LinkedIn Suggests You Congratulate Taylor

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I'm not sure about you, but one of the highlights of my day is the email I get from LinkedIn reminding me to congratulate others on their professional accomplishments and achievements. I get a real tickle watching everyone else progress in professional adult life so nicely with their promotions and new jobs. Just a real tickle.

I know LinkedIn doesn't mean to be rude, but they've forgotten to remind everyone of my accomplishments, as well. I know because I've anxiously been waiting to one day see my name pop up in an email from LinkedIn. Yet it's never happened.

But if it did happen, it would go something like this.

LinkedIn suggests you congratulate Taylor on her newest accomplishment. On Monday evening she did a tap dance number on stage entitled "Pizza Guys" while holding and swirling an old pizza box with leftover crumbs still inside. She was only a backup dancer, but she nailed those damn time-steps. And she didn't fall off the stage. The following night she played a talking old cockroach who got into a fight with his wife.

LinkedIn suggests you congratulate Taylor because she ate a very large portion of cheese dip late last evening before looking at the lid and realizing there was mold on it. She took it like a champ and simply threw the remainder of the dip away and she is yet to get sick from it.

LinkedIn suggests you congratulate Taylor because she took a big step forward in appreciating her own life and officially stopped following Kendall Jenner on Instagram. It was only making her feel bad about her own lack of Range Rovers and non-existent majestic shiny dark hair. She also realized it's simply not healthy to have a fascination with an eighteen year old girl, no matter how rich or famous or stupidly gorgeous she is.

LinkedIn suggests you congratulate Taylor because after nearly two years of never being able to find more than one oddly colored pink hair-tie, she finally took the plunge and purchased an entire new pack from Walgreens this week! It's a big purchase, but she is feeling really good about it and the opportunities that might come from it.

LinkedIn suggests you congratulate Taylor because she hasn't tweeted @ComcastMike in almost 12 minutes. That's pretty good for her. If you follow her on Twitter you might have seen some of her crazy Comcast Tweets, she makes no apologies. She also hasn't called Comcast yet to discuss the charges that she's been told NINE times will be dropped, literally nine, and she's really trying hard to hold off until next week when she'll inevitably have to call again and have the same conversation she's been having three times a week for five weeks now. Also, she's only cried because of Comast once this week.

LinkedIn suggests you congratulate Taylor because she just took one big step toward professional blogger level and bought herself a fancy new At-A-Glance planner from Office Max this morning. Initially she picked it up because she thought it was only $6.99, so when it rang up for $14.00 she was faced with a very tough decision. She considered putting it back and even stepped away from the register, but then she thought, "No, I deserve this. You gotta live a little, right?" She's not sure what she's going to put in the planner but she is certain big things will come from it. (There's a "pin it" button on the photo in case you want to save it to your "Dream Planner" board or something, just an FYI.)

And that's just a few reasons why LinkedIn should be encouraging others to congratulate me. But it's not like I need reinforcement from anyone, when you're nailing life you just know, you know?

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Sunday On A Boat

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

And just a few more photos from our Sunday boat outing on the Chicago river...

This was taken shortly before Chris drove us under the fountain for a brief little "shower."

I've said it before and I'll say it again, you have to see Chicago by boat if you ever get the chance. It just changes the entire feel of the city. Take an architecture boat tour, rent an electric boat or pontoon boat, or just jump on a kayak. You won't regret it.

And later Sunday afternoon was spent trying to tame the wild Harlow at the festival that was going on down our street, The Taste of Lincoln Avenue.

You can't really tell via photo, but this is his ornery look.

At one point on Sunday Chris left Harlow in the backyard for about ten seconds (something we do on a regular basis) and Harlow ran straight for the alley and into the festival. Luckily a guy grabbed the little devil just as he ran through the gate, headed straight toward the kabob stand. Har's usually too timid to be a runner, he typically doesn't go more than ten feet away from us, but when he got one whiff of the The Taste of Lincoln he said forget you guys and made a run for it.

And because it started to rain right when Rusted Root took the stage, we headed to my dad's favorite spot for blues in Chicago, Kingston Mines. While we watched the talented Chicago musicians sing the blues we munched on plates of fried everything- from okra, to shrimp, to mushrooms, it was all very good. And made me feel like absolute shit the next day. Can't say I was too surprised.

Anyway, it's currently after 12:30 a.m. and I'm exhausted. My improv team, The Sneak Around Bunch, had our first premier at the Second City tonight and I'm happy to report it was an absolute blast. But more on that tomorrow. Sleep is calling my name.

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The Weekend Stuff

Monday, July 28, 2014

Whenever my parents come to town it's a whirlwind of eating, drinking, and just a lot of fun. This weekend was no different. They've been having more fun than me since the 80s and they still are.  

The minute they got off the train and got to my house we jetted over to the J Parker for afternoon drinks before the place got too clubby. We had about one hour before before the music got too loud and the people got too pushy. I'm such a grandma I hate having drinks when I can't have a conversation. 

And fries should never be eaten with mayo. That's just gross. But why is it soooo good?

After a long night of bar hopping and eating too much on Friday evening we started Saturday off with some bloodys at Dunlays on Clark. And by "long night" I mean 11:00 p.m., my family likes to start early and end early. That's kinda how I prefer it, as well. Happy hours are always better than after hours. Now if only I could get late-nighter Chris on board with this idea as well...

And this fried egg sandwich at Dunlay's is to die. This crappy photo doesn't do it justice, but trust me on this one. If you ever go there you need to order this.

After a solid base of carbs and bloodys we headed up to Wrigleyville for the Cubs game.

You just can't go to a baseball game without getting a hot dog. For some reason encased meat just tastes better at a baseball stadium. Same goes for peanuts. I would never go somewhere and willingly buy peanuts and be happy about it, but at Wrigley I am.

And that concludes part one of weekend stuff.  I felt like I had too many photos for one post and because I'm proud of myself for being a big girl blogger and bringing out my fancy camera you better believe I'm posting all of them.

Happy Monday! woof.

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I'm Very Busy

Friday, July 25, 2014

I'm like really busy. - said in that annoying girl tone. You know what I'm talking about. 

Yesterday Chris and I were walking down Halsted and we passed two girls in their twenties having a conversation about "needing to be alone for once in their life" and they were talking in that voice that girls use now. I call it the Kardashian voice, or the SNL Californian voice, it's really nasally and you have to say your words very longggg and slowwwwww. Whatever it is, I kind of hate it. I don't mean to be judgy, but let's stop this trend right now, okay Chicago gals? We're better than this. Let's get back to the long O's and talking like we're all Ditka. That's way classier...

But anyway, back to me thinking I'm busier than everyone else in the world... We all know that's not true, but I like to pretend I am. That's why I got such a kick out of this tank from Style Lately

Too busy to take my hands out of my pockets.

Too busy to look at the camera. 

Just too damn busy.

Seriously though, I've got a few things coming up I'm really excited about. I'll be performing with the Sneak Around Bunch for our run of shows at The Second City starting Monday, July 28- September 22nd! (I think, I always get confused on dates.) I'll be doing another showcase at The Laugh Factory August 7th and 8th thanks to funny man, Chris Bader. And I'll be telling dick jokes at Just Dicking Around Comedy August 7th in Boystown. So Chicago friends, this is me telling you to come watch! Let's hang out, it will be fun!

And and and this last one has me really excited. Starting in August I'm going to be co-hosting an open mic at iO's new building on Kingston street. I'm just so excited to get to be a part of iO again, it was hard when my classes were over and I no longer had a reason to be on that stage. There's something about that theater that hooks people. And to get to be a part of their first open mic is pretty cool. Of course I'll be talking about this a lot more in the upcoming weeks, I'm sure it's going to give me a lot of good blog material.

And to top it all off my parents will be arriving in Chicago in two hours and a street festival will be arriving directly in front of my house in less than twelve. I'm really tempted to set up shop on my stoop and make a few bucks selling lemonade and cookies, but I'm not sure if that's weird? You know because I'm not ten years old. But that's never stopped me before, so if you come to Taste Of Lincoln this weekend look for the large woman-child trying to compete with the kids to sell 50cent lemonade, that will be me.

That's all I've got. Have a wonderful weekend! I can't believe it's already the last one in July. Where do the summers go?

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Summer Camp

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Fifteen years ago on July 24th 1999,  I left for my first week long stay away from home at summer camp. After watching and obsessing over the Parent Trap I begged my parents to send me to camp to find my long lost English twin. After checking into Camp Walden For Girls in Maine (the camp from the movie) and learning that it was around $5,000 to stay for the week, my parents chose to send me to a camp in Iowa instead. 

A little place of outdoor heaven called Camp Foster in Okoboji.

I was sent a pack-list in the mail about two months before camp started. I can still picture the small booklet in my head because I studied it almost every night leading up to the big day. There were some nights I even fell asleep reading it in bed. If I had my camp scrapbook in front of me I would take a photo of the booklet to show (because yeah, I made a camp scrapbook obviously) but sadly all 482 of my scrapbooks are in Nebraska.

What I'm saying is that I was excited. I started packing about two weeks early to ensure I wouldn't forget any of my best Umbro shorts, my favorite Nike one-piece swimsuits, my coolest Rider sandals (so silver or pink obviously), or any of my classiest athletic t-shirts- i.e. any shirt that read "Eat, Sleep (fill in the last word with any sport and I owned the shirt.)

When I finally got to camp it was full of every camp cliche I had ever hoped for. Bunk-beds in cabins and a mess hall and canoes by a lake and a huge a flag pole in the middle of it all (which I would come to hate once I learned "flag call" was every morning at 7:00 a.m.)  The only thing missing was the dirty mirror outside the rec room that said "this mirror is clean, are you?" Please someone get the 90s Nickelodeon reference.

Anyway, if you've ever been to camp you know that there is always a "cute girl" cabin. Because I watched Bug Juice before leaving for Foster, I had high hopes of being in that cute girl cabin, and perhaps even finding myself a camp boyfriend. I mean why not? It was summer camp after all, crazy things were about to happen! And what I failed to mention above is that beyond all of my athletic attire I packed, I also packed a few sunflower outfits from Limited Too, you know for special occasions.

But sadly reality was about to hit me right in the face.

I think I first realized I was in the weirdo cabin one morning in the mess hall when suddenly almost all of the other tables started the "we want back rubs" chant. The girl cabins would demand back rubs from their favorite boy cabins and vice versa. It looked like fun so God bless our hearts, Hakowie #137 (that was my cabin) decided to join in as well.

"Hakowie wants some back rubs, some back rubs, some back rubs. Hakowie wants some back rubs, some back rubs, some back rubs, so who will come on over?" Kind of a creepy song for little kid campers to sing, but that's not the point. The point is my cabin continued to sing and yet no one came over. No one wanted to back rub the creepy Hakowie girls.

Then I realized we were definitely the weirdo cabin. There was no way around it.

And it made sense. We had two girls who only dressed as wizards (this was pre Harry Potter hype) one girl who wore her backpack at all times, but she refused to wear it anywhere but her front, so it was more like a stomach pack. Another girl in our cabin liked to wear pant-suits with her sneakers like she was always late to a business meeting, I still don't know what that was about. And then we also had the camp smelly kid, the girl who pissed her bed every night yet never seemed to show up for shower time. I know a lot of kids suffer from bed wetting, they just don't usually go to camp and take a top bunk. And then refuse to shower. Ah Shawnie. Wonder where she is today. And I wonder if she's still wearing the same red shirt that hangs to her knees that says, "Beef. It's What For Dinner."

Besides the rest of the crew I just described,  there was my friend I came with, Sarah, and myself. We were the same age, but she looked at least five years older- a quality that would serve her very well in middle school. Luckily I had a very inflated self esteem at that age and failed to realize both my teeth and ears were about two sizes too big for my small body. I was 12 but looked 9, perhaps even 8. My feet however were bigger than most adults. And I almost always had chip crumbs in the corner of my mouth/chip mouth sores because I was always eating chips at camp. I packed like ten bags of Doritos just to be safe, they were like my security blanket.

So for our seven days at camp, Cabin Hakowie never once got back rubs. Well that's not technically true I guess, on the third day we asked and no boys came over the mess hall staff felt bad for us so they came out from the kitchen (and even removed their plastic gloves) to cheer up the weird cabin. That's kind of when you know things are bad. When the lunch ladies in hair nets and orthopedic shoes feel sorry for you.

And so I slowly gave up hopes of finding a camp boyfriend, who if I had to choose would have been a boy named Clayton who had spiky bleached white hair and wore a white puka shell necklace... Not that I remember him or anything. One time I got to talk to Clayton because our two cabins had a scheduled lake activity.  I thought he was going to touch my face, but he was actually just pointing to seaweed that was stuck to my forehead. It must have gotten there when I had fallen out of my canoe.

Oh, camp memories.

Even though I quickly started to hate camp after just a day or two because of all the bullshit we had to do- get up early to go to the flagpole, participate in stupid activities all damn day, eat crappy food, sleep in bunks that always seemed wet (thanks Shawnie) take cold showers, spend long nights singing the worst songs around the campfire, just to name a few things... Looking back I couldn't be happier about the experience. It was as "cliche campy" as it gets.

I think every kid needs a camp experience. Or at least the realization that the cute girl cabin probably isn't that fun anyway, and maybe it's not so bad to belong with the weirdos after all.

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20 Things We Unexpectedly Become Obsessed With Because Of Blogging

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Today I'm teaming up with Ash from The Grits Blog. If you don't already know about this girl, you should. She's honest, she's funny, and she blogs about everything from style, to hair tutorials, to makeup stuff, even wedding details- she's basically as versatile as a blogger gets! And to top it all off she also has her own blog design service. Like I said, she does it all.

And now we present: 20 Things We Unexpectedly Become Obsessed With Because Of Blogging.

Ash says...
1// Twitter. Seriously! I had never realllly used Twitter before blogging. I didn't get what the buzz was all about. Now. I. Do. It's the bomb!! I obsessively check it through out the day and read what's going on with my fellow blogger friends.

2// How to make a cool design. Everything from glitter layers to fonts - I am always on the hunt for some cool layer and font. (P.S. - Custom designs are on sale for 25% off!!! Check out my portfolio here and shoot me an email!)

3// Obsessing over why someone unliked my bloglovin or other social media site. Seriously, I always wonder why and what I could have done differently.

4// Well this isn't exactly unexpected, but it's sure been exaggerated - taking thousands of pictures of my dogs and posting them to instagram. THEN hashtagging them with tags like #chihuahuagram #ilovemyfrenchie and so on. THEN getting depressed when I don't get a ton of likes.

5// This a new one. Wondering if I am being catfished...

6// Not caring if I fit the blogger mold. It seems like there a ton of blogger "rules" - the only one that I really stick to is responding to comments...even though it may take me a while sometimes. HEY! I've got a job and two precious pups at home!

7// The pressure of writing good comments. Now that I blog and understand the whole good comment thing and why it's important, I try to comment in the way that I would like to get comments. Oh. The. Pressure.

8// The self reflection and understanding. Prior to blogging, I was conflicted and emotional. I think a lot of this was due to the fact that I really didn't have a place to get it all out - and get support. It's absolutely amazing at what writing it all out and reflecting on that writing has done for my soul. 

9// I learned how to curl my hair...and thusly, became absolutely obsessed with hair and makeup tutorials. 

10// The community. When I started blogging, I really expected to deal with a bunch of trolls. I was so wrong!! I have never met such awesome ladies and have made so many friends. It's been the biggest blessing.

And compared to Ash's, my list seems a little more shallow... But here it is.

11// Camera accessories.  I just got my first "decorative" camera strap and I suddenly feel really cool about it. If it weren't for blogging I wouldn't even feel the need to have a "fancy camera," let alone a col camera strap.

12//Juicing. I don't technically know what juicing means, or how to do it, but when I see all of the delicious smoothies bloggers are creating because of their juicers I know I NEED ONE.

13//Acquiring a planner. I haven't actually bought one yet, but every time I see new one pop up on a blog I think to myself, "I'm going to get a planner."

14//Having a cool home office. The best I can hope for is a cool desk space because rooms are limited. I look at gorgeous photos bloggers' post of their work areas and I can't help but wonder how they keep it so clean? Are they really working there? Like really? Because where are all of the empty coffee mugs and post-it notes everywhere?

15//Hashtags. It's hard to resist the hashtag when they're getting so fun.

16//Birkenstocks. I haven't owned Birks since the 70s but I'm seeing them all over the place and I really want to get a pair.

17//Floppy hats. I wasn't nearly as into floppy hats until blogging. Luckily they're great for bad hair days.

18// Blogging about blogging... cough cough.

19// Having a morning blog routine. Or trying to at least.

20// Tutorials. Here's a hair tutorial I once did called "The George Washington." Check it out and let me know what you think.

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"You Hang In There" -advice from a married woman

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Last month I was at a wedding reception having a wonderful old time, like I typically do at receptions, when the woman sitting next to me at our table casually asked how long Chris and I have been dating.

"Oh just about seven years," I responded.

I could tell right away she didn't like my answer. Her tight face went from shock, to horror, and then immediately to pity in just about two seconds. And then she delicately patted my knee and said, "You hang in there."

Well okay.


I'll do that.

So here's the thing. I don't mind that Chris and I have been dating for longer than "the norm." If I did mind, I wouldn't be doing it... And I don't even mind when people consistently ask me "so when are you getting married?" Hell, I think it's nice they're even interested or want to know about Chris and I, and it's a logical question after all.

What I do mind however, is when someone tells me to hang in there.

Hang in there. It just gives me this image of a sad pitiful kitten hanging on a rope, because that exact poster was taped up in my guidance counselor's office in elementary school. And yes, I had to see the guidance counselor/speech pathologist because I had a "speech impediment" as a child. Sally sells seashells by the seashore is a terribly evil verbal exercise for a kid with a lisp.

But I digress.

I don't like being told to hang in there because it makes me think I'm this little girl just waiting and praying for that one magical day when I can finally fulfill my dream of becoming... a wife! As if I really don't have much say in this rather large life step and my only choice is to sit around and twiddle my thumbs and Pin wedding ideas onto my Pinterest board called "The Day I Marry My Best Friend."

*disclaimer: I know some girls are waiting and dreaming of this day and that is completely fine! Cheers to them, in fact. We are all different people.  To each their own.
*second disclaimer: I don't have a Wedding board on Pinterest. 

I guess I just get a little annoyed that so many people assume every girl in a long-time relationship who isn't yet married, is just dying for that ring. But darn it, we just can't get a hold of it! For whatever reason we haven't managed to tame our wild bachelor boyfriends yet... Or whatever it is some people think about us sad lonely "girlfriends" who just can't talk our guys into marrying us... Because it's just not how it is anymore.

Chris and I aren't trying to be this uber modern couple resisting marriage either. We're just doing us. And for whatever reason, marriage isn't a huge priority at the moment.

So while "hang in there" might be good advice for a few, it's not for me. Because I don't plan on going anywhere, anyway. And even though I've also been told "our bond" just isn't as real as those who are bonded in marriage, we're doing okay. Our relationship feels real to us, that's good enough for me.

Whether we get married in two years or twelve, I guess we'll just hang in there together.

But thanks again for the solid advice, maam. I hope you give it to your daughter someday.


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Harlow's Guide To Chicago

After writing my guide to Chicago last week, someone got a little jealous I didn't ask for his input. Thus he's requested to make his own guide today.

(As told by Harlow, don't act surprised I'm doing this.)

1. Um for starters I really like this tree. Because it gives the best view of the squirrels in Lincoln Park. Just be careful of the ducks. They hiss. And sometimes they donkey kick you in the face.

2. And then this jungle gym at Wrightwood Park is pretty cool. Because it's the best jungle gym ever and there's usually Cheetos under the wobbly bridge.

3. And you have to make sure to walk by the crazy dogs (coyotes) at Lincoln Park Zoo. But be careful! They seem pretty angry. And don't try to sneak your head in the fence, it's not as wide as it looks.

4. Then there's the tennis court at Oz Park. Because tennis courts are CRAZY. Like what's that net doing there? It drives me nuts but I also love it for some reason.

5. And you can't miss this water bowl in Old Town. Because it's cold and good and sometimes there's treats next to it.

6. I also like this place in Wicker Park because they give me beef jerky.

7. And if you see a street festival, RUN TO IT! There is food everywhere. Most people aren't paying any attention and if you sneak up behind them real good you can just take their food from their hand.

8. This fountain is pretty cool I guess. It's a nice one to take a quick dip.

9. And this place is just the best. You gotta come here when you come to Chicago. I got to jump hurdles and run through tunnels and everyone was always cheering me on and giving me treats.

10. And I really like this drinking fountain in North Pond. It's second only to the one at Jonquil Park.

11. The rock slabs by the lake are fun too. Just be careful because the rocks get slippery and sometimes you fall in.

12. And I saved my favorite for last. The beach. Because it's just AWESOME.

Honorable mention goes to the dry cleaner on Clark street because they keep a bag of treats hanging on their door and I think that's pretty neat. And I also like the dumpster behind my house because one time I found an entire box of Chinese food! It was the best day ever.

And that's my guide to Chicago.

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