30 November 2012

This Weekend

-Couch shopping with Dad
-Unpacking with Dad
-Ruby Sparks
-Karaoke Revolution at Alice's

29 November 2012

Behind the Scenes at the Art Institute

In a recent post on how grateful I am to have a job I adore, I ran through a laundry list of some of the perks of working at such a world class institution. I did not mention that one of my token roles has been to accompany performers for special events, and it seems that the last few weeks has been a whirlwind of corralling dancers, actors, photographers etc! I'm not quite sure how I fell into this position, but I am the first to admit that I totally love it. Maybe it was my former pseudo-career as a fledgling actor that makes me the right fit for this odd job... Either way, I love it!

Here are some photos I've snapped working events in the last few weeks!

23 November 2012

Day Two at Spicer Farms

Forever and ever ago, I visited Moriah's family's farm, and life got in the way of me finishing blogging about the experience. But let it be known, that since visiting that magical place, I've told nearly everyone who's asked just how special that weekend was to me, and just how wonderful Mo's family truly is. In an effort to get back on track with blogging, I present to you snaps from our second day on the family compound.

I think what spoke to me so much about my visit were the little details within the interior space of Moriah's family's home. I kept returning to this corner, where each day some new still-life was set up for me to photograph - a half played chess game, a vase of wild flowers, a book, etc. The light fills this home in the most exquisite way, and the woodwork is just gorgeous. You can literally feel the years of enriched living and learning that have happened within the space of these walls, the energy is immense and beautiful. I feel very grateful to have been able to add my own memories to this wonderful homestead.

Thanks again for hosting, Mo. I am still serious about wanting to have my wedding there someday...

Beautiful Corner 1 waiting for breakfast The Kitchen leahs room Friends For Peace Rachel Reading Table Scrabble Breakfast

Thanksgiving 2012

Despite being sick, yesterday was a smashing success. I spent the morning doing laundry, cleaning, and relaxing at my place before heading to help with a bit of food prep at my Dad's place. The afternoon was spent with my siblings, talking back to the television, and snacking on any and everything in sight. We packed up around 3:30 and headed to Laura's place to begin our feast.

The evening started with a cheese course, comprised of domestic cheeses we picked up last week at a holiday cheese warehouse sale on the South side. The cheeses were so good that they nearly filled me up! I'm pretty sure I tried all of them, and I couldn't get over how good the softer goats were when combined with the jams and preserves we had on hand. My mouth is watering just typing this out! Laura carved the turkey, which was from Publican Quality Meats - a deliciously beautiful Slagel Farms bird that she slow-cooked on the grill all day long. There were many sides: squash, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, stuffing made with greens from Laura's garden, Dad's kale salad, gravy with an orange/tangerine base, and cranberry sauce. Then came dessert: a perfect pecan pie with homemade whipped cream, pumpkin pie squares, and Graeter's ice cream. Everything was just wonderful!

Thanks so much for hosting & cooking, Laura. We had an absolutely perfect evening.


cheese course Ben and Cats Turkey 1 Turkey 2 Sitting down my plate

Thankful November 23: Mo

Photo taken at Ben's day-after-Thanksgiving party via My Week In Pictures
Mo and I became friends in the last year, and things have been getting pretty serious lately. In the last year, when so many things seemed out of place and in constant motion, Moriah has been a source of stability for me. She is so incredibly grounded. I'm not sure if she really knows how deep my adoration is, but it's there. She is such an inspiration. She is funny. She is smart. She is fabulous. She makes me laugh, like really laugh. If only we could spend every night in a tent reading Matilda by flashlight...

22 November 2012

Harbert, Michigan

Shooting in film is one of my favorite things because it takes me months to finish a roll, and then months more to take it to be developed. The antithesis of instant gratification makes the wait all the more wonderful. Here are some of my favorite snaps from the trip my father and I made to Harbert, MI back in early September. To view the full album, visit my flickr.
  Dad on the beach Untitled Tide Untitled Untitled Falatic's Meat Market Untitled

Thankful November 22: Healthcare

On Monday, I went to work feeling like a million bucks, and by the time 2:00 rolled around, I had a throbbing pain in my throat, as well as aches, and an inability to focus on anything other than how badly I wanted to be in bed eating ice cream and simultaneously sleeping. I dashed home, spontaneously bought cough syrup, took a bath, and was in bed by 7:30. Against my wishes, I woke up Tuesday feeling even worse - and decided to take a sick day. (Side note: I'm grateful to have paid time off!!).

Yesterday, my dad suggested I visit his "guy" in the West Loop to have a checkup since I wasn't really feeling much better. The doctor squeezed me in, and though they didn't accept my primary insurance, I was still able to be seen and treated promptly thanks to my dad's coverage through Obama Care! I was in and out of the office in under 30 minutes, with a diagnosis and a prescription. Also - a doctor's note proving that I should not be doing any food prep this holiday (SORRY). I'm on antibiotics for a ten days, and am already starting to feel better. I slept with ease last night knowing that I am incredibly lucky to be able to find the proper healthcare and treatment for my various ailments, regardless of their magnitude.

I am so thankful that I have healthcare. And I am thankful to be on the road to recovery.

21 November 2012

Thankful November 21: My Job

Purple and Gold for Knox

Today marks my one year anniversary of joining the Art Institute of Chicago as a full-time staff member. The last two and a half years have been immensely rewarding, and the last year in itself has been one of the most challenging and fruitful times of my life! From intern, to temp, to full-time - working here has been a dream come true. Not everyday is perfect, but most days are peachy. On a really rough day, all it takes is a walk through the galleries to turn my frown upside down.

I've worked with curators whose research I truly admire, I support a mission that I believe in, I have given gallery talks to student groups, held a samurai sword without gloves, helped photograph Jenny Holzer, showed Steve McQueen where the restrooms are, escorted Indian dancers and gospel choirs to performances, taken a drawing course at the School, and done countless research for my team. I am very comfortable and happy working here, and I count my blessings every day for having an enriching job that makes me feel warm and fuzzy!

So grateful for this museum and my place place within it.

20 November 2012

Thankful November 20: Anton At the DMV

Let me preface this post by saying that I was never one to make the brash statement "I hate the DMV." I never had any misgivings about waiting in long lines, about paperwork, about bureaucracy. Inefficiencies bother me, as do rude people, but I always try to walk into the DMV with good vibes and the knowledge that I will be walking out with everything I need taken care of.

That said - my Tuesday excursion to the DMV with my sister was an exercise in patience and a practice of good vibes. The Dalai Lama would have been in awe of the way we handled ourselves.

Mari's backpack was stolen from a downtown Starbuck's on Monday (don't even get me started on how upset this makes me), and Tuesday, though I was feeling sick and stayed home from work, we decided to devote to attaining a new form of identification for her. She is technically an Illinois resident, though she just moved to California, and all of her other forms of ID and proof of person are located in Cali. She is only here until Sunday, and needs an ID to board her return flight. All we had to prove that she is who she says she is, was her memorized social security number, a sob story, and tears to accompany.

Prior to arriving at the DMV, Mari made a series of phone calls asking the Secretary of State's Office if they ever make exceptions in rare cases like this when a backpack or wallet is stolen on a short visit. They said no, not really, that this situation sucks (yes they said sucks), and then they told her she should come and plead her case at their central offices. We walked in, waited in our first line, I made a reference to Beetlejuice, and then when we made it to the podium, were promptly told there was nothing to be done, that we were stuck, and then we were waived into a weird separate area for people in need of a supervisor ie a loophole. Anton, the supervisor, a young and handsome guy, far too young and handsome to be working in such a negative basement environment called us up, and after hearing Mari's story, immediately found a solution. We were instructed to go to her bank, and have her latest bank statement with a signature printed from their system. Upon our return, I was to sign a document as her witness that she is in fact my sister, Mari. My word and identification along with her bank statement were ample evidence that she is in fact her.

In the end, we found a very simple solution to the problem. We needed to rely on each other, as well as our patience to figure it out. We had some serious sister bonding, and actually walked out of the DMV feeling more upbeat about things. Had it not been for dear Anton, the shining beacon of hope at the DMV in the Thompson Center, we might not have had such a remarkable outcome. But we did it, she's back on the grid, and we are ecstatic!!

16 November 2012

This Weekend

-Eating an ungodly amount of ice cream in bed
-Watching "A Separation"
-Sexy underwear shopping with Moriah
-Birthday party for Ashley
-Mopping my floors

15 November 2012

Thankful November 15: Mornings


Ask any of my relatives, friends, roommates, or ex-boyfriends: I am NOT a morning person. Well, I wasn't, not until recently at least. In fact, I was the worst person to encounter on any given morning.  People have told me they feel as though they are walking on eggshells when I am around most mornings.

But in an effort to be the kind of person that I envision myself to be, I have turned my morning grumpiness into a glorious luxurious time to bask in the sunrise, enjoy my coffee, make delicious breakfasts, read the New Yorker, listen to records, go to the gym, take baths, and basically enjoy the dolce far niente (the sweetness of doing nothing). I think that taking the time for myself in the mornings has been a lifesaver for me. I start my day off calm, quiet, collected. I wake up, and say a little prayer thanking the universe for my existence. I make my bed, I read most days. I try to always have something in my stomach before heading to the train. I enjoy my commute. I smile inside and out. I think my ability to train myself to love my mornings has been one of the best things I've done for myself in the last year. Ya'll should try it!

I am so grateful for every morning I'm given. For every sunrise, fresh start, and new day.

14 November 2012

Thankful November 14: My Dad

Beer Robert

My dad and I have an interesting and ever-evolving relationship. He is currently my only family member residing in Chicago, and we have come to rely on each other in a new way out of this circumstance. He was the main supporter and motivator of my move in October. He was the one who figured out exactly what I needed to do when I lost my wallet. He was the one who came to my rescue when I needed a voice of reason back in March, and through dark times this summer. He has taken me to some of the most amazing restaurants (in the world!), and has singlehandedly educated me on why jazz is wonderful. He has exposed me to so much, ensured that I attained a good education, and that I was never wanting. He has always been a good provider. He is the only father I will really ever have, and I adore him more than he knows. 

I am grateful for my father.

13 November 2012

Thankful November 13: My Friends

A forgotten photo from Adam's graduation
Adam and I in Iowa
Old & new, close & faraway, best & acquaintances - I am so lucky to have some of the most wonderful friends in the world. To those of you who supported me through my parents separation and divorce, I want to thank you all. And to those of you who stayed up with me while I cried about various boys and boyfriends, thanks as well. For those of you who reached out to me when my grandfather passed this summer, thank you. For those of you who will dance and dance and dance with me in college dorm rooms, bars, and parties then, now, and in the future, thank you! You all know who you are, you all know you hold a special place in my heart. I don't know where I would be if there weren't people smiling back at me from across tables, laughing at my jokes, and telling me continually that everything really is okay.

Thank you my friends.

12 November 2012

Thankful November 12: My Cats


When my parents separated, we decided as a family that adopting a cat might be a nice addition to the household. My mom found Franki through an internal Craigslist-like database at her hospital, and before we knew it, this strange, moaning, goofy creature entered our life. It wasn't exactly the smoothest transition (he spent 36 hours inside of our walls his first weekend), but when we began feeding him delightful humanfood, he learned to love us. And he is one of the strangest animals I have ever had the pleasure of loving.

Rusty arrived just six months later, and again, took his time finding his role in the household. But the two cats have totally fallen in to a routine of fighting, playing, sleeping, eating, and just being weird Siamese cats - I can't imagine life without them.

11 November 2012

Thankful November 11: Water


75% of the world is composed of water, but of that gigantic amount, only 2.75% of it is freshwater, and some of that freshwater isn't the most liquid asset - literally, it's frozen in glaciers. But I happen to live in a part of the world where freshwater is in abundance. Where I take showers daily, guilt free. Where I can put my cup up to a faucet, then put that cup to my lips without worry of contaminants. Where I can turn on my shower, and expect hot water. Water is such a hot commodity, and I know that I take it for granted. I don't finish what's in my cup, I love taking baths, I take long showers - and what's worse is that I assume that I am entitled to all of these things. I will admit that have become better about not buying bottled water, but there is so much I can do to lessen my impact on the planet, starting with my relationship to good old H2O.

I am unbelievably grateful for freshwater!! Without it, I wouldn't exist!! Cheers!

10 November 2012

Thankful November 10: My Readers

Ya'll know who you are. Some of you comment regularly, some sporadically, some not at all. But to those of you who read what I write over here, I just want to give you a big THANKS!! I remember when I started blogging (eep 9 years ago), I had no idea what I was doing, and I mainly lamented about boys and high school without nearly as much panache as every Rookie gal out there. But here I am, still posting fairly consistent content, and loving every second of it.

To those of you who have been around for years, THANK YOU.
To those of you whom I have met IRL, THANK YOU.
To those of you who reached out to me in the last week or so with the kindest comments and warm thoughts, THANK YOU!!

Basically, what I'm trying to say is thank you for all of the warm fuzzies. I promise to keep posting. I do it for all of you, just as much as I do it for me. And I will continue to do it with as much honesty and good humor as I have been lately.


Sandy Caribou

09 November 2012

Thankful November 9: My Health

They say that you aren't grateful for your health until you are sick, and lord knows that's the truth.

I've been incredibly blessed health-wise not just as of late, but historically as well. I know I am young, and that I take my health for granted, but I just want to let it be known that I am lucky. My family is doing alright genetically speaking, and I have aced my physicals year in and year out since I was a kid. I do believe in preventative medicine - I get bloodwork done annually, as well as visiting my lady doctor the same time every year. I have good relationships with my dentist and doctor. I feel great, I look great, and I am so darn grateful to have a clean bill of health!

Everybody, if you haven't had a physical or had your teeth cleaned in longer than you can remember AND you have healthcare, I highly suggest treating yoself. This is you're life, live it well, live it right.

08 November 2012

Thankful November 8: My Apartment

As all of you know, I have been in the process of moving for the last month and a half. And while I'm not quite done, this place really is starting to feel homey. I like the sound and smell of my radiators, I enjoy taking baths in my tub. I love cooking in my kitchen, and I do kind of love that my bed is in my living room. I love that I have a place to rest my head after a long day, and that I can call it mine. That my bed is almost always made. I like that if I want, I can listen to Katy Perry on repeat, and no one will find that habit annoying or invasive. I love living alone. I am so lucky to have found this place.

I am grateful for my little studio.

Love this kitchen
Baby's first grown up bathroom
Currently crushing on my stove top.
Loving how these Unison pillows and throw look with my CB2 bedding

07 November 2012

Thankful November 7: My Dear Friend Lexie

Lexie and TLo

Because today is her 24th birthday. Because three weeks ago she celebrated her "one year anniversary with herself". Because she is educating our future leaders. Because she is incredibly funny. Because she always asks the right kind of questions. Because whales. Because she named her cat Kevin Furant. Because Kevin Furant has a twitter that periodically tweets at Kevin Durant. Because she mailed me twice this week. Because she gave me the best advice regarding my parents divorce. Because she gave me the best advice regarding my recent break-up. Because she is one of my best friends. Because today is her day, and everyday from here on out should be her day. Because I love her.

Lexie, I am so grateful to have you in my life. These are just a few of the reasons why, there are way to many to name. Thanks for commenting on my xanga all of those years ago, and choosing to come to Knox. Thanks for being one of the only people who kept in touch with me when I was studying abroad in Italy (I thought the world had forgotten about me). Thanks for being the best possible person you can be. Thanks for loaning me Tiny Beautiful Things, and turning me on to putting chocolate chips and blueberries in yogurt. Thanks for being a gracious hostess and fantastic friend. You are such a wonderful human!!! 

Thankful November 7: President Barack Obama

Image via Barack Obama Tumblr
 After an evening of nail biting, I am thankful that I am able to say that President Barack Obama is here to stay. Thanks to all of the volunteers, fundraisers, donors, supporters, and voters. We did it!! Gobama!

06 November 2012

Thankful November 6: My Right to Vote


In 2008 I voted absentee for Obama from my bedroom in Florence, Italy. On November 6, we stayed up until 4 in the morning in a hotel room along the Arno river waiting for the poll results to come in, and we partied for days and days to come. This election things are a bit different. I woke up at 6 this morning to hit my neighborhood polling place as soon as it opened. I filled in my boxes manually and I exercised one of my most important rights as an American citizen. Folks, if you haven't already voted, get out there and do it!

I am grateful for my right to vote!!!

05 November 2012

Thankful November 5: The Music Box Theater

I love the Music Box

The Music Box Theater is one of Chicago's gems. Whenever I need to disappear into a movie theater to feel all of my emotions at once, I feel the most at home in this space. In a moment of spontaneity tonight, I stopped by to see The Loneliest Planet. I discovered two things. 1) I know one of the producers of the film, and 2) I am friends with the person whose job it is to turn the stars on in the magical sparkling ceiling!!

I am grateful for The Music Box, how it seems to never change, and the wonderful programming they continue to offer.

04 November 2012

Thankful November 4: I Can Walk


This might seem basic, but I count my lucky stars every day I get out of bed and my feet hit the floor. I am so lucky to have a set of legs that not only function, but take me everywhere I need to go. This morning, I walked myself to the grocery store and walked myself home, and then I walked up and down my back stairs to do my laundry. I don't own a car, and don't plan on owning one anytime soon. I need my legs and feet to take me to my job, to my friends, to the movies - you name it, I need my legs to get me there. 

I'm grateful I have fully functioning legs and feet, and for my genuine love of walking.

Louis CK on SNL as Lincoln

Did ya'll see this? I'm still in stitches from how spot on it is. Can Louis CK just be the President, host every award show ever, and continue being the stand-up guy he is, always and forever?

03 November 2012

Thankful November 3: My Bed

Loving how these Unison pillows and throw look with my CB2 bedding

Sometimes I take for granted that I have always had a bed. That the nights I sleep on a couch, on a floor, under the stars, or in a tent are all by choice. That I have this unspoken confidence that every night I will have a place to rest my head and that it will be safe. In light of the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy (and all other recent life-altering disasters), it's hard not to be reminded of how lucky I am to have a bed, a home, a place that is mine. 

I'm grateful for my cozy sleepy nook.

02 November 2012

Thankful November 2: My Education

From the day I started kindergarten to the day I graduated from college, I have been blessed with an incredible education. I attended Decatur Classical school, the best magnet elementary in Chicago where I was taught to read well above my age level, where I had regular art and music courses in my curriculum, and where I was taught how to be a leader, work in a team, and think for myself. This program laid the very foundation for the kind of thinker and problem solver I am today. It also opened a lot of doors for me.

Following my time at Decatur, I spent a few months in a program at Taft high school in their pioneer 7th and 8th grade program. The curriculum was not a good fit, and my parents knowingly made the decision to transfer me to Hawthorne Scholastic Academy, another fantastic magnet where I finished up middle school. I took off campus courses at the Terra Museum, performed in plays, and enjoyed my advanced literature class. When I was accepted into Northside College Prep, I was reluctant to go, but again my parents urged me to attend with an open mind.

NCP, like Decatur, is the best magnet school in the state, consistently churning out students of great intellect with an incredibly high college acceptance rate. While I might not have entirely loved my time there (EW high school), I will say that my love of reading was born under the tutelage of Mr. Snow, and for that I will always be grateful. I participated in a handful of plays on and off campus, and took a fair amount of art classes - something that I'm sure I took for granted. I was also accepted into 6 out of 7 of the liberal arts colleges I applied to. But most importantly, I graduated.

And then came Knox. It was at Knox that I learned the statistic that only 2% of the world's population is college educated. Hearing that at the beginning of my sophomore year gave me the self-realization that I was incredibly fortunate to have made it this far. That I ended up at an amazing school, with the support of my family, and was going to do everything in my power to become a college graduate. I fulfilled all of my credits, rarely missed class, joined a sorority, presided over two clubs, studied, abroad, lived on campus, attained two grants, and completed thesis research for my major in art history. I made numerous friends and graduated with a new set of life skills that absolutely prepared me for my life after college. Instilled in me was and is a lifelong love of learning, a pursuit to continue growing every day.

For my 17 years of education in some of the best schools in the country, I am grateful.

This Weekend

-APRA-IL Conference 
-Unison Warehouse Sale
-Andrew Rafacz Gallery Opening
-SOFA Chicago
-Gym gym gym
-Bidding my Mom, Franki, and Rusty goodbye!

01 November 2012

Thankful November 1: My Family

Namely my family of origin. To say that the last two years have been difficult for my family would be a vast understatement. My parents separated in fall of 2010, and their divorce was only recently finalized. It's been a rocky road the last two years - but for the first time in a long time, I think we are all beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Everyone is moving forward with their lives in really positive ways, and I'm proud of how we have adjusted to the changes that we've gone through.

My little shrine of goodies
My little shrine of mementos 
My little brother, Ben, is soaring - literally! He recently attained his pilot's license at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University where he is currently a sophomore. He's also joined a fraternity, has made a group of amazing friends, and has an apartment that is completely swank. He's acing his courses, volunteering, flying, is a good boyfriend, a good brother, and a good son. I am so proud of him, it's kind of ridiculous.

So proud of my little brother! @benguttman can fly!!
Ben on a recent flight with my Mom
My older sister, Mari, is in her first year at Stanford Law School. That's right, she goes to Stanford, NBD. Though she was a bit nervous prior to starting her courses there, I can already tell she has transitioned into the life of a law student, and is doing well! I'm insanely proud of her for being accepted into one of the most prestigious programs in the country, for following her goals, and for doing everything in her power to succeed. Not to mention I will have free legal advice just a phone call away!

Wish I was at Stanford with Mari
A view of Mari's Stanford campus
My mom, Joan, bought a house in southern California and is fulfilling her dream of driving across the country in a camper! She leaves next Monday to begin her new life with her family of origin - and though I am grappling with having her move so far from me, I know she will be happy in her new digs. No more Chicago winters, just plenty of sunshine and beaches. Ya'll should follow her blog to get the inside scoop on her next adventure!

Mom's new digs
Mom's new digs
My dad, Robert, is also moving! He found the most darling place in the West Loop and if everything goes according to schedule, he will be moving mid-to-end of November. In addition to his big move, in the last few years my dad has successfully taken his company public, and foraged a strong path for the future of the company. He has no idea how much I look up to him - but I do. Way to go Dad!!

Oh you know, just reading about my dad in Crain's at work...
My Dad in Crain's earlier this year!
All in all, I'd say the last two years were very challenging for every single member of my family, but we wouldn't be where we are today had we not embraced and adapted to the challenges at hand. There are days when I just wish we could turn back the hands of time and all live under one roof, but it's nice knowing that I now have four different homes to choose from. It's a comfort knowing that in the near future I will have two lawyers and a pilot in the family, as well as a home near the surf and and a couch to crash on near San Francisco. My family has grown and changed in immeasurable ways, and I am so lucky to have each of these wonderful people in my life. Guttmans, you rock and I love you very much.