I had worked out hard everyday since Tuesday (with a double workout on Tuesday!) and I think my body just needed a break. But, since I had a swimming date with Grace I tried to suck it up. Note to self: trying to swim laps when I'd much rather be cuddling does not work. I don't think I ended up swimming more than a 500. Most of the time I was horsing around with Grace/trying to get a tan. Oh well. At least it was fun. After swimming, Neill and I went to Piece (again). I got the dark and curvy again (yum) and we ordered a HUGE pizza with spinach, mushroom, anchovies (1/2), and pepperoni (1/2). DELICIOUS!!!!!! Waiting for a seat at that place is a bitch and sort of made me cranky, but in hindsight their pizza is worth. Of course during the wait I wanted to give up and just go to Santullo's where I know I'd be able to have a yummy piece of pizza in 30 seconds, but I'm glad I didn't cave.

After dinner I got to see Kurt and Jayson for a minute. They had just gotten back from Lollapalooza and were tired and stinky. Hearing about how crowded and hot it was made me glad that I didn't buy tickets. I think I would rather be at work (which I am) than be standing around all day feeling hot and gross. I can listen to all the music I want on my ipod :)

Speaking of work, I should probably do some.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

antm

After drinking some dark and curvy at piece last night I was tipsy enough to arrange an at home photo shoot. Fun!







Oh, and also--check out the best article ever written about the Dark Knight. This article covers everything.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Hopeful News

Ahh Sundays. Fro is off today so I'm all alone at work today with just a few volunteers. Sundays are usually slow so I brought my ipod with me. I thought it would be fun to listen to music and just chill out in between calls. Of course, we haven't been able to make it through one song without getting interrupted by a call. This should teach me a lesson--never count on work being slow, because then it will inevitably be hectic.

Last night after work neill and I checked out the wicker park street fest. We got there just in time to see the tail end of The 1900s performance. I've heard a lot of buzz about them so it was cool to check them out. We also found some awesome artwook being displayed. I wish I could remember this guy's name because both neill and I liked his stuff (and it was kinda cheap). Very simple and minimilist, but he had interesting compositions. It was pretty crowded and so after about an hour we ditched out and went over to our favorite neighborhood plant store, Asrai Garden. The staff there is so friendly and knowledgable. We ended up picking up a new plant for the bedroom (a philodendron) and figuring out the name of Neill's plant we got there a few months ago (its a Zamioculcas zamiifolia a.k.a a ZZ plant). Yay plants!

Anyways, I should probably be working so I'll end the post with two articles I found that made me happy. Maybe they will make you happy too!

I found a really uplifting article on the advocate's website. [I actually had no idea that the we had any laws against individuals with H.I.V coming to the United States. But, I'm quite happy that the ban is being repealed.]

Also, here is another happy piece from the huffington post. To hear about Catholic groups petitioning the pope to lift the birth control ban is an interesting comparison to yesterdays post on the whole birthcontrol/abortion mess.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Equally Horrifying

McCain's beliefs on H.I.V prevention.

I've aborted millions of babies

Ugh. I heard some murmurs about this at work the other day, but I dismissed them as office rumors.

How could any rational human being argue that birth control (such as the oral contraceptives that SO many women take) is synonymous with abortion?

How could our Department of Health and Human Services go againt the medically accepted definition of pregnancy and argue that conception (when an egg is fertilized) is when pregnancy begins and not implantation (when the fertilized egg/embryo/blastocyst gets hitched into the nutritious uteran lining)? [Side Notes: 1) A woman's body begins to recognize the pregnancy at implantation--not conception. 2) There is no way to test for conception. Pregnancy tests look for the hormone hCG, which is produced only after implantation. 3) The time between conception and implantation is variable, but is usually somewhere between 5 or 6 days.]

Even if people choose to personally believe that pregnancy begins at conception, why is our government trying to label birth control as abortion? Why attach that stigma to it? Why try and make women feel guilty for preventing pregnancy and scare them into believing they might be guilty of getting an abortion if they take bc? Why make it easy for more and more creepy crazy christians to legally deny women their rights?

It's already been decided that pharmisists can deny to sell women the morning after pill if doing so is against their conscience, but with this new proposal pharmistis would be legally able to refuse to fill birth control perscriptions. Here in Chicago this might not seem like such a huge problem. If one ignorant employee wouldn't fill my perscription, I have a million other options to choose from. But what about women living in small towns with only one or two pharmacies? What about those with no access to transportation and so they are not able to make it to the other side of town or the next town over? This proposal could create a real and highly problematic obstacle for women.

Accessability options aside, I wonder what something like this might mean for women who don't believe in abortion. If someone deeply believes abortion is wrong , how will they feel about taking birth control once it is deemed equivalent to abortion? How many women will worry that they have unknowingly ended their unborn childs life? Will something like this prevent young women from taking birth control?

If you are interested in reading other articles/posts about this topic, check out this and this and this. And of course feel free to sign this petition or engage in other acts of random resistance :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

happy hour

Some points of interest

+] Yesterday, my boss told me she thought I was cheerful. Weird. I've never heard anyone use that word to describe me. Usually, people tell me I'm sensitive, or smart, or thoughtful, or headstrong. Its not often I'm complimented on my cheery disposition. Being cheerful isn't even really part of my self-concept. If I was asked to describe myself, I'd be more likely to use words like "brooding" or "introverted" rather than "gregarious" or "happy". But, apparently at work I'm cheerful. This makes me happy to know.

+] Neill and his band have been busy in the studio recording a new EP. Last night, Neill played me some of the rough recordings and they sound fucking awesome. Even without mixing and mastering, they sound totally sweet. I'm so excited for them to finally have some good recordings of their songs!

+] I get to go swimming with Gracie today. She is going to pick me up at 5:30 and then we will hit the pool together. Hopefully, the weather will hold so we can enjoy the sun while we are in the pool. Eventually, I hope to start jogging to the pool and then swimming laps. It would be exactly a 1 mile run from where I live. The only problem is that I'm not sure how I could do it and still have all the stuff I need for swimming. I could jog with my swim suit on under my workout clothes, but what about my towel, hairbrush, swim cap, goggles, and all the other stuff I would need? Is this why I sometimes see people running with back packs on? ick. That just sounds so uncomfortable.

+] Nish had his interview at NRS yesterday with my boss. He says it went well. I'm hopeful! It would be awesome if he started working at NRS. While it might suck for him to work overnights (12am-8am), I would be excited to see his face every morning when I arrived for work! And honestly, I could sort of see him enjoying the night shift. Its just creepy enough to make him happy :)

+] We acquired a new baby plant. Its a cute little succulent and its housed in the sweetest tiniest baby blue pot. We've got a nice collection going now--I will post pictures soon.

+] Neill picked me up from work and completely surprised me with a bouquet of flowers. So sweet and wonderful. ::swoon::

+] Tomorrow I'm going to go see the new batman movie with froilan and brian! Ive heard such good things about the movie. I'm totally psyched to see how Chicago looks as Gotham city. Plus, we are going in the afternoon so I only had to pay matinee price for my tickets. Saving money = me happy.

+] On Sunday and Monday I got to do fun arts and crafts projects at work. I LOVE that I get to be creative at work and make collages/draw/do fun stuff with art supplies!

+] I have NO obligations for today (besides swimming). That means I get to putter around the house till my hearts content! Yesssssss. I want to declutter our mantle place over our fire place and listen to music and waste time and snack on whatever food we have in the house and read in bed in the middle of the day and other luxurious things like that. I'm so easily pleased with free time :)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Movies

I found some great teen friendly informational videos on teenwire--a website sponsored by Planned Parenthood that aims to disseminate health related information to youth. Sometimes websites that are too kid friendly can be obnoxious because they come off as pandering, but I really appreciate how this website mixes a youthful dynamic design with important information. For example, I liked they way they answered a user's question about whether or not doctors can tell if women have had sex. Check out their response here.

Coincidentally, just yesterday we had a call from a young girl who wanted to know the exact same thing. In her case, she wasn't trying to hide anything from her doctor--she wanted a doctor to be able to tell her whether or not she had sex last night. She couldn't remember much about the night, but she knew she was hooking up with a guy and so she was worried that they had sex. While most of the information in the response provided by the teenwire editors might seem basic for some, there are lots of people out there who never had access to reliable sexual health information such as this. I don't know if our caller never had sex education in school or if the curriculum used by her school district just completely passed over the basics of the hymen, but it seems like websites like teenwire.com could be a great resource for teens seeking information that they can trust . (Although, I'm sure some would argue that Planned Parenthood is not a trustworthy organization, but whatever).

Anyways, I found a few videos on teenwire that I thought I'd share. I think both of them are creative ways to educate teens on issues that are important to them, but that adults might be hesitant or refuse to talk about.

Here is a video addressing the how the apperance of genitals can vary from person to person.


Here is a video with instructions of how to put a condom on.

Enjoy!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Fitness

I don't want to turn the focus of this blog to fitness, but getting healthy is a big part of my life right now and so it seems disingenuous to not address it to some extent. Fitness hasn't always been an important thing to me, but about a year ago (August 07) I joined a gym near our house with the overarching goal of becoming a healthy adult. I've been heavy on and off my whole life and I have always known that being overweight wasn't healthy. But, once I graduated college I started worrying about the health problems it would bring me later in life and the sort of example I want to set for my own future family. So since then, I have consistently tried to make working out a priority in my life. Even though it sometimes totally blows to carve out two hours of my evening to make sure I have time to get a work out in, overall it has been really rewarding. With my year mark coming up, I've been feeling the urge to evaluate my progress and set new goals. When I started out I didn't have many specific goals. I wanted to lose weight, but that was about it. Now, my attention has turned more towards fitness. I want to be able to do x number of push-ups or I want to be able to run x number of miles. I want to focus on building muscle. I don't just want to be not fat, I want to be fit.

As part of this, I've started adding new activities to my workouts. For example, a while ago started doing core work and push-ups after my usual cardio workout. More recently, I've started swimming too. A friend and I have a standing date to hit the pool twice a week. Its been awesome getting outside and a welcome break from the gym. Plus, I can really feel it in my arms, back, and shoulders :) Also, instead of doing the elliptical all the time, I try and break up my gym workouts with some treadmill work every once in a while too. That's been a real challenge for me. Running has always been something that seemed out of the question and to (somewhat) get over that mental road block of "I can't" has been awesome. For a while, I was on a pretty good roll with running. I was following a 5k training plan and running every other day. Unfortunately though, a pain in my left leg set me back and I haven't gotten back into the groove. Eventually, I do hope to start that up again. I definitely want to run a 5k race within the next year (mark that as one of my new fitness goals). I would love to add other sorts of fitness activities that don't necessarily include going to the gym, such as yoga, so that might be something in the works this year. I'm also interested in doing some personal training sessions. I couldn't afford to see one once a week, but I think it would be really helpful to even go a few times. I would want to learn new ways to build muscle and it would be nice to have some help in figuring out fitness goals that make sense for the results I want.

Anyways, yesterday my plans to go swimming were ruined by the rain so I had to hit the gym and it looks as though the same thing will happen today. Maybe I should take this as an opportunity to pick up running again?

Friday, July 18, 2008

little details make up the story

I got caught in the rain today on my way home from work. It started out as a slight drizzle as I was walking to the bus stop. It was so humid outside that the rain almost blended with the thick air. Seconds after taking my seat on the 9, big fat drops started falling fast and hard. It was still raining when I got off the bus so I quickly shuffled around the corner to wait for the number 72, which would take me all the way home. I tried to hold my pants up so the bottom of my jeans didn't get soaked by the puddles. It smelled awful. Chicago rain always smells a bit industrial, but today the smell was overwhelming. As the rain dried on my arms and face my skin began to feel tight and itchy. Wet in the front, my jeans stuck to my legs. When my bus arrived I squished on with all the other wet passengers. A nice man offered me a seat, which I declined. Just moments after I got on the bus, the rain stopped.

The worst thing about the trek home today was that neill wasn't around when I got here. I don't like coming home to an empty house. It feels lonely doing everything for one. Cooking for one is the worst. Who ever cooks with just half an onion or makes just one turkey burger? It doesn't feel right. I made enough for two out of habit. Although come to think of it, eating alone might be slightly worse than cooking for one. When neill is here, we can sit down together--have a real meal. Share. What do most people do if there is no one to share their food with? Multitask? I guess people could eat while checking their e-mail, watching television, paging through a magazine, or even talking to someone on the phone (although I have always found that theis leads to misplaced silences), but that doesn't really sound like having a meal.

I watched television while I ate. What Not To Wear was on, but I missed the first half so it wasn't that interesting. The first half of that show is much more entertaining than the latter. Who cares how some chubby chick looks in her dark denim pants that go straight down from the widest part of her (usually her hip/upper thigh region. saddle bags I think they are called. These seem to be an inevitable problem for women) and a flashy structured jacket? I want to see the before part. I want to see stacytron and clintontron rip a woman apart just for being normal. I want to see what fashion crimes they caught on the secret footage.

I did hear some good news today. [*After writing that last sentence, I realized that finding out good news when I'm alone is also not as satisfying as when I'm able to share said good news with neill. That being said, I'm not sure if this is more preferable than cooking or eating alone. I would have to say that eating alone is still the worst and then after that comes getting good news alone. I guess that means that in the grand scheme of things cooking for one isn't so bad.] A paper I worked on when I was with Dr. Kathy Grant's Stress and Coping Project ready to be submitted for publication. The paper is on the relationship between body image, race/ethnicity, and disordered eating among urban adolescent females. We examine how low body image relates differently to disordered eating symptoms among white, black, and latina urban adolescent females. In other words, we tested to what extent if at all race/ethnicity moderated the relationship between low body image and disordered eating. Also, we were able to explore some racial or ethnic factors that might account or explain the effects we found (such as different cultural standards of beauty). Interesting stuff. Of course, once it is submitted the paper will most likely get sent back to us with loads of suggested revisions. Its crazy how long it can take to get something published in a peer reviewed scientific journal. Anyways, I volunteered to run some additional literature searches before submission in an effort to address some of the paper's problem areas. My perfectionist side was the one who wrote is almost that e-mail. Sometimes I regret her behavior, but she always gets the job done. Besides, I need a project to work on now that neill is getting busier with the band.



There is not much else to say after that.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Catholics For Choice

I ran across this website today while researching sex education in Illinois. After yeseterday's post, it seems only fair to post this as a follow up. Jon O'Brien, president of the organization Catholics for Choice, has some interesting remarks about the role of conscience in abortion. Also, there are lots of interesting articles that you can access through the online archives of Conscience magazine. Check out:

Prochoice Catholicism 101

Abortion: Freedom and Responsability


I don't know how representative these articles are or how credible their analysis of catholic teachings and policies, but its great to know that there are people from all walks of life supporting women's access to health care and their right to choose.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Claim Your Prize

The new Pottery Barn catalog came yesterday. Fun! I have a mini-obsessions with looking at furniture catalogs. The furniture is just so beautiful and the little set up rooms are just so beautifully arranged that it is hard not to salivate over each page. I have already scoured the pages of the Pottery Barn catalog and narrowed down my favorite I GOTTA HAVE IT pieces. Of course, this isn't enough for me. After picking out the ones I really loved, I had to cut out the little pictures and so that I could see how they would all work together. My wishes are:

Bench with storage compartments to go under the window in our bedroom. We have a desk there currently that we inherited from the previous owners of our condo. Neill wanted to save it, but I have never really liked it and it has always been something I wanted to replace. While in the picture, the cabinet is storing random stuff, I would want to put books in there.

Weird piece of wall art. The colors in this faux folk art piece would look good with our walls and the piece is big enough that it would help fill in some of our sprawling empty space. I'm imagining this piece somewhere in the bedroom (like across from the bed), but it could also go in the office.

Chair and ottoman
. I'm not usually a huge fan of wicker furniture, but there is something about this chair that I really love. I like how it has dark and light tones in it. I've always wanted a chair in the bedroom and I think this would really tie together the light wood of our bed (pine) and the dark finish of our dresser (mahogany or espresso stain, I think). Plus, its sort of neutral enough to not add another competing color pallet.

Green buffet piece. Pottery barn is selling this as a buffet, but I think that it could work in a lot different rooms as a nice storage cabinet. I really love the green color they use and I think it would look good in any of the rooms we have because they all have a bit of a greenish hint to them (minus the kitchen, which is more of a burn burgundy). We definitely need more storage in the bedroom and so this could go there. But, I would say that of all of the pieces that I picked out this is the one that I would easily give up. We are more in a need of a dresser than just some random storage piece that we would probably end up stuffing clothes in.

Exercises like this are all part of my love/hate relationship with furniture magazines. Love because I want want want stuff. Hate because I can't can't can't afford it.

I've always wanted to live in what my mom always called "magazine houses". In case you are not familiar with this term, magazine houses are 100% clean with absolutely no clutter. Everything matches in a perfectly artistic yet homey way. There are no scratches on the furniture (that aren't meant to be there). Beds are always made and floors are always clean. All the towels in the bathrooms match and they might even be monogrammed. They are very well organized. They are expensive. And overall, they are unrealistic. Even though I know that magazine houses don't really exist in the world I live in (and if they do, they take a ton of work/money/cleaning staff), I can't help but let the magazines make me wish for what I do not have. Yuck. Actually, now that I'm thinking about it--I don't really love looking at these magazines. It's fun while I'm flipping the pages, but afterwards they usually just leave me feeling unsatisfied with the things I have (which are truly wonderful, so I also end up feeling unappreciative). It's kind of like eating a piece of cake when you are on a diet. It is delicious when you are eating it, but afterwards you just feel kind of guilty. Except, that I don't feel guilty. I feel greedy.

And I'm trying to remind myself that it is okay. I think that greed is just part of being human. I'm okay with admitting that sometimes I want more than I need. While I try not to act on these desires, it would be dishonest (and totally obnoxious) to pretend that I am above emotions like that.

Poo.

But, maybe we really do need the chair? And the storage bench? Right?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

pack like sardines in a crushed tin box

Speaking of those creepy christians, I ran into some pro-lifers (or anti-choicers, as I like to call them) protesting in front of the Art Institute on my way home today. Who were they targeting? Harmless tourists trying to enter the museum and maybe check out Millennium Park? There was a whole flock of them carrying HUGE signs that featured pictures of aborted fetuses. [Side note: I've got to wonder if those pictures are even real. Not that I don't believe that fetuses might look like that (big gooey blobs of reddish brownish shtuff), but I really wonder how they access pictures like that. Who originally took the picture and then who gave these crazies permission to use it?] I'm curious if those pictures were accurate or if they were purposefully designed/altered to frighten women away from abortion because its not a pretty posy.

Either way, I think its a pathetic tactic to resort to. Think about it--what purpose do enlarged gory pictures with "Choose Life" written across them serve?

They don't educate.

They don't inform.

They don't prevent.

They don't pose alternatives.

They are meant to shock. They are meant to frighten. They are meant to gross people out.

And why would this be an effective way to protest?

Because, anti-choicers want people to believe abortion is shocking, frightening, and gross. What I think these protesters are missing out on is that no one is arguing the position that abortion isn't a complicated, difficult, and messy experience. I don't think that many women or partners make the decision to terminate a pregnancy lightly. And I certainly don't think that anyone going into something like that believes a cute little angel is being extracted from their uterus. Abortion is certainly shocking and frightening -- especially for the women who have one (and these women deserve all of our support) And sometimes terminating a pregnancy is probably also kind of gross. But so what? What is it about all of that that somehow leads to the conclusion that all women don't deserve the right to choose? Nothing. And that's why anti-choice tactics such as that are so infuriating. They are simply meant to frighten and they serve no higher purpose.

And guess who is most likely to be affected by those tactics? Let me give you a hint--its not the educated middle class woman with feminist leanings that will choose to keep a baby because they ran across some freaks with signs. It is going to be the vulnerable, somewhat uninformed, young woman who probably has fewer accessible resources and fewer people to lean on. Tactics like scary pictures are meant to scare young girls--not help them. But, if they were really pro life like they claim, wouldn't they care about helping the young women already walking around in this world become resilient and make healthysafe choices? Apparently not.

Ugh.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Jesus Camp

Last night, Neill and I watched the documentary Jesus Camp by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady. The film is centered on following a few Evangelical Christian children attending pastor Becky Fischer's "Kids On Fire Summer Camp"--a summer camp that takes kids that are already growing up in scarily conservative homes and teaches them how to (supposedly) be god's warriors. Eww. The film is super creepy and made me really sad for these children. I'm not saying that it is wrong to raise your children with certain beliefs, but we've got a problem when parents and religious figures are purposefully trying to indoctrinate youth to such an extent that they are: shaking around on the ground with the "spirit of christ", walking up to strangers on the street telling them about god's mission, distrustful of nonchristians, worshiping a cardboard cut out of george bush, standing in front of the white house with red tape over their mouths to protest abortion, and hopeful to one day become the sort of person that will have the opportunity to die for jesus. Its seriously sick shit.

The christian right scares the fuck out of me and I don't want to live in a world with people like that. And the truly sad thing is, these kids never had a chance. They never had a chance to think for themselves or say no or question what they are being told. They are fed these awful lies from such a young age and sheltered from people who might introduce "sin" (a.k.a alternative points of view) that they never have an opportunity to develop a system of beliefs that truly makes sense to them. Little kids will believe in santa clause, the tooth fairy, and monsters underneath the bed--it is no surprise that they will believe in jesus if you tell them to. And while most kids grow out of their childhood beliefs, Fischer preaches in such a way to permanently ingrain each child with her message. Her scary threats of hell would make an impression on any 5 year old. She wants to get them when they are young because young kids never forget. And the kids in this documentary get it from all sides--their parents are telling them the same things at home. Most of them don't even go to school! Instead, they are "home schooled". In the movie, there is actually a scene where one of the moms is teaching her children that evolution is just a belief based on bogus science and that creationsim is really the only logical answers to all of the questions. There really is no chance for these kids to believe anything other than what their fanatical parents want them to.

I thought the film raised a lot of important questions about religion and youth. To what extent is it a positive thing to raise children to be religious (whatever that religion may be)? Where is the line between being religious and being fanatical? Can children truly believe in or understand what is means to be religious? Should they have a choice at that age?

I know that this film only follows a few children attending one camp. Obviously, there are thousands and thousands of Christians in the United States that are totally noncreepy and wonderful people. BUT, I can't help but have a little fear and distrust of the church (interestingly, my fear of christians is somewhat related to my fear of the suburbs and the country. I don't think it is a coincidence that jesus camp is located in South Dakota). While sometimes my fears of creepy christians seem totally illogical and crazy, if there truly are people out there such as those highlighted in Jesus Camp I feel completely justified in my concerns.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Literary Tattoos

Work is pretty slow today. We haven't gotten many calls and so the volunteers are restless. I guess not that many people are in crisis today. I should be happy about that, but man - when work is slow on the weekends it sucks. The day just drags on. Here I am, sitting by this beautiful floor to ceiling window and I can't go outside. I never realized how much I liked being out and about until I was caged indoors 40 hours a week. On days like this, my brain feels like its melting from all of the online trolling. I did happen to stumble (and no, not google stumble) on a cool blog filled with pictures and stories of literary themed tattoos. Some of them are really lovely and feature great quotes.

Looking at things like this makes me want a new tattoo. I currently have some hebrew lettering just below the nape that translates to "strong woman". Before I got that tattoo, I carried around the lettering for months waiting for the right time to actually get it done (which happened to be when I was on a trip to Montreal). That was about 4 years ago. I was always planning on getting more but nothing seemed right. I've though of getting some sort of small screws/bolts around where my long back scar is. I've thought of getting a large piece done on my back of old school birds holding banners as a tribute to my mother and father. I've thought of getting some sort of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) themed tattoo, like maybe a neuron or something with the brain. And, I've thought of getting a meaningful quotation done, although it is hard to decide what I would choose for that. I like all of these ideas and I sort of want them all, but I don't want to do all of them--I want one more. It doesn't seem right to get a tattoo without being entirely sure, but part of me thinks that I should just hemming and hawing. I sort of want to wait until something important happens to get a new tattoo, something to commemorate a life transition. Future life transitions that could be occasion for a tattoo are: reaching my health/fitness goals, going to graduate school, or getting engaged.

Uhoh. I hear my supervisory duties calling . . .

Blogging

Lately, I've been telling lots of people that they should start blogs. When my friend Dorothy moved to Athens, GA for a grand old adventure I encouraged her to start a blog so that I could read about her exploits in plant research. When another acquaintance moved to Brooklyn for the summer with a few of her college friends with out a job I told her, "BLOG IT!" There is just something so juicy and entertaining about reading about other peoples mis/adventures and nonadventures. Because neither of them have started blogs and (dissapointingly) most people I know don't blog (except neill), I seem to be destined to read blogs written by people I only peripherally know. This behavior sometimes borders on creepy in the lurker/stalker sense, but its actually kind of fun so don't hate. Anyhoo, back to the point--I've never had my own real live blog. Maybe because of blog insecurity? There is a a little skinny evil woman in my head whispering things like: I wouldn't have anything interesting to say . . . No one would read it . . . It would be dumb/stupid/ignorant/boring/trite/etc. (As a side note-I hate this skinny woman in my head. She is very hungry and this makes her very mean). Anyways, I've (somewhat) silenced her and so I have decided to start a blog.

So there.

Eat a Big Mac.

With some golden delicious fries.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Feast

My boyfriend and I went to Feast for the first time last night. It looks really inviting from the outside, so we thought we would finally give it a try. There was a wine tasting going on when we arrived (at 7:00 PM) and a nice crowd had assembled to drink and nosh. While we were seated in the main dining room, the atmosphere of the bar was really pleasant. I definitely would go back on a cold winter night, grab a seat by the fireplace and warm up with some wine. How picturesque!

The decor in the intimate main dining room was also aesthetically pleasing. Brighter than the bar area, beautiful lamps hang from the ceiling. My boyfriend thought they looked retro, but what does he know? The dining room felt surprisingly small--and only about half the tables were full. I imagine that on a busy night it might feel a bit cramped, but I guess that's true of a lot of restaurants.

I started off dinner with a glass of the Riesling and my boyfriend had a Fat Tire (which they had on tap, along with a Goose Island Harvest Ale and some kind of Rogue Ale). I thought the Riesling was good, but not anything special. For an appetizer we ordered the portebello quesadilla, which was more than enough for two people to share. I usually don't like quesadillas, but this one was pretty tasty. Although, I don't think I would order it again. Next time, I want to try the mussels. Yum. For dinner, I had the skirt steak ($19) and my boyfriend had the stuffed chicken with gnocchi ($18). My steak was really good! It was everything a steak should be--juicy, moist, and tasty. It also came with really good mashed potatoes and some delicate onion rings. The chicken was good, but the gnocchi's consistency and texture was just a bit off. They were denser than I usually like them and almost crunchy on the outside, as if they had been lightly fried or toasted. I'm not sure if that was intentional or not, but either way they tasted a bit strange.  But, it wasn't enough to stop my boyfriend from finishing off his meal and mine! The food was plated nicely and all around it was an enjoyable dinner.

I do, however, have three criticisms. Firstly, the service wasn't superb. While it wasn't by any means bad, our waiter was a bit scarce. I would guess that on busier nights the service would be even slower. Secondly, some of the dishes were slightly pricey. While I thought that my skirt steak was fairly priced, my boyfriend's chicken dish seemed expensive for what it was. Thirdly, and this is purely opinion, I thought a lot of the descriptions on the menu sounded really unappetizing! I'm not a picky eater at all and usually I can find numerous things I want to order at any restaurant, but not many items on Feast's menu grabbed my attention. A lot of them just seemed . . . off.

Complaints aside, I'm sure I'll end up back at Feast one of these days. It definitely warrants a second tasting and it is just so damn close! For those who have to drive there, they have valet parking for 10 bucks. If you are going on a weeknight, don't bother with it! Look for parking on the near by side streets instead!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Earwax Cafe

There must be something addictive about the food at Earwax because since the first time I went there, about six months ago, I've had weekly cravings for their yummy, home-cooked comfort food.

Before my first visit to Earwax, friends and yelpers alike warned me that I might find the atmosphere too pretentious for my taste. I heard tall tales of the scary scenesters and horrible hipsters that call this place home. But, Earwax has much more of a hippy dippy feeling to me than anything else. It is like the Heartland Caf minus the politics. Admittedly, you do see the occasional scruffy boy reading Catch 22 (didn't we all read that in high school?) and groups of young twenty somethings that look like they might work at American Apparel, but everyone seems content to live and let live. Earwax has a really relaxed, homey atmosphere that nicely compliments their food.

Which brings me to the good stuff. Other yelpers have complained about the quality and taste of the food, but I think it is some of the best casual, vegan/vegetarian friendly food I've had. The Garbage Salad with chicken is my stand by, but their BBQ Satan Burrito, Tuna Melt, and omelets are sure things as well. Some things on the menu cost a few dollars more than you would like, but I think the extra money is usually worth it. Plus, Earwax is BYOB so you can save money bringing your own drinks.

However, I do have two gripes about Earwax. It can get a bit crowded and I absolutely hate waiting to be seated. If you want to beat the crowds, steer clear of here on the weekends--especially during brunch. Also, it is cash only and that is just sort of a pain. Other than those two minor problems, Earwax is a great, funky place to go with friends.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Webster's Wine Bar

Based on the great reviews written by other yelpers, My boyfriend and I tried Webster's Wine Bar last night (1/11/08) along with another couple. None of us had ever been to a wine bar before so we weren't sure what to expect, but it was one of the best Friday nights I've had in a while.

Firstly, I must confess that the great company probably had lots to do with the fabulous evening. Good friends and wine almost always equal a good time. But the warm atmosphere, helpful staff, extensive wine selection, and DELICIOUS appetizers made it a really special night.

We each started with a wine flight. My friend and I both had the Classic Whites, my boyfriend had the Winter Reds, and our fourth tried the Argentinian Reds (their current special). All of us enjoyed the selections and found them generously poured and reasonably priced. Plus, our waitress was able to recommend some appetizers and cheeses that would compliment our respective flights. The food was great and arrived surprisingly quickly. After finishing our flights, we split two bottles of wine (one red and one white) that our waitress recommended and ordered more appetizers and two pizzas. I was a bit worried that we would end up with some crappy bar pizza, but it was very tasty and nicely done. We didn't try any of the main courses, but between the four of us we managed to try almost every appetizer. I highly recommend all of them except the artichoke tampanade (not very flavorful) and the olives (not worth the money).

Not only was the food and wine great, but the atmosphere was so inviting and pleasant. We arrived at 7:30 and were seated right away. Our table was a bit too small with all of our  glasses and plates, but we asked if we could combine two tables and they (after a bit of hemming and hawing) obliged. And by the time the place filled up and they asked us to give up our second table we were too many glasses in to mind. Our laid-back server definitely helped give Webster's a neighborhoody feel. This is the sort of place I wouldn't feel weird wearing jeans or a dress to. Plus, there were people of all ages. So while I went last night with three other people under 25, I would also go with my 60 year old mom. Even though by the time we left (10:30) they had gotten pretty busy, I never felt like we were in some Friday night scene. I definitely want to check this place out on a weeknight to compare, but it was surprisingly relaxed for a Friday night.  

All in all a great place to go with friends and I am looking forward to returning.

Friday, January 11, 2008

ZK Food (now closed)

In the last six months I've gone to ZKFood about a half-dozen times for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Since I live in the neighborhood, it's a convenient place to grab dependably pretty good food, but it's definitely not worth a commute--especially because the service is very green. No one who works here seems to have any idea about how to wait tables. The waitresses always seem confused and a bit ditzy. BUT, if you don't mind getting the toast that is supposed to come with your eggs after you have already half finished your breakfast or if waiting 15 minutes for the check doesn't completely stress you out, you'll be able to appreciate your tasty meal. If these sorts of newbie service slips make your blood boil, skip ZKFood and try Earwax or Piece instead.

If the idea of bad service hasn't scared you off, I would definitely recommend going for breakfast or lunch. I've had dinner there once and I wasn't that impressed. TVs on the walls but votive candles on the tables . . . oh my. Its not quite a deli but not quite chic, not quite gourmet but not quite comfort food, and not quite good enough for the money you'll be throwing down. On the other hand, their breakfast and lunch food is pretty good! The weird relaxed atmosphere works for those meals. For breakfast, try their huge and fluffy pancakes and for lunch try their turkey reuben. I've had both of these a few times and they always hit the spot.

Besides the all around yummy food, another nice aspect about ZKFood is the clientele. Compared to other places in the neighborhood, the brunch crowd is WAY less obnoxious and I've never once spotted a disapproving hipster or overly obnoxious family. It's definitely not "scene" and as a regular girl who lives in the neighborhood, I appreciate the low-key atmosphere. They have applied for a liquor license though, so we will see how long that lasts.


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