Thursday, January 29, 2009

I love a good movie

And Slumdog Millionaire is definitely one of those. I just got back from seeing it and I loved it! If you haven't seen it yet, you need to go. It's so good.

I think you guys may be right. I think I might have a touch of Seasonal Affective Disorder since I only ever feel this way during the long, cold, dark, grey, icy winter months. Ick. Bring on the sunlight! I'll read up on it for sure. And thanks for the kind words everyone, you definitely put some pep in my step today.

So tomorrow is finally Friday. Thank goodness. I'm really excited about this weekend. 

Tomorrow night I'm going to my Grandma's house for a sleepover party with my brother and sister. My Grandma has never had an "official" sleepover before (even though we used to stay over all the time), so for Christmas, that's what we gave her. We're heading over to her house right after work and making her a big spaghetti dinner and then we're going to get into our pajamas, cuddle up on the couch and watch the movies of her choice. She was so excited about it that she even went out and bought new afghans so we can each have maximum coziness. It sounds so relaxing...I can't even wait.

Then Saturday morning I'm getting up bright and early and heading up to Milwaukee for the Marquette vs. Georgetown game with my two friends. So that will be fun...and I finally get to see my boyfriend again after 3 long weeks. Hooray!

And Sunday I'm heading to my parent's house to see them since they just got back from Barbados and we'll hang out and watch the Super Bowl. I really only care about the commercials. For a total advertising nerd like me, this is one of my favorite nights of the year. I could care less about the actual game (confession: I don't even know who is playing in it this year), I just love the fun ads.

Oh and sidenote, I am SO excited that they ousted Governor Blagojevich. What an embarassment to Illinois. I mean seriously, how the hell did he actually get in office? He's crazy. I certainly didn't vote for him, I can tell you that much...yikes.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Is it Friday yet?

Nope, definitely not.

This week makes me want to scream. It's been frustrating, annoying and very stressful. It doesn't help that I'm run down, overtired and feel like I'm on pins and needles every second of every day. 

And of course, I was pretty hungover this morning. Last night was a total blast though, so it was definitely worth it.

Work has been crazy lately, but usually I'm able to stay positive and tackle it head on with a smile on my face. But this week is different. It's like I'm completely checked out and I can't figure out why. 

I feel like I'm having a mini quarter-life crisis—much like I've had the last few winters. For a couple of weeks at the end of January/beginning of February,  I get really antsy. It's like I want to escape my life. I start questioning everything and all of a sudden I become obsessed with traveling and getting away. Last year I was determined to move to South Carolina or Florida...after I went on a 6-week trip to Australia and New Zealand, of course. And this year, I desperately want to move back to Ireland, vacation in Greece and spend a few weeks in Italy. (Apparently money doesn't factor into my daydreams.)

I feel really restless. Why? I have no idea. But I can't stop wondering about my life. Do I love my job? Am I good at my career? Do I want to move? Do I want to go to grad school? Could I actually make it on my own somewhere else? Would I miss Chicago? What do I want? Am I happy?

It's all been bugging me this week. And while I do question things sometimes, it's never as bad as this. If it's anything like the last few years, I know it will pass in a couple weeks. But right now, it's driving me crazy. 

I'm sure I'll be back to my perky, enthusiastic self in a few days.  In the mean time, I'll just load up on Starbucks and M&Ms and keep looking at pictures of Aruba (I can't wait!).

Drink away the blues

I had a terrible day today. And while I think all Tuesdays in general are rough, this one was particularly bad. It was one of those days I found myself on the verge of tears, wondering why I was still in my profession.

And then I went out. My old coworkers from my internship in Milwaukee took me out. And we had a blast. Could this really be another drunken post in the span of a week? Absolutely. My apologies. I'm really normally not like this...buuuuuuut you know.

I thought the 7 of us were going out for a drink, but it turned into several drinks, then dinner and wine at a really nice Italian restaurant, then drinks and dancing at a nightclub (yeah, that's right, I actually went to a club). It was a blast. And I am so ready to pass out right now...

But there's one thing I have to say. As my terrible day progressed and I read all the comments about me being sweaty, I thought to myself, "Pam! Why the hell would you write that about yourself!?". God only know the mental image you all have of me now. It's probably quite funny, actually...but anyway, I think yesterday's post was a bit too graphic (no one wants to hear about hives), so I'm sorry for that.

Alright seriously, I need sleep. Tomorrow is a HUGE day for damage control at work. Ugggggh.

Monday, January 26, 2009

I'm as athletic as The Hills is real

So, not so much.

As I was working my little bum off on the elliptical this evening, I contemplated why I didn't do it more often. And then I remembered that I don't like it. 

I'm not one of those people who look "cute" when they work out. I don't think it's fun or feels good. It makes me feel gross—like a giant, sweaty, heavy-breathing exercise monster. And to top it off (and this is going to sound so sexy, I know), I'm allergic to my own sweat. So that means by the end, I'm covered head to toe (face included) in hives. It's SO hot, let me tell you.

So while I do love Pilates and can tolerate the occasional elliptical excursion, I do not like working out. My whole family LOVES to run. Not me. I'm pretty much the exercise-despising black sheep. Perhaps it's because my two years doing crew in high school nearly did me in or maybe it's because I've never been athletic. Ever.

Growing up, I tried pretty much every sport there is:

Crew—I loved crew. The feeling of being in the boat, cutting through the crisp, clean water ahead...amazing. But the land work on the erg? It was my hell. The second year I was on the team,  we got a new coach who wouldn't let us stop running/erging/rowing until we all puked. Being on the team was no longer fun—it was like a punishment. I was sad when I decided not to stay on the team after my second year, but I know I made the right decision for me.

Tennis—Tried it when I was 7. I lied and said I was 8 to be with my best friend. We were kicked out of class repeatedly because we used to goof off and laugh too much. Yeah, I was a total badass. Too bad my Mom was really in to tennis at the time...I think she's still a bit ashamed of me for getting kicked out. Oops.

Basketball—I played 3rd grade through 6th grade. I was absolutely terrible. In 5th and 6th grade when we were finally "competitive", I probably played a total of 2 minutes for BOTH years. My friend and I used to be "bench buddies" and had a great time cheering for our team. Then the coach realized she was actually good and played her all the time. And I was alone and bored and still bad at basketball, so I stopped playing.

Soccer—I played when I was 5. I was the little girl who spaced out, sat in the grass and picked dandelions. I used to like it when people got hurt (terrible, I know) because that meant I got to sit down and resume my flower picking. How dare the ref blow his whistle and interrupt me! I was making necklaces, you jerk!

Indoor Soccer—Yep, I even tried this one year. I played in one game only and accidentally scored two goals. My crush at the time (and all through grade school actually) gave me a high five and I nearly melted. But in the immortal words of Clueless, I wasn't into activities where "balls fly at my nose", so I stopped after one season

Gymanstics—HA. I did it for a year when I was 6...and I still couldn't figure out how the hell to do a cartwheel. I just wanted to jump in the flippin' pit of foam blocks, like any other normal, uncoordinated kid.

Volleyball—I loved it. I played 6th through 8th grade and I really thought it was my sport. When I got to high school, I was so pumped to try out for it. I just knew I'd make the team. But when it came to the last day, I was cut. CUT. Out of all the girls who tried out, only two of us were cut. The other unfortunate girl was a chubby know-it-all who arrived late everyday clutching a greasy Burger King bag and would sit in the stands and eat it before she worked out. Needless to say, I was devastated.

So while I know running and working out numerous times a week is the "right" thing to do, it takes extra effort for me to get motivated. At least now that I love Pilates (and the occasional chunk of time on the elliptical), I'm more in shape than I was last year. And I'm hopefully one step closer to having my Aruba-ready beach bod. Ha.

 And if you ever see me in the gym, please don't stare at the hives on my face. I already know how sexy they are.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Need my Starbucks fix

Today was Starbucks Day. I love Starbucks Day.

Ok so I make it sound way more fun than it actually is.  Starbucks Day is actually Friday in disguise. 

Every Friday my coworkers and I head to the Starbucks downstairs to load up on our favorite drinks. It's our way to treat ourselves after a long work week. Sounds pretty lame, yes, but I get really excited about it every week.

When I first started working and realized that every day for the rest of my life I'd be forced to go to work (I had major post-graduation blues), Starbucks was my little retreat every morning. I didn't live in the city yet, so I had an hour and a half commute from my parents' house in the suburbs each day. I took cars, trains, buses and boats. Sounds like a blast, doesn't it? (Actually the boat was fun) So I used to go to Starbucks every morning and cradle my lovely, familiar caffeinated friend as I headed into the dreaded working world that awaited me.

And then I moved downtown. And I realized I had to pay for everything on my own. Groceries. Bills. Laundry. Lunches. And with all those expenses, Starbucks just couldn't make the cut. So like any addiction, I had to cut back slowly. From 5 a week to 4 to 3 to 2...and now to 1. 

So every Friday at 9:15am I march right over to Starbucks, clutching my little Gold Card (Thanks Santa!) and order my Skinny Vanilla Latte (I miss PSLs and GingerSnap Lattes SO much). Oh and good news! The barista knows my name now. Thank goodness I have my identity back.

Alright wow, I just wrote a whole post about Starbucks (not that it's a bad thing, obviously). I think I need some new material to write about. Does anyone have any questions? Things you would like to know about me? Stories you'd like me to tell? I'll go do some brainstorming...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Oh look! An award!

You like me! You really like me!

zentiment gave me my very first blog award yesterday and I couldn't be more excited. Thank you again! I feel like I've finally "arrived" in the blogging world. Hooray! 

The rules of the award:
1) Choose a minimum of 7 blogs that you find brilliant in content or design.
2) Show the 7 winners' names and links on your blog, and leave a comment informing them that they were prized with "Honest Scrap." Well, there's no prize, but they can keep the nifty icon.
3) List at least 10 honest things about yourself.

So first, my 7 blogs (in no particular order) are:

And now I have to list 10 "honest" things about myself. I feel like I'm confessing my deepest secrets to the blog world...oh wait, I am. 

1. I tell people I'm deathly allergic to seafood. I've even been known to request that my food not be prepared with/near/around seafood due to my "allergy".  It's a lie. I just really, really, really hate seafood—ALL of it (especially shrimp and tuna). I can't stand the sight or smell of it. Who knows, maybe I am slightly hatred started when I was 6 and was violently ill from eating shrimp. Eh, probably not.

2. I yelled at a pregnant woman once. Yes, I know, that's not very nice, but in my defense it was on an airplane after she had just THROWN UP all over me. She was sitting behind me, across, the aisle, yet somehow managed to aim right for my head, pants, neck, carry-on bag, etc. It put a bit of a damper on my high school spring break trip with my friends as I was COVERED in vomit. I overreacted a bit and started screaming and then turned around, looked at her and yelled, "THAT'S WHAT BARF BAGS ARE FOR!" The flight attendant quickly hauled me to the back of the plane and washed my hair in the airplane bathroom sink. Not my finest moment and now I feel very bad for getting mad when she really couldn't help it.

3. Yes, I'm a bit of a drama queen. Well, more like I'm a really big over-reactor.

4. I love the MTV show Made. And I would really love to be on it, despite the fact that I'm not socially awkward and in high school. I used to want to go on it for running (I'm the only one in my fam who doesn't like to run), but now I want to go on it to learn to play the violin. Playing the violin is my (not so) secret dream. 
5. I have an older brother and sister who I'm very close to, but I've just recently realized that I've always done things differently than them. They went to the same summer camp, same college, moved to the same Chicago neighborhood, etc. Without realizing it (until now), I've always chosen a different path...different college, different camp, different 'hood. I always thought I'd do things just like them but when it comes down to it, I don't. And I'm not sure why. 

6. I tend to be a jealous person. I'm really, really trying to work on it, but sometimes that little green envy monster jumps up and bites me. I need to learn to tame that little sucker.

7. I have a really warped body image. 

8. To me, long conversations on public transportation are unforgivable, Yes, I understand checking in with home or saying you're running late, but catching up with a long lost friend or bitching about work is not okay. It's rude to everyone around you and it makes me really angry. Sometimes I am so tempted to grab the phone of their hand and throw it out the window. In the words of Stephanie Tanner, "How rude!"
9. I'm moving to Milwaukee in 6 months to be closer to my boyfriend. That's the first time I've officially admitted that to myself and it makes me really, really scared/nervous/anxious/excited. Ah!

10. I flirted with OCD as a kid. I used to go around my house every night obsessing over things being locked, unplugged, etc. It was bad. I kicked the habit eventually, but even now I get all quirky about making sure doors are locked at night, alarm clocks are set, etc.

11. I have irrational fears of people riding their bikes with no hands, jellyfish (even though I had never seen a real one before last summer), when airplanes turn (don't ask), fire and tornadoes. 

Oh wow, 11! 

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wine is divine

So I had every intention of coming home tonight and whipping out a fabulous post. I received my first ever blog award today from zentiment and I couldn't be more excited about it. Thank you, thank you, thank you! 

But I'm not going to lie, I'm a bit tipsy right now. My three friends and I want to Tango Sur, an amazing BYOB Argentinean restaurant here in Chicago, and we had a bottle of wine...but only two of us were drinking, so naturally we had to polish the bottle off. So yeah, I'm a wee bit tipsy.

And right now, I feel like I can't do my intended post, the award post, justice. It will be coming tomorrow, I promise. But for now, I'm going to finish up my DVR'd Top Chef, guzzle down some water, and head to bed. See you all tomorrow! And thank you again!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

President Obama is the bee's knees

Ok, it's official. I have a huge crush on the first family. 

President Obama (woohoo) and the new First Lady are amazing. I loved watching them all day, from leaving their hotel first thing this morning, to taking the oath of office, to their dances at the inaugural balls. They just seem so in love, don't they? 

And Malia and Sasha? So cute. I loved that Malia had her digital camera the whole time and was taking pictures of everything. will be fun to have kids in the White House now. 

I loved everything about today. I woke up SO excited that it was Inauguration Day. I watched the coverage this morning and had to unwillingly pry myself from my TV to go to work. As soon as I got there, I jumped on CNN to watch the live CNN/Facebook feed. (Facebook? Weird.) No one at work really mentioned much about the Inauguration (besides some of them making fun of the people standing out in the snow watching the big screen outside of the Tribune Tower...where I secretly wanted to be), so I was kind of bummed that I'd have to watch it alone.

At 10:30am, I went into the kitchen and noticed a few of my coworkers already sitting on the chairs and couches in front of the TV, watching all the coverage. I was shocked. But I plopped down next to them anyway and before I knew it, EVERY single person I work with (about 20 or so) was gathered in the kitchen to watch the Inauguration. It was a really cool experience. We all have very different views and opinions, yet we all bonded together to watch history being made.  We laughed at Aretha Franklin's hat together (it was a bit much), giggled over the oath slip-up together, and sat in awed silenced together as we listened to Obama address the nation as President for the first time.

Definitely a thumbs up to you, Mr. President.

And while the Obamas are being whisked from ball to ball (tehehe), I am sitting here hooked to the TV, soaking up every moment. I love Michelle's ball gown. And Barack just looks so handsome. And their first dance? Swoon. I have to admit...I actually liked Beyonce for a minute or two. 

But my favorite part of the evening? The headline on the CNN website:

"Obamas juggle inauguration balls"

The 6th grade girl in me can't stop giggling...

Congratulations, President Obama. I can't wait to see all the good things you'll bring to this country over the next four years!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Tiny icicles

On my lovely, brisk 6 minute walk home from the bus stop this evening my eyes started feeling a bit heavy. And a bit sticky. And a bit clumpy. 

What could it be?

Oh yes, my eyelashes had FROZEN together. Not all of them, but some of the longer ones in the middle. It got to the point where I couldn't really open my eyes all the way. Sure enough, when I got home and looked in the mirror, I had drops of ice on the ends of the lashes. Like teeny, tiny little icicles. It was precious. And a little frightening that it was that cold outside.

Despite my strong dislike of the cold and snow, I'm about to jump head first into a full-on winter wonderland. On Saturday morning, I'm driving up with three of my girlfriends to my friend's cottage in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It's a lot farther north, a lot colder and a lot snowier (4 feet on the ground!). 

My coworkers think I'm insane for voluntarily going to a colder climate in the middle of January. But I'm actually really excited about it. It's going to be fun to just veg out in sweats, curl up in front of a fire, drink wine, eat junk food and just hang out. Lately I've been feeling as though my life is going at warp speed and I have no free time anymore, so it will be nice to just relax and catch up with my good friends for the weekend.

I just have to get through tomorrow first. Thank goodness it's Starbucks Day. But oh how I miss my Pumpkin Spice Lattes and Gingersnap Lattes... 

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Saskatchewan Screamer is gonna get ya!

Sounds like the teaser to a cheesy horror movie, doesn't it?

Yeah, I wish.

That Saskatchewan Screamer is a low pressure system that dips in from Canada  and is currently sitting pretty in the Midwest, blasting Chicago with little snowflakes, big snowflakes, crazy wind and a some cute little subzero temps thrown in for fun. 

It's a nasty, ugly, freezing weather monster that is wrecking havoc here. The high for tomorrow? 


Wind chill? 


It's flippin' freezing.

Thank God it has a catchy name, right? Almost makes it sound fun. Or not.

65 days. 65 days. 65 days. 

Repeating that helps me get through this frigid, face-numbing, frost-bite-inducing, stinging, biting cold. Because in 65 days, I'm going to Aruba. One sun-filled, fun-filled, pina colada-filled week of tropical bliss in the Caribbean. I can't even wait. 

But for now, I'll just bury myself under 75 layers and brave the Saskatchewan Screamer. Bring it on!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

When you're feeling down...

Watch these videos. 

These are by far my favorite happy YouTube videos. When I'm being a grump or annoyed with work, I just put one of these guys on and I feel better in no time.

Where the Hell is Matt? 
I just recently discovered this and I'm obsessed.  It's a lot better in HD, so if you have sec, mosey on over to YouTube and click on the little "watch in HD" button on the bottom right. Whether this is real or it's a hoax (which I don't think it is), this is definitely one of the greatest videos ever.

Schnappi Das Kleine Krokodil
As I post this video, I know everyone will finally realize how much of an odd duck I am. But this song/cartoon is just so cute. My brother showed this to me one day and I couldn't get the song out of my head for days, but I didn't mind. It's about a cute baby croc, what's not to love?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Look on the bright side

Yep, you're in the right place. 

Do you like the new look? I was a little sick of the green and brown. I needed something a bit brighter. A bit more fun. A bit more me. I had quite a difficult time choosing between shamrocks, palm trees, ice cream, etc. But the yellow flower stood out to me, so I went with it. 

I appreciated everyone who offered to help me with a redesign—thank you. And I still definitely might be up for it. I have no clue how to change the layout or make it 3-column or any of that jazz.  But since I'm in advertising and have studied design before, I was itching to try to design (AKA play around on InDesign) a little something myself. It's super basic, but I like it.

I'm sure over the next couple of days I'll be switching colors, etc. So stay tuned. 

In the mean time, I'm going to finish whipping up my second crock pot meal (mandarin orange chicken) and head to bed a bit early. We're getting a blizzard tomorrow morning, just in time for the morning commute, so that means I have to leave super early to get to work on time. Oh how I love Chicago winters. 

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Weekend recap, Amish people, Golden Globes...oh my!

This girl is tired. Very, very tired. After getting about 7 hours of sleep the whole weekend, I'm definitely ready to go to bed.

Friday night was the big (little) Galway reunion. I had a blast. We braved the cold, wet snow and trudged out on our Irish pub crawl. After a few pints of Smithwick's and Stella, some bottles of Magner's and a handful of Baby G's and Car Bombs, we were loudly and excitedly (mostly on my part) reminiscing about our favorites times abroad. Throw in a few awkward moments (like an almost-fight between strange men) and a heart-to-heart at the Rock n' Roll McDonald's at 3am and you've got one hell of a night. 

The next day I had to brave the snow again (I am SO sick of winter) and made the trek to the train station. Thank God for my sweet black peace sign rain boots, which kept my feet nice and dry and relatively toasty. Let me just say that sitting on the floor of a super crowded train station with a hangover is not fun. What was fun though was when this really loud woman struck up a conversation with this sweet little Amish girl standing next to her. And please note this was right after the loud woman got pissed at someone in line and called her a snotty bitch. I believe the convo went something like this:

Loud Woman: Hey, wow, great cap! Are you like Amish?
Amish Girl: Yes, yes I am.
LW: Wow! That's so cool. I think all you Amish people are great, you know being away from society and stuff. That's awesome. 
Amish Girl smiles and nods a bit.
LW: Is this your first time in the big city? Are you totally blown away?
Amish Girl: Yes, I am on my way to visit my boyfriend.
LW: You guys can date? No way! How is that possible?
Amish Girl: Yes, he is from Kentucky.
LW: Wow, really? Can you guys really do that? Go out and meet other people like that? 
Amish Girl: Yes, yes. 
LW: How did you meet? I just admire you all much. Amish people fascinate me.

And that's when I couldn't hold my laughter anymore and I had to walk away. That poor girl. It made me shudder a bit to think how naive and obnoxious that woman was. Yikes.

The rest of the weekend was great. I finally got on the train and went to Milwaukee to hang out with my boyfriend. We went to his teacher holiday party out in the middle of Wisconsin somewhere. Have I mentioned before that he is a teacher? So anyway, that was a blast. He works with some really fun people, so he's lucky. 

Then today I came back to the 'burbs and hit up the mall with my sister. We ended up seeing Bride Wars. It was good...but not that good. I was a tad disappointed. 

So now I'm sitting here watching the Golden Globes. Was anyone else a little sad when Heath Ledger won? He definitely deserved it, but it's so tragic... Ok and seriously, it has always REALLY annoyed me when people win awards and then aren't even there to accept it. All the other nominees could come out and wave their little hands and smile, but the dope that won couldn't even show up? Hey, I understand if there was a family emergency or something, but still. If I was one of those people that didn't win, I'd be a bit upset. But then again, if I was one of those people, I'd probably be freaking out because I was in the same room with all my favorite celebs. 

I love how all those actors and actresses are so "hip" together. They all mingle and do the cheek-kisses and all that jazz. How chic. And fake. Do you ever wonder how things really are between all the celebrities? Like who really hates each other? Who is secretly in love with someone else? Who slept together in the past and tries to forget it? I do. I mean look at Angelina tonight, she looked pissed. And Steve Carrell always looks really sad at award shows. I wonder what it's all about. I bet it's crazy drama sometimes. But that might just be me.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

What's the craic?

When I say I love Ireland, it's a bit of an understatement. 

I'm kind of obsessed with it. Irish accents, Irish people, Irish music, Irish holidays (or just one), Irish pubs, Irish beer, Irish shots (Baby Guiness!), even Irish food (ok not all of it). I hear someone mention it and my ears perk up. When I pass by the travel section in a book store, I have to browse through the Ireland books. If I'm bored at work sometimes, I look at pictures of Ireland. It's a bit sick, really.

My infatuation with the glorious Emerald Isle started back in Fall of 2005, when I studied abroad in Galway. When we first got there, I'll admit I wasn't too crazy about it. Perhaps it was after the disastrous first night in which we got ridiculously drunk on Red Bull vodkas with a handful of boys from Liverpool...right. Can't tell that story. I'd probably be shot. 

But as the slight culture shock wore off, I fell in love with it. Classes didn't matter much there. My 3 "flatmates" (my high school friend A, a girl from my college I hadn't known previously, and a girl from NY) and I had a rule: If it was raining, we didn't have to go to class. And it rained a lot. We went out almost every night, met the cutest (and not so cute) Irish boys and traveled all over Europe on the weekends. And when I ended up dating a very cute Irish guy for a couple of months, it was the icing on the cake. 

Though sometimes I grew tired of the constant rain, I loved every moment. When we had to leave and I had to say goodbye to everyone, especially my Irish guy, I was heartbroken. I literally cried the whole night before I left, the whole bus ride to the airport, the whole time at the airport and then the whole 7 hour flight back. I was a hot mess. No not even hot...I was a cold, tired, ugly, sniffly, snotty mess. Sick. The poor woman sitting next to me must have thought I was crazy.

I had the time of my life in Ireland. I could literally talk about it for hours on end. And every day, I wish I could go back. One day I do want to go back there...actually I want to go back now. But I know it won't be the same. 

So luckily, I get the next best thing. Tomorrow night we're having a mini Galway reunion. Technially it's only me, A and our other roommate from the Niland House (where we lived over there), but it's the first time we've all been out together since we left Galway 3 years ago. I can't even wait. We're going on a little Irish pub crawl around Chicago. It should be a lot of fun. And hopefully it will be like having a tiny little piece of Ireland back again.

Sidenote: "Craic" is a Gaelic word for fun, good time, etc. They say it all the time over there. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

At least I got a free poncho

Weird stuff happens to me.

Today I took a little stroll over to the cafeteria in the building across the street to get some lunch. I was cutting through the nice little plaza next to the Tribune Tower, enjoying the "warmth" of the 30 degree day, when I saw this guy and girl calling for my attention. The girl was waving a camera, so I asked her if she wanted me to take a picture of them.

Nope. She wanted a picture of ME. I was really confused for a second and then she shoved a black bag in my hand (the freebie drawstring backpack kind) and mumbled something that sounded like "from" and told me to smile. When I still looked really confused, the guy told me it was just a nice picture in front of the Wrigley Building (which was across the street behind me). 

Before I could protest, the girl snapped the picture and then sent me on my way. I tried to give the bag back, but they told me that it was my free gift for taking the picture. So I thanked them and continued to the cafeteria clutching my little black bag.

I swung that bag all through the cafeteria, all down Michigan Avenue back to work, all through the crowded lobbies and sidewalks, all the while wondering what fun little freebies and prizes were inside. If it was from ESPN, I was thinking I'd get a cool T-shirt, great coupons, and maybe even some free granola bars.

And then I got into the elevator to go to my office. And I finally took a look at the writing on the outside of the bag.

And there—in HUGE white letters—it practically screamed:

Maalox. For Advanced Relief.

For a split second, I was absolutely horrified. And then I burst out laughing. The other woman in the elevator thought I was nuts, but I just couldn't stop. 

I can't believe I didn't look at the bag they made me pose with. Where the hell is that picture going to turn up? I can only imagine—me smiling, proudly showing off the huge Maalox logo. I'm sure the caption will read something like, "Chicago girls love fast relief" or "Maalox makes you smile" or "Chicago was a gas" or something like that.

How embarrassing...and funny. I wonder if it was for some kind of radio website gag or something because it seemed so random. I guess we'll find out soon enough.

The best part is what was inside the bag. There was one really sexy XXXL shirt that had the Maalox logo on it not once, but TWICE. So no matter which way you go, everyone will know you love Maalox. Plus, there was a fantastic black poncho with the logo plastered across the chest. The thing is so big you could probably fit 5 of me in the there. And thank God they included a handful of Maalox coupons. Who doesn't love those?

Now I'm sure Maalox is a wonderful product and as someone who has frequent stomach troubles, I can't be too harsh. But the situation is just too funny. And honestly, if it really is for Maalox, which I'm assuming it is considering the T-shirt and such, what kind of lame marketing ploy is that? Taking pictures with a Maalox bag? Bizarre.

I guess I can just be glad it wasn't Gas-X, right? 

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The best intentions...or something like that

So as I kick off 2009, I've decided to make a few resolutions:

1. Drink more water. I'm TERRIBLE about drinking water. It's not that I drink a lot of soda or sugary drinks or anything, I just don't drink a lot of anything in general. Kind of weird.

2. Get on a regular Pilates/work out schedule ASAP so I can be fit and toned by March when I jet off to Aruba with my Mom and sister. (I'm already counting the days...)

3. After Santa left me with brand new cooking utensils, two cook books and a crock pot, I promised myself I'd cook more (I think he was hinting pretty strongly at that, too). So I'm going to try to cook myself dinner at least once a week, which is a big step for me.

4. Try to get to bed at a decent hour...or at least a bit earlier than I usually do.

5. Redesign my blog a bit. Not sure where to start on that, does anyone have any suggestions/ideas/tips? I'd really appreciate them!

So I started off today with the best intentions. I woke up, got ready and went to Pilates with my friend. I was really good about going over the summer, but when I moved and it started to get colder, I stopped going. So this morning was a bit rough. But I know it will only get better. 

After Pilates, I stopped at the grocery store and picked up the last couple ingredients for my first ever crock pot meal. I was feeling very productive and very excited about "cooking". I decided to make a chicken and vegetable dish in which I could just throw everything into the pot all at once. Basically, it was just canned potatoes, canned water chestnuts, frozen green beans, garlic, pepper, a bottle of Italian dressing and 8 large chicken breast halves.

Yes, 8.

For some reason, I forgot that I was only "trying out" a recipe and therefore only I was going to be eating it. So I went and got my little chicken breasts and even though it was $15 ($15 for chicken?!), I decided it was a good investment because it would provide me meals for the next couple of days. Is chicken normally that much? Yikes. I have a lot of learning to do.

So I hurried home, threw it all together in the crock pot and set the timer. It smelled so good all day and I couldn't wait to eat it. When my little timer went off, I leapt off my couch and immediately went to try it out. It smelled good, it looked good...

It just didn't taste good. 

I don't know if it was the canned potatoes (gross) or the canned water chestnuts (double gross), but I could barely eat it. The chicken was good, but the rest? Not so much. And now the smell is making me sick.  And now I'm stuck with 7 more chicken breasts that I really don't want to eat. 7?! What was I thinking? Note to self: Check the serving size next time you make something. Sigh. I'm hoping it might taste better when it's cold...hmm.

I'm going to try not to let this discourage me from cooking more often. I'm just thinking it was a bad recipe...

And I had the best intentions to clean my apartment today and reorganize things. But then I started watching the ABC Family marathon of "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" and I'm hooked. I can't stop watching. These kids are so ridiculously trashy! When I was 15, I was obsessed with *NSYNC and trying to get through Biology labs, not thinking about when and how I could have sex. I meant really, the entire show is based on sex. I'm surprised ABC Family even airs it. But it's pretty good...and I can't stop watching. It's a very strange mix of characters. You've got the really slutty smart girl, the shy pregnant French horn player and the super super Christian girl. Kind of bizarre, but interesting nonetheless. 

So if I want to keep watching and keep my resolution to go to bed earlier, I guess I'll just straighten up tomorrow. Happy New Year everyone!