Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Ants Marching

Every morning I commute to the Chicago Loop for work. I actually enjoy commuting because I don't have to worry about highway traffic. Don't get me started on Chicago's traffic. I turn into an evil person when I get stuck in it, or even think about it. So let's not go there! Instead, I take the glamorous Metra train from just outside the city. It's heaven-sent, I always have a seat (shocking, I know!); you "L" riders know how cherished something like that is.

The Metra is just one big carpool, with the same people over and over again. It's comfortable; it's a routine. It's nice to see the same riders and conductors every morning; we're like family. Okay, I don't actually talk to any of them, but I pretend to know them. When the conductor flashes me a wink, I feel like I should know him. That would be the only reason why a wink would be somewhat appropriate.

The Metra is usually right on time, except for the rare occasion (like this morning) when there is a "pedestrian-train incident." It's always eye-opening when I hear that announcement. It makes my heart skip a beat, I can feel the reaction all around me. I actually notice the person standing next to me for once, and strike up a conversation about what happened. The news forces me wake up a little quicker, and I immediately start paying more attention to those train bells.

But enough about that traumatizing part of train commuting. I'm going to brush off my shoulders and think happy thoughts. The best part of my morning routine is a cup from my local coffee shop. The Brothers K. This place makes the best latte in the world. The latte art is beautiful; and the coffee so well-balanced. It's not bitter and is served the perfect temperature with just enough sweetness. It's a treat for me. I look forward to it. It drags me out of bed in the morning.

One morning, I got one of these. It made my day.

I heart you too, Brothers K!

Tomorrow, I'm going to get up and do it all over again.


Photo Credits: Serhio, CoffeeGeek, and RebeccaAnne

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hell Froze Over

Do you remember the first time you felt like an adult? I mean, really felt like an adult. Like you've grown up and there's no turning back? It's a strange feeling; not exactly a welcome one. You're fully aware that it's impending; and you just have to let it sink in whether you like it or not. Recently, I've made that transition, and you're probably going to laugh when I reveal why.

In a way, I've lost that warm fuzzy feeling I had a few years ago. When my clothes from high school still fit (certainly a distant memory nowadays); and when I didn't worry about my future, or how much time I had left to squeeze in everything I want to accomplish.

Now, I'm going to admit what snapped me into reality.


My internal clock is adjusting!

What is happening to me?

I can't seem to keep my eyes open past 10pm on weeknights anymore (let alone weekends, but I'm so not going to go there). I struggle to get out of bed in the morning at 6:30am for work; and I fight and moan all the way to the shower.

Sometimes I even walk to the shower with my eyes still closed, as if those extra seconds are going to grant me enough rest to make it through the day.

I can't seem to sleep in on my days off anymore either. My family always said that if that ever happened; hell froze over. I was the kid who slept until noon (at least!) every weekend and all summer long. Oh my, not anymore! I'm up no later than 9am, and I wake up confused, wondering how I'm going to fill this new time frame.

But I guess this is all part of the plan, right? I'm on my way to bigger and better things, right? That's honestly what I keep telling myself.


Photo Credit: Deltasly

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Bored to Death

Jason Schwartzman
is in a TV Show?

While watching True Blood this evening, I saw a preview for a new show on HBO called Bored to Death that I'm really excited about. It's a new comedy series coming to the network in September 2009, and it stars Jason Schwartzman. It appears to be about a young writer, who reads a lot of detective novels; therefore he feels like he's perfectly capable to solve real life crimes. I mean, why not? I'd definitely hire him.

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I love all of Jason Schwartzman's projects. How can you not fall for his quirky self? He's simply alluring. I love, love, love his schoolboy-esque mop-top haircut. Not to mention, he has talent in his blood (his uncle is Francis Ford Coppola). The new series also stars Ted Danson and Zach Galifianakis, with such notable guest stars as Parker Posey and Kristen Wiig (of SNL fame).

For a taste of Jason's charisma, catch him in this summer's comedy flick, Funny People. Jason also stars in my personal favorite, Shopgirl, among many other films.

Be sure to set your TIVO's for Bored to Death this September!


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Isn't "Knit" Cute?

Everyone loves Etsy. I've shopped on Etsy for every birthday gift I've given so far this year. On another note, you should know that I don't like bruised fruit. Or scorching hot coffee cups. This is where Jacqueline Knits comes in. She is one super smart gal. Why didn't I think of this? All I know is I have to have these!

"Coffee Cup Sleeve"


Talk about environmentally friendly. Next time you grab a cup of java, you can tell the barista that you brought your own coffee sleeve. No need to waste one of theirs! Plus, yours will be way more stylin' and it's destined to be a conversation starter.

"Apple Jacket"


This is just too cute. It's so useful! I will now be able to carry fruit to work and not have to worry about all those rude train passengers bumping my lunch (I know, I know, you can't help it!). This makes me so happy!

There are many other knit products in Jacqueline's store, and all are very reasonably priced. Many colors are available. Get over there and snatch these up!


Death By Chocolate

I wasn't going to post this recipe (call me greedy), but then I decided that the world has to know about these brownies. This was a recipe passed on to me from a friend, after I'd eaten have a dozen of them on the 4th of July. It's one of the easiest indulgences to make. These are mint brownies, with only two store-bought ingredients. Normally I like to make everything from scratch. It's usually healthier and it usually tastes better. But, these, my friend, these are the ultimate exception.

"Easy Peasy" Mint Brownies:
1 box brownie mix
1 box Andes mints

Cook brownies according to directions on packaging. While brownies are baking, unwrap Andes mints from their individual wrappers. When brownies are finished baking, take them out of the oven and place Andes mints in a layer on top. Place brownies back into the oven for about a minute, just until the Andes mints start to melt. Take the brownies back out of the oven and spread the Andes mints with a knife to glaze the brownies. Let cool completely. I like to put mine in the refrigerator to chill and harden the glaze. There is nothing better than a cold, minty brownie! Enjoy!


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

We All Scream For Ice Cream!

I had a lazy Saturday afternoon this past weekend. It all began by channel surfing, and then my heart stopped. Something caught my eye...lots and lots of ice cream! I paused to watch The Food Network show Unwrapped; which is a show that focuses on behind-the-scenes tours of classic American food. This episode just happened to be all about ice cream! In addition to Klondike Bars and Dairy Queen Blizzards, they had a special segment on a custom ice cream shop called eCreamery. Custom Ice Cream? I died and went to heaven.

At eCreamery, not only can you create your own custom ice cream flavor (gelato and sorbetto too!) and mix-ins, but you can create your own ice cream name. They have themed sampler packages; perfect for a student, mom-to-be, birthday, and even a break-up. What could sooth a broken heart better than a pint of "Love Bites" ice cream?

Ice cream flavors can be traditional such as French Vanilla, Butter Pecan, and Cookies & Cream. Or, you can opt for bolder flavors such as Chocolate Merlot, Avocado, and Green Tea. The mix-ins are just as fun and include treats such as Mint Chips, Brownie Bites, Basil, and Cheddar Cheese Pieces. Cheddar Cheese Pieces? Eh, not for me!

Although, eCreamery has only one location (and it's in Omaha, Nebraska); most of their business is done online. You can order your custom ice cream online at eCreamery.

Now if you'll excuse me...

I'm going to go create a pint of "Prince Charming."


Friday, July 17, 2009

Home Is Where The Heart Is

I'm slightly addicted to anything that involves Letterpress or Screenprint. I think it's a really elegant and simple form of art. This morning, I found this print, and gasped in adoration. You should have seen my face; it was love at first sight.

How ingenious, how patriotic, how sweet, is this piece?

It measures 22 x 30 inches and it's available here for $75.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Healthy Curiousity

I'm always curious.

When I get bored, I daydream.

I like to explore different areas of the country.

Maybe one day I'd like to live in Texas? Maybe Georgia? Maybe Minnesota? Okay, probably not Minnesota. I don't know how you Minnesotans survive in those temperatures, brrrrr!

Today, I came across an interesting article...

Did your hometown make the list?

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Austin, Texas

Boise, Idaho

Loveland, Colorado

San Luis Obispo, California

Other "winning" cities listed in the article:
Auburn, Alabama
Durham, North Carolina
La Crosse, Wisconsin
St. Augustine, Florida
Upper St. Clair, Pennsylvania


Photo Credits: Barjack, Six Seraphim, Gerry Slabaugh, Snapper707, Optionthis

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

"Okie Doke" Pizza

Whole Wheat Pizza Crust
Pizza Sauce (somethin' spicy is best!)
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Jalapeno Peppers
Pineapple Chunks
Barbeque Chicken Pieces

Bake at 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes until crust is golden brown and cheese bubbles. Check after 8 minutes. Or, follow directions according to the pizza crust. Let sit for 2-3 minutes, cut and enjoy!

Full (I mean...Optimistic)

What Did You Just Call Me?

I Twitter. I think some of you may as well; it's just another form of communication in this technological world of ours. I follow a musician named Dave Barnes. Not only is Dave a very talented singer/songwriter/guitarist, but he's painfully funny too. Today he "tweeted" about a common gripe with the iPhone. Those of you that have an iPhone know that it has an "automatic spelling correction" feature. Sometimes, it replaces the word that you have typed with a word that is nowhere near what you meant. So, this morning Dave shared his funniest spelling mishaps.

Here are just a few examples...

(click here to read his post, highly recommended!)

(WARNING: you will laugh out loud!)

The first word is the replacement word.

The second word is what he meant.

Also listed is the usage, in quotations.

cibgars - congrats

"Hey man! Cibgars on the success of your new cd's release!" - You have to be careful of this one, because cibgars in Dutch means "death to you through violent witch attacks."

lady - last

Upon meeting someone recently, i texted him, "Hey Shawn! Great to meet you the other night! What's your lady name?" To which he responded, "Veronica".

I'm - jj

"JJ so excited for you guys!" Not only is my other personality named JJ, but he speaks like Tarzan.

Judy - just

"Yeah! I was Judy there!"
I must have sent this when i was hanging out with Veronica.


Dave just tweeted "iPhone mistypes part deux" - hilarious!


Nice Jingle, But It's Not Maybelline

I'm very pick about my mascara. I'm "bright-eyed and bushy-tailed" (okay maybe just bright-eyed). I have very long eyelashes, so I want just the right amount of...enhancement. No one wants a gooey, sticky, thick mess on their lashes. Why can't every mascara do exactly what it's supposed to?

"Lift and separate!"

I did some research and it seems that Maybelline's Great Lash Mascara is always top rated; it certainly has a cult following. I might be the only one who doesn't love it; I just don't approve. Because my standards are so high, and I've done a bit of experimenting, I thought I'd share my two favorite mascaras! One is a splurge, and the other you can find at most drugstores.

The Grand Prize goes to...

Clinique's Long Pretty Lashes Mascara.

This is a very smooth and creamy, non-clumping mascara.

It actually does what it says it will, and the results are stunning!

The Runner-Up is...

Rimmel's Lash Maxxx Mascara.

Just look at that wand! The comb separates!

It, too, actually does what it says it will! Hallelujah!


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Extra, Extra Hear All About It!

My favorite blogger has a brand spankin', sort of. It's more of a cooking community! It's recipes from real people! I am so excited, I can't hardly wait to start exploring her new website.

It looks like so much fun!

Stop on by, become a member, and start cookin'!

All of this is brought to us by Ree, The Pioneer Woman.

Don't forget to share your recipes!


Oh, For Heaven's Sake!

And my family wonders why I don't like to fly? Psssh!

I normally have to rock myself back and forth in the fetal position anytime I get on a plane. I just get so anxious. It's a control thing. If something happened, what in the world would I be able to do about it? That's right, nothing. I don't like that feeling. Although, when things go wrong mid-flight, the highly trained pilots of the friendly skies are perfectly capable to guide everyone back to down to earth safely. And I do trust them (especially the cute ones), but I'm still very pleased I was not on this particular flight...even though this is my favorite airline! I probably would have passed out.

Yesterday, on a flight from Nashville to Baltimore, a foot-long hole opened in the top of the Southwest Boeing 737 aircraft. The plane lost cabin pressure, and although no one was injured, all passengers were instructed to put on their oxygen masks that dropped down from the ceiling. The flight ended early with an emergency landing. Southwest inspected all 181 of its identical Boeing 737 jets before putting them back into the sky. One of the passengers described the situation as "the loudest roar I'd ever heard."

These things happen though, and I will continue to board planes as a mode of transportation (mostly because my family forces me to). Even if that means I'll be drenched in my own perspiration. Hopefully, you won't have to be the lucky person who sits next to me. But if you are, I'm sure we'll be great friends (just as long as I can have your barf bag!).


Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey Ladies!

If you haven't tried C.O. Bigelow's Mentha Lip Shine yet, you are way out of the loop. Not to offend anyone, but please, spend the $7.50 and purchase one of these, you'll be forever grateful. I can't stop smothering my lips with them. They smell (and taste!) delicious, and the shine is unlike any other lip gloss out there. Each lip shine is infused with a hint of peppermint oil to freshen breath and provide a cooling sensation.

At Bath & Body Works, they have all new juicy summer scents which are to die for! Ok, so you won't drop dead, but the people around you will be in awe of your glow. I personally recommend the Lychee scent. Lychee is a red heart-shaped fruit that has a natural sweetness and is a great source of vitamin C. Other scents available include Yuzu and Mangosteen. Both are just as delightful. Hurry and get to your nearest Bath & Body Works before I buy all of their stock; they are that necessary to my existence.


Monday, July 13, 2009

Don't Knock It Till You've Tried It



Yes, Oklahoma.

It really was a fun trip; unforgettable. I was in Tulsa, Oklahoma for a weekend in May. My expectations weren't high (tumbleweeds? how could I be so stereotypical!); I had never visited the Great Plains before. But to my surprise, it was lovely! The good things you hear about "Midwest charm" became evident immediately upon my arrival. Everything moved a little bit slower out there, and it felt...good. Refreshing. It felt necessary. It was the exact opposite of what I was used to; downtown Chicago claustrophobia. I checked into a bed and breakfast, The McBirney Mansion. It was quaint, quiet, clean (oh so important!), and hospitable. It was perfect. Really, if money wasn't an issue, I don't know if I would have ever left. I mean, they could have offered to hire me, how rude! Just kidding!

The McBirney Mansion overlooks the Arkansas River. Every morning I was served a huge multi-course gourmet breakfast. And, every morning I was blithely told by Jana, their genuinely sweet Innkeeper, "alright, now you don't have to eat lunch!" Then, I rolled myself out the front door to explore.

The weather was priceless; crystal clear skies and at least 90 degrees everyday. I would definitely put up with 105 degree days in the summer for slightly less snow throughout the year.

Who would have thought that Tulsa, Oklahoma would have one of the nicest art museums that I have ever been to? Really, this place is stunning! I highly recommend the Philbrook.

But...they did have an exhibit that gave me nightmares for days.

They certainly have a lot of love for their town. Having been there, I now know why. I brought home an assortment of "Okie Doke" and "I heart Tulsa" souvenirs for myself. My apartment now gives the impression that Tulsa is my hometown, but hush, please don't tell anyone I'm not from there! In return, I promise to send you to Tulsa to experience it for yourself (sure, sure, I really mean it, just write me a check and I'll book it for you!).

And, why was I there to begin with do you ask?

(Eh, you asked, right?)

Well because I was invited, that's why! It all started in 1997 with a band called Hanson. And yes, they have grown up and produced even better songs than "mmmbop." They go above and beyond to give back to their fans; and invited a group of us to a private concert in their hometown. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience. Their music will always "move me, sooth me, and fill my heart and soul with the roots of rock and roll."