29 October 2013

Our Costume!


Here's the finished product of our Gallagher and a smashed watermelon costume. Folks kept asking me at the party how I made my costume, so I thought I'd share with you my "process" over here. Disclaimer, I can't sew - at least not with a sewing machine, so this was all pretty much made with a hot glue gun, scissors, and a shapeless dress from Forever21.

For my costume, I started with a green dress. I painted both the back and front with two kinds of fabric paint to create the striped pattern. Each side had to dry separately, so I had to budget time for this. The innards of the watermelon were four shades of tulle and pink painted papier mache pieces - all of which I glued on with a hot glue gun. The head piece was made of the same materials, glued onto a headband a la the Rookie Crown method. The seeds were made out of black sequins. All in all, it came out pretty awesome. Highly conceptual, yet cute, right?

For his costume, he went to American Apparel and bought a striped shirt and rainbow suspenders (goal: figure out how to work rainbow suspenders into a day-to-day look). The wig was from the party store, the hat, not even sure, and the mustache was all his (I colored it in with my eyeliner). The crown jewel of the costume was the sledgehammer - I made it out of a donut box from Longman & Eagle and a wrapping paper tube, which I papier mached and painted with acrylic paint. It was truly a labor of love!!

25 October 2013

This Weekend

You guyssssz it's the weekend, well almost... And it's a good weekend indeed! There is so much good stuff on my roster, I don't even know where to begin. Obligatory list, commence.

- Running home to paint a papier mache sledgehammer
- Adding tulle and sequins to my watermelon dress
- Seeing Desaparecidos at the Metro tonight
- Getting my haircut at Penny Lane... feeling like maybe I will go Rosemary's Baby
- Making treats for a Halloween party (mummy dogs, Halloween crispy cereal treats, my "famous" spinach dip, pumpkin hummus
- Attending said Halloween Party
- Recovering from said Halloween Party
- Still unpacking...
- Turkey dinner at my Dad's

And now, for some obligatory photos from Halloween's past...

That time I dressed as a Tamagochi
That time I dressed as Bjork in the swan dress and drew on my own Bjork tattoo in Sharpee
Cutest sisters ever.
J-Lo, Dorothy, ???,  Blink-182 Nurse
Bride and Rapunzel? Who knows. It was the 90s,
Tamagotchi and Andy Warhol. Duh.

23 October 2013

On Balance

Y'all, let me start with a confession: I love Eat, Pray, Love. The movie. I read the book last year, so I know the "source material" yet I wasn't the biggest fan of the literary original - but dear god, do I love watching this movie. I remember the first time I saw it, I was tickled at how much I liked it, fully anticipating that my Chungking Express loving, film-snob thesis writing self would find the movie deplorable, but no. I loved it, I love it, and I will probably always love it. The film is so easy to digest, full of light, color, and Italian carbs (not to mention plenty o' hotties).

But I digress. My confession to loving this movie is tangential really. A huge part of the book and movie is the quest for Elizabeth Gilbert to seek and find balance for herself. She spends her "journey" searching for "her word" and along the way, eats her weight in pizza and pasta, bones a hottie in Bali, and earns the nickname "Groceries" from the dad from Six Feet Under, yes I just gave you a really solid synopsis. But beyond the plot line, the search for balance is at the core of the journey - and I'll be damned if I didn't finish the movie yesterday night being like "You go girl!" and "I want a piece of that balance pie!"

Yesterday was the first day in a long-ass-time that I think I found that sort of balance. I went to work, I worked out (lunch crunch TM), I went to the grocery store, I made myself delicious chicken piccata, I spent a solid hour and a half working with my hands on Halloween costume things, and I managed to get some reading done before manufacturing Zzzs. I woke up this morning feeling satisfied by my super-human productivity, stoked about the leftover chicken piccata I will be eating for lunch, pumped that I am working toward training for my 5K, excited by how fabulous my costume looks, feeling on top of the world.

I guess my big light bulb above the head moment was that balance is attainable, and to take a chapter from Emma's book... I think I need to be working with my hands more. Whether that's painting, chopping, sculpting, cooking, drawing, what have you, I need to find the time to let my hands do what they will do.

18 October 2013

This Weekend

It's finally Friday, here's what's on the roster:

- Birthday party at Five Star Bar with my lovely Art Institute friends
- Jo-Ann Fabrics trip to get Halloween costume supplies
- Joffrey Ballet performance (spoiler alert: live snakes)
- Jogging around Palmer Square
- Sunday crafting project: Halloween edition
- "Gravity" with Nick and Andrew
- Making a pot of this
- Sprinkling nutritional yeast on everything that enters my mouth
- Finally truly finishing my MFK Fisher book
- Starting The Queer Art of Failure

16 October 2013

On Going Out and Not Going Overboard

As my previous post mentioned, I'm focusing on getting buff and working toward attainable health goals. I'm going to be covering a lot of broad bases over the course of the next year, but one of them is learning to control myself when going out to eat.

Let me preface everything I am about to say with this:
Chicago is amazing. Chicago restaurants are amazing. We have some of the best restaurants and chefs in the world.

Food trucks line the block next to my office on the daily. I live walking distance from two NY by the slice pizza places that I love. I just discovered the art of the late night post-drinking burrito. There are German beer halls opening up left and right in the city, some nearby my new apartment. Eataly is opening up a ten minute walk from my office building... dare I go on?

But in light of my decision to get "swoll", i.e. fit, healthy, and toned - I need to work on a bit of portion control, and build up the will power to not grab a bagel from Reno every time I forget to make coffee and breakfast. I want to spend the next year allowing myself to eat what I want, at the restaurants I want, but with control. Not always ordering an appetizer, or the dish made with heavy cream and pancetta. Skipping dessert, or maybe not ordering another round.

This past weekend was my first opportunity to experiment with fine-dining and pseudo-dieting, in the form of the ultimate challenge. Brunch at Publican. Publican is beautiful, everything on the menu rules, and they serve some of the best meats and cheeses in the city. But eating light/right at a restaurant like this is truly a challenge in itself. After reading and re-reading the menu multiple times, I found it nearly impossible to find a light, healthy, vegetarian option... and don't get me started on how badly I would have loved to drink a Bloody Mary. Determined to find something that was "better" for me than sausage and pork belly, I opted for the scramble, a cup of Joe, and plenty of Chicago's finest tap water. Yes, I did breakdown and try a bite of my dining companion's porky deliciousness, but I also made sure to order consciously.

Which brings me to this: I can dine out and have fun, while still eating right. It's up to me. I am in control of this, wherever I go.

This weekend at brunch was a big epiphany for me, and you know what, it was still delicious.


15 October 2013

As of Late (Cultural Maven / Socialite in the Making)

Hey y'all just popping in the humblebrag that the reason for my intermittent blogging is that I have quite literally been running around the city from event to event in the last week with barely a moment to powder my nose or catch my breath. In the last few weeks I've gone to the Lyric Opera opening night, First Fridays at the Museum of Contemporary Art (to mingle with Girl Group Chicago and the beautiful Rose), a VIP meet-n-greet with Scott Aukerman at the Comedy Bang! Bang! live show, the Art Institute of Chicago 40th Anniversary of the Auxiliary Board After Party - and this Saturday night Andrew is taking me to the Joffrey Ballet.

Wait, did I say humblebrag? Sorry, I meant to say cultural explosion! It's hard not to feel like the luckiest duck for the amazing opportunities I've been handed, especially living in this wonderful city. This blog is a wonderful way to track my wanderings as well as reflect on how gosh darn amazing my life is right now. Here are some snaps from my climb up the event ladder...

But before we get too ahead of ourselves here, I'd like to share with you some other big news... drum roll please... that between hopping from event to event, I have decided to spend the next year focusing on my health and wellness! You must be scratching your head wondering how on earth is she doing this staying up late guzzling champagne? And that my friends is where I tell you that I have signed up to work out with a personal trainer for the next year. Once a week, learning new exercises and stretches, pushing myself to my limit and surpassing it. I signed up for a 5K yesterday, I've been cooking more, going to the gym on my lunch breaks and after work, and am really trying my darndest to be the happiest and healthiest version of myself I can be. This blog may or may not act as a way to reflect on my workouts and how I'm feeling as I go through this transformation. Oh, and to everyone whom I've already told, thank you for your support and encouragement! I got this.

You have a good day, now.

11 October 2013

This Weekend

Welp, we made it to the weekend (woohoo!), and this is how I feel now that the weekend is here.

My "major" plans include the following:

- Jogging / Walking at least two miles
- Unpacking (goal, finish ALL of my boxes)
- Kitchen organization!!!
- Laundry
- Brunch with Dad and Andrew at Publican
- Picking up my feminism book at my neighborhood library
- Double date after party at the Art Institute
- Make a giant pot of Cuban black beans
- Teaching myself to use my rice cooker

And now for my random thoughts on this week:

  • This story is just lovely. In light of the government shutdown, it's nice to know some people love our country enough to see through the BS and take care of our monuments. Raise the roof to this dude!
  • Andrew and I made a non-vegan version of this (light on the parm cheese), and it was one of the most delicious, cheap, and filling things I have eaten in ages.
  • What are your thoughts on the guy who planned his wife's surprise/dream wedding all from her Pinterest? 
  • Who wants to see Gravity as badly as I do?
  • Everyone should stop what they're doing and watch the new documentary Blackfish - it was stunning and thought provoking.

10 October 2013

The Rook Nook


Well, the move went as well as can be for as complicated as it was, and I am glad that it is over with! Though we are still very much in unpacking mode, it's starting to feel homey and comfortable in our place. I walked into the front room the other day, and was just charmed by how cozy our nook is - don't you just want to drink coffee and read the New Yorker from this perch?

For all my Chicago friends, we will be hosting some sort of a housewarming. But before that can happen, we will probably be doing some painting, shelf installation, and kitchen organization. More photos to come soon, I promise! But dang, isn't it just as dreamy as I said it was?

09 October 2013

Phantom(s) of the Opera

Hotties at the opera! Untitled

Upon entering a raffle at my new company, I was struck with a bout of beginner's luck - winning two free tickets to the opening night of "Otello" at the Lyric Opera Chicago. This past Saturday night, Andrew and I donned our best attire, pushed our way through thunder and lightening, to our gorgeous mezzanine seats.

Can I just declare my love for the Lyric Opera house? Its rich history and gorgeous architecture, I am drooling thinking about it. The acoustics cannot be beat, and then there's the plush red velvet,glittering gold gilding, beautiful hand painted detailing - the entire experience truly lived up to my favorite art history term, as a gesamptkunstwerk - a total work of art. From start to finish, our senses were stimulated, the lush beauty of the building, the sounds of the orchestra and singers, taking in the costumes of both the guests and performers alike. We noshed on little treats at intermission, washing them down with champagne, and were even photographed by an event photographer! Having spent years working events for the museum, it was such a treat to be on the other side, as a guest. I almost wanted to announce that I have arrived!

A thousand thank yous to my office and to the Lyric for making this opportunity possible. I know my handsome date and I will not forget this wonderful experience! Grazie mille!

03 October 2013

This Weekend

- Girl Group Chicago / First Fridays at the MCA
- Opening night of Othello at the Lyric Opera with my boo
- Forever unpacking
- Stocking my fridge and pantry
- Nipping from our bottle of Scofflaw gin
- Maybe... even... blogging a real post???
- More pizza by the slice

My messy boxes existence, as of right now.