I got a Rose VoxBox from Influenster and am super excited about the things inside!!
Sunday, November 10, 2013
I got a Rose VoxBox from Influenster and am super excited about the things inside!!
Monday, November 4, 2013
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
You can watch my unboxing video here:
Sunday, August 25, 2013
Monday, August 19, 2013
Monday, July 15, 2013
I've been outlet shopping in California, but I think there are more outlets in a closer area than out here...or something. Maybe people in the Midwest love a good deal??
With the many changes over the past weekend (the death of Cory Monteith, the acquittal of Trayvon Martin's killer...) I've also reflected on the ephemeral nature of life. Having lost a close friend a few years ago, this idea often comes to the forefront of my mind and makes me live a little distantly from the world for sometimes days at a time. I recognize this dulled sensation and hate feeling it, but also have a challenging time escaping it. In these moments, keeping in touch with the little things (cuddling my dog, the perfection of cold ice cream on a hot day) help bring me back to a sense of normalcy. I hope these things keep you in touch with some semblance of "normal" for you as well.
Sunday, June 30, 2013
My family embarked on a Mediterranean cruise this week. M and I flew from Chicago to Montreal (which was so beautiful and green that it's next on my list to visit), then from Montreal to Roma. Our first flight was a bit delayed so it was tight making our connection, but luckily there were so many people on the next flight that we were personally escorted to the plane.
We did SO much sightseeing once we got to Roma! I finally got to put my years of Italian to work...though most people replied back in English, a few must have pitied me enough to give me some Italian back.
Sunday, June 2, 2013
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Sunday, April 28, 2013
Saturday, April 13, 2013
Then we ended up taking another cab on a failed trip to a karaoke bar. Again M sang, this time dueting to some Bob Marley...with the cab driver. This is my life.
Monday, April 8, 2013
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Monday, April 1, 2013
Heironomous Bosch plays basketball now?! That's amazing.
Me: I'm doing the running man. Bet you can't do that.
M: *eyes still on the tv* that's pretty good.
Sunday, March 31, 2013
Monday, March 18, 2013
I am not immune. I still love the snow; it has not snowed nearly enough for my joyful playing in it, and I don't feel like it was a necessarily harsh winter. In fact, I'd greatly prefer 30 and snowing over 15-feels-like-negative-10-with-windchill. Either temperature, I digress.
This convenient location close enough to the east coast means flights to Europe et al. are significantly cheaper than they would be from my homestead in Southern California. It also means that we have the liberty of driving through those oft-overlooked "flyover states," exploring the middle of America and supposedly the heart of our country. It'll be interesting trying to find some places to go. A few people have made the following recommendations:
-Visit the Amish. Okay, I'll admit it. I want to visit the Amish after watching "Breaking Amish" on TLC over the summer, and subsequently developing a strong respect for their handcrafted goods. Additionally, Chicago is quite close to some larger Amish communities.
-Go to Milwaukee. I seriously don't even know if I spelled that right and my friend was trying to lure me there with sports (no, thank you), museums (getting closer), and breweries (good as well). If anyone is from there or can give more specific recs, maybe I will consider this one.
-I'd like to go back to St. Louis to spend more time at the City Museum, climbing down slides and play places.
-I still want to go to New Orleans (obviously flying), where a good friend's brother and his namesake nephew now reside.
-M (the fiance) wants to go to Green Bay. Again, no thank you. He says for the cheese, but I know it's for the Packers stadium.
Readers--any other midwest recs?
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
I'd say I do my nails once every two weeks. Lately I won't paint them all one color, and I love the simplicity of polka dots on nails. No special tool needed--just brush the regular nail polish brush on the sides of the bottle and put a single dot on your nail. Honestly, if I mess up, I try to paint over the blunder with the base color, which works 80% of the time.
When my nails chip near the tips, I just paint over that chip and it looks fine. That's how I make a manicure last (mostly because I'm lazy).
These are both OPI shades: the blue is called Russian Navy, and I got it on Amazon. The silver is called Run With It! from Sephora.
Sorry the photo is so dark!
Thursday, March 7, 2013
The boy's name is Noah.
Anyone else make some unintentional (or intentional) and hilarious puns lately?
Sunday, March 3, 2013
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Last night you were the victim of a practical joke in which a pair of your pants was taken from the bathroom whilst you showered, and subsequently could not be found upon your exit from the shower. Through a curious turn of events, said pants ended up on my person, where you did not find them for a significant length of time.
You became a bit snippy upon this discovery, and demanded I return said pants to their place (that is, on your shelf, as you had retrieved another pair of pants for wearing). I refused, and now feel it is my duty to give you appropriate reasoning for my refusal besides "I am not your maid."
When you retrieved a secondary pair of pants, you created what I will henceforth call "the Pants Paradox." The original pair of pants, which should have been worn on your person, were on the original timeline. When you obtained the second pair of pants, this created an alternate timeline in which the original pair of pants should not have existed. As the creator of this paradox, you were the only one who could rectify the situation without the time-pant-space continuum imploding. Thus, it was wholly necessary that you be responsible for returning the original pair of pants to their location on the shelf, restoring the time-pant-space continuum as we know it.
In other words, next time don't be so snippy.
Readers--have you ever played a practical joke on your significant other? How did it turn out?
Also, how do you deal with your significant other or roommate leaving things everywhere?
Monday, February 25, 2013
Monday, February 18, 2013
Me: What's the weather like tomorrow? (all Zooey Deschanel style in that iPhone commercial, because she is adorable and every girl wants to be like her)
Siri: Looks like you may be getting some snow tomorrow. (displays relevant weather icons)
Siri: I do not understand.
Er, guess my excited voice is too high-pitched for Siri to process. Awkward.
Sunday, February 10, 2013
Here's a question: How many people do you still talk to from college? High school? Are the numbers dwindling? Most people have relocated or changed schools, jobs, and social circles at least once. It's something I really value in childhood (i.e., adjusting to new social situations, peers in their classrooms, etc.), because I think it teaches children valuable skills in forming new relationships, engaging others with diverse personalities, and entering into social situations from an early age. However, I feel we often focus on the "making new friends" part and less on the "keep the old ones" portion of that famed silver and gold song.
What am I talking about? Well, let's say you get new job, move, or start school. You form new relationships and often, especially in the case of college, become very close. However, these life circumstances thrust people together and then they just as quickly fall apart. M. (my fiance) doesn't keep in close contact with his friends from college. He keeps telling me "it's a guy thing," but I still feel like Facebook and social media makes it so simple to at least shoot a quick hello to someone every other month or so. Now that I've moved, I think about my own relationships: which friends from high school will still talk to me? If I was living in my hometown still, they would be my primary social circle. But even when I was in LA, there were more of them keeping in touch than they are now. I know that I'm out of sight and out of mind, but are these transient relationships?
This is even more salient in my latest efforts at wedding planning: making a guest list. How many people, once 2015 rolls around, will still be talking to me and have an invite to the wedding? Now I have friends from high school, college, grad school, my first job, and my current job, along with my Chicago social circle. This doesn't even include family, M's business school friends...the list goes on. How many of these people are we supposed to invite?
Readers--help! What was your rule of thumb for building your guest list? Do you still keep in touch with friends from all these different life situations?
It's ironic, isn't it? Your mid-twenties is supposed to be the key time that you can adventure and discover yourself; the time where you can pick up and move at a moment's notice because your ties are limited. It also turns out to be the time where these monumental life events--weddings, baby showers--also take place. Now I feel like I'm always choosing between saving up for my wedding 2+ years away or maintaining the ties that I cherish so much.
Frankly, it's hard. I've already missed a bachelorette party in Vegas and a bridal shower in San Diego because I had to choose between these other events and the wedding itself. Plane tickets to California, at BEST, turn out to be something near $200+ round trip...but are more frequently in the $320-350 range (sometimes more, with bad timing). My early childhood education salary isn't giving me a lot of leeway to spend money on plane tickets whenever I want to go home--especially since I'm trying to pay off that early purchase of the wedding dress.
Modern technology makes it easier to keep in touch with people, but sometimes videochatting with family and friends from afar makes me miss them more. Seeing my nephew's new developmental milestones, for example, just isn't the same over videochat than in person.
How do you minimize these feelings of missing out when you're far away?
Monday, February 4, 2013
Before we moved, we made a list of things we wanted. Mine included the following:
- washer and dryer in unit
- gym or pool (not that I planned on using the gym) as a perk
- full walls--no studios (so we could close a door between the two of us for peace of mind, having never lived together before)
- enough closet/storage space! I have a lot of clothing.
- safe location/close to attractions (attractions to me meant shopping)
- close grocery stores
- close to L (short for "elevated train" and sometimes spelled "El") stops for easy transportation
If you don't want to get a real estate agent, we used some of the following websites:
- Housing Maps - this website uses Google maps and applies a really useful interface over it. I used this a lot to map these locations on a personalized Google Map, where I put links to the Craigslist ad, etc. and any notes (e.g., old bathroom, lots of storage space)
In terms of my list, we ended up giving up on the washer/dryer in unit. Everything else on the list is pretty much hit--including close to shopping. We are two blocks down from the Gap on Michigan Ave. (Magnificent Mile), and there are a number of Anthropologies within walking distance, as well as Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack, and (my favorite!) BHLDN (the Anthro wedding brand).
One key discussion we needed to have with locals before our move (which we didn't have) had to do with "neighborhoods." Chicago is comprised of a bunch of neighborhoods, all with their own distinct feel. Streeterville has a very "downtown" feel, with downtown pricing (if you catch my drift). Lincoln Park, on the other hand, has more of a homey vibe with brownstones/brick buildings, young post-college people, and cute shops. I think it's also slightly cheaper, but I wouldn't really know considering I don't live there. Old Town is an area that has also been recommended to us frequently; it's cheaper than anything more in the heart of downtown, but is close by the L. Wicker Park is the more hipster area that is much cheaper living, close to a vibrant nightlife with bars and the like, but also a little less clean/sterile than the downtown area. The Loop is a little more busy, with many residences mixed in with the downtown office buildings. River East (New Eastside) is more subdued (and south of the river), with some beautiful lake views and access to a lot of big parks. Fulton Market has a stretch of super nice expensive foodie dream's restaurants, but the places to live are tucked away and less of a neighborhood feel (this is where the meatpacking district used to be, so there are a lot of warehouses). Anyway, I'm sure you get my point. Like any city, you have to find the right place for you so you are happy there. If you haven't found it, you won't like your stay.
Another consideration is parking: if you plan on bringing a car to Chicago, be prepared to pay a lot in parking. We are renting a spot in our building for $200/month. Anything downtown is pricey, especially hourly parking.
Readers--any other questions about living in Chicago or moving here? I'm happy to answer any questions about prices as well.
I finally got around to making something off of Pinterest! I am making a concerted effort to save money because 1) I am poor and 2) I will be made considerably more poor after 2014, when I am in or attending a number of California weddings. I think my last count was 5.
Anyway, I found this site on Pinterest and made my own simple dry shampoo. It's a simple combo of cornstarch and cocoa powder, which makes me smell delicious and also feels better than inhaling all that aerosol business in the commercially sold dry shampoos. I bought a fluffy brush on eBay and brush it onto my roots all over my hair and it does its job quite effectively.
I also found another one to make my own mineral veil, which involves cornstarch, baby powder, and a hint of tinted powder. This also came out wonderful and if I apply too much of both of these mixtures I smell like a baby who got into the chocolate. I don't really mind this.
You can find the recipe here:
Saturday, February 2, 2013
Friday, February 1, 2013
Thursday, January 31, 2013
I made this photo book to give to my fiance on Valentine's Day. Finally, all those pictures I took will be put to good use!! I promise I'm working on the second half of said blog post, full of photos and exciting things.
Additionally, if you have NO IDEA what to give to your significant other for Valentine's Day, you should try to scoop up a Groupon or deal for one of these photo books. Cost-efficient, thoughtful, and sentimental. Plus, it's fun to personalize!
Monday, January 28, 2013
Part of it has to do with something I realized over this past weekend when we were back for my friend's wedding: my fiance and I are living two very full and complete lives. We quickly built a new social circle, routines, and a home here in Chicago. This somehow did not discount the life we left behind--on pause--in San Diego. That's the thing about San Diego. We go back and it's like we never left; all of our friends are there from high school (usually back for the same holiday or event we are there for), so it feels just like home again. We have a full group of friends at home, and a full life here as well. Instead of whining about how I never see this person or that enough, I really should be utterly thankful.
So here it is: I am grateful that my biggest complaint (aside from the cold) is that I don't get enough time with either my friends here in Chicago or my friends back home in California. I'm grateful that I have two full lives to live in different parts of the country, and when I'm back in either place, it feels right. I'm grateful to have the relationships I do and the comfortable, happy life I am leading. I do know that this time in Chicago is not permanent, so I'm happy to savor it now.
Friday, January 25, 2013
Today I had my first snowy day with snowfall collected on the ground!! I learned a lot of valuable lessons.
-that brown stuff in the road? It's not gravel, and they didn't just plow the roads really well. That's very dirty snow.
-snow is pretty! But even in snow boots, if it's packed and frozen, it is SLIPPERY.
-They salt the sidewalks some places, so you have to be careful walking the dog (it can hurt their paws). Also, it can ruin your shoes according to the locals (leather and suede ones, supposedly). This WILL save you from slipping and cracking your skull open.
-Wear material that isn't knit as your outerwear. The snowflakes stick to my knit panda hat and I have to shake off like a dog before stepping inside.
This weekend I'm back in San Diego for a whirlwind trip! My good friend from high school is getting married, so we'll get a brief respite from the cold.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Here is my first experience of freshly fallen snow on the ground!! I'll post more later on what below zero feels like, but for now just imagine a fully grown woman scooping up snow from planters on the side of the road and throwing handfuls at her friends. Then picture this same adult carrying pictured snowball up an elevator ride to throw said snowball at her fiance, warmly tucked away in their apartment. Stay joyful, friends.
Friday, January 18, 2013
|Photo from Hobbiton Tours...which...can I go??|
I will admit that my eyes were shining at that first glimpse of the Shire at the beginning of the movie, which I know makes me sound silly and nerdy but for some reason seeing it on screen feels a little like coming home. No? You don't feel like the Shire is your home? I don't in the real sense (that would make me rather deluded), but I get that same surge of warmth in my heart that I feel when I see the San Diego skyline from an airplane. It's amazing that the book gives me this feeling--that my imaginings of it were so vivid that it feels like home.
I think it's because I fall for books hard--I get lost in them for hours or days at a time and coming back to the real world almost hurts. It's fairly challenging for any piece of fiction, but I am a fan of fantasy books. This makes it even harder, as you're stuck in the real world rather than some imagined land that a brilliant author dreamed up (Ursula LeGuin, anyone?).
Does anybody else get this way when they read a good book?
Thursday, January 17, 2013
|A view from the park by our place--looking across the lake|
These blogs also remind me to not get too caught up in the day to day. During our first couple months here, I remained unemployed for a while just settling into the new city, getting our apartment together, and job hunting. During these weeks, I walked around the city and really took advantage of living downtown. Then I got a full-time job again, and between running around all day in the classroom and outside with the children, I just got too tired to do small things, even run errands (this is the epitome of lazy, as the grocery store is across the street from my apartment building).
These bloggers, on the other hand, truly take advantage of living in Paris, exploring the city, and making little shops their own. I love the idea of being able to say that a particular bakery is "my" bakery, when certain stores have personal meaning. These blogs inspire me to continue my adventures in this new city, find new places to call my own, and above all, use the breadmaker I got for Christmas--because fresh bread looks so beautiful in all their photos and I heart carbs.
|Michigan Ave. during the holidays|
|A colonnade in Grant Park|
Monday, January 14, 2013
|Eddie Bauer Northern Aurora Down Jacket in Capri Blue, with my Modcloth owl mittens (gift)|
-J. Crew Factory belted puffer coat: I was really opposed to wearing these because I think they look like a black version of the Michelin man, but I see why they are necessary now! The only part of my body that gets cold when I wear this coat is between my boots and my coat...and I have legwarmers now to remedy that.
-CK belted puffer coat: looks similar to above but has fur around the hood. My mom gave this to me for Christmas!
-a bunch of California winter coats (read: not thickly lined, with varying wool weights). Okay, I'll be honest, some of these are cotton. I don't wear those ones much, though...
-long underwear (I don't wear these too often yet, but I have both Cuddl Duds and REI brand. I wore the Cuddl Duds under thick leggings and had no issues getting the layers on or off because they are silk, and they didn't slip and slide around under my clothes)
-down vest that folds up really small into a bag that it comes with (used frequently)
|Available on Amazon (men's and women's are exactly the same, except women's come in different girly colors)|
-180 earmuffs (that's the brand), which go behind your ears like those erstwhile popular Sony headphones. These are most useful for when I wear glasses or don't feel like wearing a hat (because it seriously feels like your ears will fall off when you're walking around in the cold for extended periods of time)
-a variety of
- hats: knit hats for everyday, a Goorin Bros. wool hat (I wore this last night in the rain and stayed so dry! Only issue is my ears get a little cold, but I could easily put a beanie on under it to fix this), and a variety of warmer hats (including a Russian or Fargo hat for painfully cold days, a knit hat that looks like a deer's face for when I'm sad about the cold)
- gloves: leather gloves for fall, North Face gloves for playing in the snow/serious winter (they were around $50 retail at the North Face store on Michigan Ave.), knit gloves with cute patterns for slightly warmer weather or when I know I'll tuck my hands into my pockets often
When we first moved here in August, I went to Nordstrom Rack and bought the down vest. It was seriously the best purchase I've made thus far. It meant I could wear all my existing coats, and added warmth without too much bulk. Best of all, since I was crazy paranoid about freezing to death, I could tuck it (in its convenient bag) into every purse I carried and not have to worry about the temperature dropping too far at night and getting cold! I seriously carried it from the end of August (started getting cold) til I started wearing it every day or using my down coats. That's how nervous this California girl felt about her first real winter.
Anyway, here is the breakdown of my outerwear by temperature:
- 40-49 degrees: California winter coat, scarf, maybe thin gloves if I'm walking far.
- 30-39 degrees: down vest under California winter coat, gloves, earmuffs or hat. Closer to 30 and I'll probably bring a scarf along just in case.
- 20-29 degrees: Luckily, my Eddie Bauer coat told me exactly what temperature at which to wear it! I'll pick one of the below:
- Eddie Bauer down coat by itself (sometimes I'll sweat in this, though). Definitely earmuffs or hat, unless I put my hood on. Leather gloves at the lightest (closer to 20 degrees, I'd put on my North Face gloves...or if I think there's a potential to play in the snow!!)
- sweater, down vest, California winter coat. The issue with the down vest is that it doesn't have sleeves, so my arms sometimes get cold when those Chicago winds blow up loose sleeves. Thus, you have to wear a cardigan or sweater under the vest! +scarf, hat or earmuffs, and North Face gloves (since the coat itself isn't as warm, I make sure my extremities are).
- 10-18 degrees: this is damn cold. These are the days I walk outside and mutter an expletive to myself, then pull my hood on and trudge to work, watching for ice.
- Eddie Bauer down coat, high boots (very cold legs otherwise!), legwarmers or long underwear (if I'm walking far). Scarf, hat, North Face gloves.
- Either puffy coat, scarf, hat, any gloves (these long coats keep most of my body warm and I can tuck my hands into the fleece-lined pockets!)
- 10 degrees or below: No. Don't go outside. That's not normal. Okay, maybe I haven't experienced this too much yet (ignoring windchill). I haven't yet felt the need to wear my down vest under my down coats, so I think so far I'm okay...and the coldest it has hit when I was outside was -8, I believe.