The Birthday Bowl

THE GREATEST HOLIDAY OF THEM ALL!!! My birthday ya’ll!! (I’m calling this weekend “The Birthday Bowl” as I think people who have to share a birthday weekend with the Super Bowl should get some recognition too.)
My birthday was actually on Friday, but I was too busy celebrating to post about it.
Also- Friday was my Aunt/Birthday Twin’s birthday as well. So, that being said- I thought we should do a special birthday feature!
I asked my lovely Auntie Luisa 12 questions (because 20 is cliche) and these are her answers! (My questions are in bold, her answers are below, and my commentary is in italics)

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What has been your favorite birthday?
I’ll have to say Sweet 16. You’ll see why when I answer the next question.

Have you ever had someone throw a surprise party for you? If so, Did you have any idea what was going on?
Grandpa planned an elaborate surprise Sweet 16 birthday party for me.

No. So here’s the deal, my parents were divorced and my dad decided to take me out for my birthday (what 16-year old wants to spend their birthday with their father?!) We went to the Ramada Inn in Schiller Park where he worked and sat in the dining room. I just ordered a Coke and was literally sulking (being a brat!). He asked me to come to the banquet room with him as there was an “issue” (so his restaurant staff came to our table and told him) and he didn’t want to leave me sitting there by myself. Of course when we walked into the room, it was a surprise party for me! He had two busloads of my friends from high school driven from the Arlington Heights library to the Ramada. We had a magician, a hypnotist, a band and dancing. IT…. WAS….. AWESOME! You know Grandpa knew how to throw a party! (I asked this because I am of the opinion that everyone should have a surprise party throw for them at least once in their life. It is such a cool/surreal feeling!
PS-My grandpa was THE MAN when it came to party throwing. He worked pretty much his whole life in the restaurant/banquet/event coordination business so he knew what he was doing. Seriously, who has a hypnotist at their birthday?! I totally would have messed with people.) 

Do you like having a winter birthday?
Did I have a choice?! (I asked this because I HATE having a winter birthday! It’s cold and you can’t do anything. I mean honestly, an “Ice skating party”- that’s lame.)

What did you do this year for your birthday?
At work, I got a flower delivery with a Happy Birthday balloon attached from Marketing and HR departments that I report to along with a fruit tray and yogurt dip. Brownies are coming Monday. At home, went out for a steak dinner with my wonderful husband, and my sons Chris & Mike, and Grandma Irene and Uncle Frank. And for dessert we had Portillo’s chocolate cake with a scoop of Premium Vanilla Ice Cream at home as my birthday cake. It was a great day. (All I have to say here is PORTILLOS CHOCOLATE CAKE- if you’ve never had it you need to get your life together.)

What is the most memorable gift you’ve gotten for your birthday?
A diamond tennis bracelet from Uncle Joe. (DIAMONDS- a girls best friend, amiright?!)

On a scale of one to ‘Sending Justin Bieber back to Canada’ (that means you were really, really excited) Just how thrilled were you to find out we were going to be birthday twins?! 10! It’s a special bond — between me and you. (So, clearly she means “Send Justin Bieber back to Canada” and not 10- and that’s pretty awesome!)

Onto non-birthday related questions:
What’s one of the best pieces of advice you’ve gotten and still live by/think of often?
Being from a “short” family, the saying, “It’s your attitude, not your altitude that counts most.” More recently, my favorite is, “God’s got this”.

How do you feel about Punxsutawney Phil seeing his shadow this morning? (P.S.- he saw his shadow if you didn’t know, and that means at least 6 more weeks of winter- BOOO!!!)
Not too pleased. Fortunately me, I’m getting out of dodge in about a week to a much warmer client — can you say FLORIDA. (JEALOUS)

Who are you rooting for in the Super Bowl?
Bears aren’t in it so not that invested, but I think Seattle will win. Best defense always wins. (Smart lady over here)

Have you set any new years resolutions? If so, what is one of them, and how is it going? (Now that we’re a month in it seems like a good time to check in on those!)
I set three resolutions: 1. Lose weight – not going so good so far — too many birthday celebrations. Now that that’s over, I’m on it.  (Me too & me too)
2. Get to work on time (8:00 a.m.) every day. Not good again – made it only once this year so far.  (I mean come on, who is ever at work on time, there’s like a 10 minute grace period I think….right???)
3. Wear lipstick every day – protects your lips in winter – this one is working! (Got your priorities in order on this one! I am really getting in touch with my lipstick game as of late too)
1 out of 3 – time to work on the other two with the new month upon us.
(we got 11 months to get back on track!)

What’s the best movie and/or book you’ve seen/read in the last 6 months?
I’m reading “Managing Up” by Rosanne Badowski – she was the assistant to Jack Welch, CEO of GE during it’s greatest growth in history. It is written in a down-to-earth, no-nonsense style with takeaways at the end of each chapter that are very helpful and make a lot of sense. (So sophisticated sounding!!)

What are you most looking forward to in 2014?
Brittany’s graduation from Residency in June and getting our condo construction fully completed and finally settling into a comfortable routine. (My cousin is working on becoming a pediatrician and taking over the world. Round of applause for her.) 

Have any good stories/answers to these questions?! Let’s hear ’em, leave a comment!

Also, FYI Kerry Washington and Justin Timberlake are our birthday twins too. So I’m going to go on a limb here and say some very good looking, talented, and classy people are born on January 31st.


Also something else very cool happened this week- my wedding was featured on Style Me Pretty! Our photographer Michael Novo submitted it and it looks great! Check it out here and here. PS- Every time I see my wedding pictures I want to go back and do it again. BEST.DAY.EVER. Here’s a taste:

PicMonkey Collage(Photos courtesy of Michael Novo Photography – the best wedding photographer around!)

As you just read, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, guys. So while having a very lovely and enjoyable birthday weekend (er, Birthday Bowl) it has now been poopooed all over by this little runty groundhog. Honestly, who does he think he is to snow on my parade like this?! We have had the most Polar Vortex-y winter I can recall, and now he sees his damn shadow and now 6 more weeks of this unbearable cold. MAKE.IT.STOP.

So let’s all have a moment of honesty here- I don’t care about the Super Bowl because my team isn’t in it (just like my Aunt!). And just like everyone else whose team isn’t in it- if we’re all being honest. BUT I am excited for commercials, and of course the greatest bowl of them all- THE PUPPY BOWL!!!!
How about you guys, what do you look forward to most when your team isn’t in the Superbowl?

Cheers on this Super Birthday Bowl Sunday…Happy Birthday weekend to all the birthday people out there!! Also, for some good entertainment follow me, Chicago Blogger Network and their members for some good old fashioned live tweeting. #CBNBowl.

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PS- I want to hear from ya’ll!!! Who are you rooting for today -in both the Football and the Puppy Bowl?

The Pinterest Minefield

***First let me put a disclaimer out there- this is purely meant to be funny- don’t get your undee’s in a bundle. I’m mean no harm, and love seeing people’s ideas on Pinterest. Sorry there is no photo cred- none of them had original sources/watermarks when I found them on pinterest.***

So I was being very productive at work scrolling through Pinterest today and saw this photo that made me laugh and than shudder.

pinterestport

But it got me thinking about the funny photos you see on Pinterest- more specifically, the ones that seem weird/self-explanatory/or just bad ideas in general.

COME ON YOU GUYS!! I want to know who in the family was like; “I have the best family portrait idea. First we all get naked, and then we lay on each other. It won’t be weird and uncomfortable as we do it. It will look awesome in that antique frame grandma gave us. We will want to show all our friends how we managed to scar all of our children in one photo-shoot cute we are as a family- such togetherness.”

Honestly, I feel the worst for that little guy in the front- he doesn’t even know what the heck is going on. This photo is going to haunt him when he’s old enough to get how absolutely weird their family photo is. Also, I wonder what the next family photo idea was for these guys…er, maybe its best we don’t know.

MOVING ON…Can we talk about this? Please? Unless you have 12 children who all compete like Olympians in sports/dance or get real serious about dodge ball day in gym class- and who also need more than one refillable/reusable water bottle a day…who really has THIS MANY water bottles? This is bananas. I got a DIY: Water bottle storage Idea for ya: It’s called the garbage can/donation center. Improves storage problems by 87%.

water

I’m sorry- but this is about as good of a DIY Project as making a box of Kraft Mac & Cheese is a gourmet meal. THIS IS NOT A BOOKMARK, I REPEAT- this is not a bookmark. That’s a paint sample. Please stop encouraging my creativity then throwing this nonsense at me Pinterest. It offends my sensibilities (apparently, I’m Jane Austen today…me and all my sensibilities).

books

Split level flooring…. First of all- this is a lovely photo. Let’s start with a compliment. Now, let’s get honest with each other for a moment. That’s a pallet on the ground with plywood over it. That’s NOT split level- that’s about 1,000 stubbed toes and curses, right there.

split level

You know what happens when you paint PVC pipe? IT STILL LOOKS LIKE PVC PIPE (especially when you don’t do the inside of it). Come on guys- be like the rest of us and let those cords drive you crazy and get all knotted up. Throw that blow dryer into a drawer it hardly fits in and call it a day.

PVC

I think this one takes the cake- Those are “fire starters”- wanna know what they’re made out of? You don’t? Well I’m tellin’ ya anyways. DRYER LINT (Belly button lint will suffice in a jam) AND PETROLEUM JELLY.

fires
STOP. Probably two of the grossest things brought together. Can you imagine what the process for making those is?

Step 1: Go to laundry room, grab all that icky lint from the lint trap and make cute little piles with it.
Step 2: Grab a handful of Petroleum Jelly and mix it with those cute little piles you made. Your hands may get a little greasy and linty- but don’t worry! You’ve just made your first fire starter.
I just want to tap this person on the shoulder- “HEY, HEY YOU! Someone beat you to this whole “fire starter” idea- it’s called a match & newspaper. Works wonders.”

The high-waisted Camel toe pant. It’s going to be all the rage in 2014. Seriously, how do some designers get away with selling us the things they come up with? I can’t even say anything more about this- I don’t even know where to begin.

stahppp

 

Have you seen any funny pins like this? Have you ever attempted a Pinterest project that went horribly wrong?! If so, I wanna hear about it!

We have Corndogs here…

Please watch this video before you do anything else today. Also, do it before you read the rest of this post otherwise it won’t really make much sense.

I stole this from my sister– she posted it earlier on Facebook and I started to write down quotes from it- and ended up basically transcribing the whole thing. So- I’m going to go point by point on this.

“Some days gross things will happen- some days awesome things will happen”
PREACH CHILD, PREACH. Let’s talk about gross for a small second. Gross is the pile of laundry that I really needed to get to on Monday when I had the day off, but instead pretended it didn’t exist. Gross is the amount of time I can waste on the internet, or lying around instead of going to the gym, or cleaning, or being any kind of productive.
Awesome, let’s talk about that for a hot second. Awesome was Monday when I hung out with my sisters and little niece and nephews for the morning. They are great. I discover the older I get how much work kids are, and how that is so not where I’m at. I like to sleep through the night. But getting to see them, and watch them grow up is so awesome. Watching them go from little smelly cry face bundles to walking talking humans is pretty hysterical.

“Some days you’ll get ice cream and some days you won’t.”
If any of you follows me in other corners of the internet you will find that I was seriously craving ice cream. I will blame this on PMS (it was real crazy-I started crying at a MMA show Adam & I were watching for two seconds because they interviewed the fighter’s wife and she said something really sweet/corny)- but really I just think ice cream is one of God’s ways of making it up to us for all the screwed up stuff that happens in life. Either way, I got my ice cream.

ice cream

“Some days your kite flies high, other days it gets stuck in a tree.”
I think that accurately sums up my week. In fact, I think it could sum up one day of my week- one minute my kite is flyin’ high- higher than everyone else’s. And the next minute it is hopelessly stuck in a tree. Damn it, I’ve never been good with kites. Me and physics just are not the best combination. Ever.

“There are plenty of reasons to dance”
Mainly, because it’s Friday. Second, because I finally got to catch up on all my blog reading, and am FINALLY posting (for the first time this week- eek!). Also, because I heard this song (see below) today and am linking up with Whitney for Back That Azz Up Friday. Pure. GOLD.

“You’ll meet lots of people here- some will be nice and some won’t be.”
Again I say, ‘AMEN CHILD’. People are insane. On my drive to work on Tuesday I saw this guy two cars ahead of me- get out of his car (at a very green light) so he could proceed to yell at, and block the car behind him- until he was finished with his rant. I have no clue what terrible road atrocity she committed to deserve this extreme wrath- but man, it must’ve been good to get this guy out of his car, at a green light, in single digit weather, with very slippery roads so he could yell at her for a few seconds. I bet it felt really good and was totally worth it (lots of sarcasm there).
One of my New Year’s Changes I wanted to make this year was trying to be nicer. I am a really blunt/bold and sometimes thoughtless person- and I want to work on that. I feel like there are a lot of really simple ways to be nice to people and we just get busy or are too busy thinking of ourselves we forget to be nice. It’s really wild.

“Being a person is hard sometimes. We should high five people just for getting out of bed”
Wednesday was a 13+ hour work day for me. Again if you follow me on any other social media outlets you probably saw this photo:

papers

So basically, that giant pile of paper which took 5.5 hours to copy was for a Committee meeting. Well, it takes a long time to sort (or as those of us in the administrative world like to call it- “collate”) that much paper. And I ran out of time before the meeting started. Then people came and wanted to help, and it turned into one giant clusterfuck. Too many cooks in the kitchen, people. You know what’s funny about that situation- you can’t tell that to people as its happening. It’s like a slap in the face- ‘Thanks for your help, but you’re just ruining things and making my life hell’. You can’t say that. Not to your committee members. All of this made me look incredibly incompetent and like a total train wreck-I HATE that more than just about anything. So needless to say- I needed a high five- because Thursday I did not want to get out of bed and go to work to deal with the crash site from said train wreck. Tell me you needed (and hopefully got, a highfive this week- come on, I can’t be the only one! Really do tell me about it- comments section people!)

“Just treat everybody like it’s their birthday, even if they don’t deserve it.”
My birthday is in exactly a week- just a reminder…so, you know, let’s celebrate. Also, this is really solid advice. Also- this is really hard advice. Is it over the line to say there’s a couple people I wouldn’t mind celebrating them breaking a leg or something? Just me…ok….on to the next point!

“You’re gunna do a lot but nobody knows exactly how much- so enjoy it”
Ugh- I posted about this earlier– I have no clue what I want to do and taking time to figure it out just feels like a waste of time. Anyone else feel like this? But Kid President knows what’s up. I’ll be over here trying to enjoy it.

“You’re made from love, to be love, to spread love. Love is always louder- even if hate has a bullhorn, LOVE IS LOUDER! So let your life be loud. Let’s shout to the world; ‘Things can be better; it’s okay about the mess ups! [CORNDOGS RULE]” (PS- he’s right, they do.)
I don’t even know where or how to expand on this. Except to say LOVE IS ALWAYS LOUDER. I have to keep telling myself that all.the.damn.time.

“I’m really glad you’re here- we don’t say that enough to each other”
I am truly, really glad YOU are HERE. I love knowing people like/read this stuff. Even if it is just my sisters to check my spelling/grammar. I posted this photo last week- it was really awesome to see all the international and domestic love goin’ on here. So thanks for that.

maps

And finally-

“YOU’RE GUNNA SMELL GREAT!!!”
Get out there and enjoy this Friday night people! Whatever that means for you- go on with your bad self and smell great. Kick some ass. Have at it. I promise I will not say it, I promise I will not say it….because YOLO!!!

Say-Yolo-Again

Happy Friday Kids!!!

(PS- Grooveshark and WordPress are not friends & that’s why my link looks like that- still works though!)
 

 

 

 

 

 

Liebster Award

Well this is pretty stinkin’ cool! Jessy over at The Artsy Cajun has nominated me for the Liebster Award!

blogger-image--1956489954

This award is for newer blogs/bloggers who are nominated by another blogger who enjoys your posts (wowza! that’s cool- people like mah stuffs!) You post 11 random facts, and then answer 11 questions your nominator has given you. You then ask 11 questions of 11 other new bloggers and they give thier random facts! Sort of ‘pay-it-forwardy’ and I love that.

So, without further ado-

11 Facts about me:

  1. I hate the cold (I was writing this as it was -17 in Chicago)
  2. I live about an hour from work, so I drive 82 miles (round trip) a day which has taught me that I am a very passionate and intense driver who likes to give a lot of constructive criticism. AKA- I have road rage.
  3. It took about two months to think of a name for my blog.
  4. If my husband would allow it I would be a crazy dog lady with like 27 dogs.
  5. I am a clearance/sale rack addict. I hate paying full price for things…so maybe I’m a little cheap too. Ha.
  6. I grew up in a round house in the woods with a fireman’s pole in it. Right? I know…weird.
  7. ‘The Five People You Meet In Heaven’ is probably my favorite book, ‘Great Gatsby’ coming in at number 2.
  8. When I was a kid I thought it was called the “Heimlich Remover” rather than the “Heimlich Maneuver”. (I still think my idea is better- I mean it makes sense, you’re removing something from someone’s windpipe). Also, I thought it was Noah’s Zark…I didn’t have a speech problem but apparently I had hearing issues…
  9. I’ve never broken a bone or been in the hospital for anything. (Knock on wood)
  10. Instagram is my favorite app. (Follow me! Daniellejflikkema)
  11. I have a giant lady crushes on Jennifer Lawrence, Emma Stone, and Mila Kunis. AND I HAVE NO SHAME IN MYLADY CRUSH GAME.

 

My 11 question’s to answer:

  1. What is your driving force in blogging? I’m can’t shut up. Kidding…well, sort of but not really. Initially, it was a professor I had in college. I was doing an internship and had to write her a few times a week giving updates of what happened and how my time was being spent there. She said the things/the way I wrote made her crack up and that I should blog. I was like; “Ah, yea whatever..” But then my husband started telling me repeatedly I should start one too-which I think he suggested thinking maybe I would stop talking his ear off and write about it instead. Which seems to work a bit! However, I would say my curiosity, my imagination, and desire to write.
  1. Dogs or cats? DOGS. Erryydayyy allll day.
  1. What is your favorite, go-to bible verse? That’s hard being that I love quotes as much as I do, but I would have to say Esther 4:16- I actually have a tattoo of the end of the verse where she says; “If I perish, I perish” (background: Esther was going before the king uninvited which in that time was a crime which could be punished by death. She was pleading for the lives of the Jews who were set to be executed.) I think this inspires me because it gives me courage to live. It’s kind of a reminder- “What’s the worst that could happen” type of thing.
  1. How has blogging changed your life? So far nothing too extreme- but I am a newbie so we’ll see what 2014 has to bring. What I would say though is it makes me think more or consider what’s going on in my life- as I’m doing an everyday project or enjoying an event with friends I think- ‘How can I write about this’ or ‘Don’t forget to take pictures of this for the blog’ etc.
  1. What is your favorite down-time activity? Shopping, going out to eat (I am SUCH a foodie), or laying around and watching crime shows.
  1. When you think back, what is your favorite childhood memory? Hmmm, first one that comes to mind is when we lived in this house with a HUGE yard and spending summer days playing outside from when the sun came up until my parents dragged me back inside for dinner. Not necessarily a specific memory, just a time in my life I am especially fond of.
  1. How do you balance work, blog, and family? Well my job is not exactly the most demanding so I can blog at work (SHHH!!! Don’t tell my boss!) so I kind of double time. Family/friend time is always for the weekends! I try to make sure we meet up with at least one of our friends/family members a week/weekend.
  1. Favorite song at the moment? That’s a tie between ‘Follow Your Arrow’ by Kacey Musgraves or ‘Do I Wanna Know’ by the Arctic Monkeys…I know, polar opposites. Typical.
  1. Describe your perfect day? I’m gunna go all corny on ya here- my wedding day was perfect. Almost all of my favorite people in the world in attendance for the best celebration ever. I was in tears at the end of the night because I didn’t want it to end. But if we’re talking a day I haven’t actually lived already I would say a day on vacation, by the ocean- with some of my favorite people.
  2. Where would you like to travel next? Hmmm- International: Greece Domestic: New Orleans or Nashville.
  3. What is your best piece of advise for new bloggers? Network! I am still learning this myself, but I feel like the biggest help in learning about blogging and connecting is talking to other bloggers, reading their stuff, and seeing what kinds of groups, link ups, etc. are out there.

 

My 11 Questions for Nominees:

1: Did you set any New Year’s Resolutions? If so what is your main one and how has it been going so far?

2: What is your favorite quote?

3: Besides blogging, do you have any hobbies?

4: What is most challenging to you about blogging?

5: What would your dream job be (education, availability, or expertise aside)?

6: One thing that can make you smile/laugh instantly?

7: Favorite place to shop?

8: Current book, T.V. show, or movie obsession?

9: What’s your favorite style/fashion trend right now?

10: If you could meet one person (living or dead) who would it be and why?

11: What are you most looking forward to in 2014?

MyNominees:
Abby  @ Always, Abby
Lauren @ Wifestyles
Minttu @ Iammrsk
Nycole @ Thesavvybrunette
Leanne @ Younameitevents
Val @ Chickenscratch
Miranda @ Hurryupandwait
Jessica @ 26andnotcounting
Alexia @ AlexiaCurtis
Chelsea @ LLiaBC
Cait @ FierceFabulousandFit

The Authoritative Guide on How to be a Friend

There are no instruction manuals for life, right? Wrong. I have taken it upon myself to painstakingly handle this great undertaking. Here are my findings on friendship (and by “my findings” I really mean my main points strung together by what I have deemed to be meaningful quotes by people who if they were still alive and/or had blogs would be a lot more popular than myself).

Step one: BE NICE. Simple right? You would think so, wouldn’t you?! Practice that whole ‘Golden Rule’ thing (if you don’t know what the Golden Rule is- scratch out step one above- and replace it with “Go back to third grade, learn ‘Golden Rule’”- then renumber all following steps). Put your friend(s) first. Paramahansa Yogananda (a 19th Century Yogi, who wrote the book: Autobiography of a Yogi and is credited with introducing the Western world to Yoga through said book) said; “There is a magnet in your heart that will attract true friends. That magnet is unselfishness, thinking of others first; when you learn to live for others, they will live for you.” I like this quote. But I don’t totally agree with it. You don’t always attract nice people because you are nice. Sometimes, people come to you to take advantage because they KNOW you are nice. But that is no reason to stop being nice (whomp, whomp).

After all, “The only way to have a friend is to be one.” Ralph Waldo Emerson said that. I think he’s right, by the way. I mean he did write Self Reliance and anyone who knows enough about that topic really must know something about life- amiright?

Sometimes, being nice is just listening, sometimes it’s more.  But it’s simply doing what you would expect someone who cares about you to do. “A friendship can weather most things and thrive in thin soil; but it needs a little mulch of letters and phone calls and small, silly presents every so often – just to save it from drying out completely.” – Pam Brown (I don’t actually know who Pam Brown is, but she sounds like a nice soccer mom/housewife who makes really good chocolate chip cookies and has those stick figure family members on the back of her Honda Odyssey). PS – what is up with those damn things? I do not care how many cats/kids you have, honestly stop doing it people.

minivan

Basically, the point I’m getting at here is just don’t be mean. “It is only the great hearted who can be true friends. The mean and cowardly, can never know what true friendship means.” (Charles Kingsley) Which brings me to my next point.

Step two: Don’t be a coward. Say how you really feel. Your friends should respect you as an individual enough to care about, respect, and value your opinion- if they don’t, you may want to start taking applications for new ones. Say how you really feel. Yes, I know I already said that- but it’s important. Friends want the absolute truth- even if/when it hurts. I know for myself, I want someone who values an alternate perspective, and challenges me to have an open mind, and think beyond my own opinion. So call it like it is – you don’t have to be nasty, but you have to be honest. Don’t just agree for the sake of agreement. If you disagree on a topic – voice it, if you need to tell them they were outta line – say it. As Plutarch said; “I don’t need a friend who changes when I change and who nods when I nod; my shadow does that much better.” I don’t want a replica of myself- I want someone who is a mirror to show me how I really am, and a sounding board for when I don’t know how I really should be, and a referee for when how I really am is out of bounds. But now we’re just getting too deep and sentimental for a blog post.

Step Three: Don’t Be Selfish: “A true friend is someone who is there for you when he’d rather be anywhere else.” The great Len Wein said that (I don’t even really know who Len Wien is, but his last name makes me want to call him Weiner. Sorry, inappropriate. If you click his name up there it’ll tell you who he is). But whoever and wherever in the world Len Wien is (or Carmen San Diego for that matter (or Waldo)) – he is right.

tree
The guy in the middle is Len Wein – if you don’t know who the others are, you’re losing at life. Is it me or does he look like a mixture of Carmen and Waldo???

True friends do a lot of really annoying crap for their friends they don’t really want to do. Like getting into a bar fight because a lesbian wants to take your friend home. Oh, not normal? Ok new example…Like listen to them compulsively talk about their new boyfriend, or listen with interest as they repeat stories when you’ve already heard them like four times (I do this to my friends pretty frequently- sorry guys), holding their hair back when they’re puking, or driving them all over because they lost their license for three months because they got 2 speeding tickets within three months when they were under twenty-one (whaaaattt?). Being thought of by someone beyond their own skin is a really powerful thing. It shows not only that they are humble, gracious and mature enough to think of you first or above themselves it shows they are willing. That speaks louder than any words can say.

Step Four: Stick Around. No one wants a part time friend. No one wants someone who only wants them when it’s easy or fits into their schedule (I value the friend who for me finds time on his calendar, but I cherish the friend who for me does not consult his calendar.- Robert Brault– word up man). Friendship is like any other relationship- it takes time, work, effort, energy, love, all that warm-gooey-soft stuff. But when the going gets tough- don’t bail. That’s what some people may call “whack”. “The friend in my adversity I shall always cherish most. I can better trust those who helped to relieve the gloom of my dark hours than those who are so ready to enjoy with me the sunshine of my prosperity.” (Ulysses S. Grant, the badass). Life is all fun n games…till someone loses that eye. Then what- then you need your friends. The dark days are the days you want to know you got the real deal. Like Oprah says, “Everyone wants to ride with you in the limo [cab], but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.” (Emphasis added to bring quote into middle class, non-millionaire terms.) Let’s be real here- Oprah probably knows a thing or two about fake friends.

Step Five: Be Yourself. Your friends are your friends for a reason. They like you. Plain and simple. Ultimately, it’s really hard to be somebody you’re not- especially for a long time- like the length of a friendship (which is supposed to be a long time, unless of course someone is pretending to be someone they are not- that usually speeds up the life cycle of a friendship). Elbert Hubbard put in nicely when he said; “Never explain – your friends do not need it and your enemies will not believe you anyway.” If your friend is your friend you want to be able to be real and know they will accept who you are.*

*Disclaimer- if who you are is a giant rabid monster- you might want to work on that. Probably no one wants to be your friend.

Finally, I don’t really think this is a step- just a sum total of things and a little common sense.
JUST TRY.  Just try to be a good friend. If you follow these steps it’s really hard to not make or keep friendships. I’m not saying my steps are foolproof, I’m just saying what I think most people are like, and if you agree- that means you’re probably like that too. And if we all can agree- we all can say we all like when someone is nice to us, honest with us, sticks around with/for us, thinks of us first, and is genuine.

“Friendship… is not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.” ~Muhammad Ali

Got any other great friendship quotes (I told you I was a quote junkie)? Any friendship peeves? Funny stories? Hit me with ’em!

Sip Happens & other randomness

Guys- I’m going places here with this bloggy stuff. Look- I bought a folder and a notebook and planner all from Target, ‘cuz I mean really, where else do you buy stuff?

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(ps- isn’t that folder the cutest?!)

 

I would die for one of these– but alas, they are expensive and I am poor. So overrated being an adult with a budget and all…honestly.

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Ok, back on track. Organized. I’m getting organized. The irony- my post goes off the rails as I’m talking about getting organized.

Earlier this week if you follow me on Instagram you probably saw my post about trying out some weekly meal planning. So far it’s going well- although making more leftovers than I originally expected. Any suggestions my fellow meal planners? We plan to do a leftovers night on Sunday, but I’m thinking it’s just too much. 

Finally, what I’m most excited about right now is this link-up/excuse to have a mini party. What goes on is this: the lovely ladies hosting this link-up have chosen a wine based on it’s label (you know the whole, “wine by it’s cover thing…”). We get together and taste this wine (along with one or two others which I select) and give our insights on it. Later in the month I will link-up with these ladies and write about what we thought of their selection and ours!

Erin at Living in Yellow is the guest host and has chosen; ’14 Hands Hot to Trot’ which is a red blend. For more info on this link-up- click the link below!

If you’re interested in joining the party I’ll be hosting, just email me for more details!

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Happy {almost} Friday kids!!!

 

 

 

 

How to eat like the French

So earlier this summer I planned what was supposed to be a surprise dinner party for one of my bests. She’s too dang sneaky and figured it out. However, the theme itself and the menu turned out great! We all dressed up, and even bought a dress for the birthday girl so it was waiting when she came over (she thought she was coming for girls night…low key, yoga pants kind of thing…rightttt)

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Her birthday was in September when Chicago weather is still iffy and can be a nice Indian Summer type night or a chilly night resembling nothing of summer. We gambled that it would be nice out and it was. So we set up an 8ft folding table and threw some bedsheets (they were clean- don’t judge) nice linen tablecloths on. Put out candles galore, and my favorite touch was the Bistro style lights which one of our friends and Mr. Flik put up. They hung nicely above the table and gave off nice light, but mostly just set the theme perfectly.

Inside, we set out appetizers. We did cheese trays with fruits, nuts, and bread. You can check out an example of this style tray on my Instagram account: Cheese

The Dinner Menu:
Starters – French Onion Soup (made from scratch, recipe here)
French Garden Salad: Mixed greens, with very thinly sliced radishes and carrots*, grilled asparagus, goat cheese, lemon zest, salt & pepper and a garlic vinaigrette.
*(I used an Oxo Mandoline Slicer for this- or what my sister’s call the “Eight ways to cut yourself tool’)

As you can see below, we did place cards with French prefixes, and a menu with “Joyeux Anniversaire” (Happy Birthday in French) at the top with the rest of the menu and and icon that said “Paris is always a good idea” at the bottom.

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Then to be extra fancy we did a citrus sorbet palate cleanser before serving the main course.

Mains:
Champagne & Herb Roasted Cornish Game Hens (I combined a few recipes so there really isn’t an exact recipe. But I put them all in a turkey roasting pan, melted a bunch of butter and poured that all over them until they were well covered. Then I doused them in champagne, stuffed a few sprigs of rosemary and thyme in the cavity of each one, bunch of garlic (like a bunch), salt & pepper, and squeezed lemon all over that. Toss in the oven at 350 for an hour. Baste them once, if they’re getting too browned on top put a little foil over each one.

Sides:
Haricots Verts (which are ever so similar to green beans) just butter those babies up and throw some salt and pepper on ’em and you’re good.
Potatoes Au Gratin (our friend made them, they were super yummy – but I don’t have his recipe – I’m pretty sure it’s a big secret, so here’s one that seems good.)

Dessert:
Along with our group of friends, the birthday girl’s mom and aunt helped us pull the whole thing off! They brought desserts from a local bakery. Chocolate filled croissants and some cookies. And what birthday would be complete without a cake?! We had a yellow cake filled with Grand Marnier chocolate buttercream, frosted with chocolate ganache.  Talk about delightful!

I was going for a warm and romantic feel so we put a lot of flowers and candles out along with some cute Paris/French themed signs.

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The top left is us enjoying dinner. Top right is the Champagne bar we set up with different kinds of champagne/wines to try.
The bottom left is of one of the cheese trays, and bottom right is the apps/dessert table.

Other small touches were napkins from the party store with French sayings and flowers on them, a cute Eiffel Tower miniature for the table, and lace table runners. For more ideas check out the Pinterest board we made while planning.

Here’s a fun little time lapse of our dinner!

Have any other fun French Dinner Party ideas? Comment below!

 

23 & Married- a Counterargument

You gotta love those articles that float around Facebook which everyone shares a gazillion times and captions things like; “so inspiring” or “#truth” (come on guys, you do it- I’ve done it. It’s the culture of Facebook). But I especially like ones that go around and I disagree with.

Seems funny right? Well with media being such an open outlet so many people get to share a huge range of topics- and it’s refreshing to read someone else’s work who doesn’t share my worldview. To read something that is written by a person who is outside my circle of friends, family, culture, etc.

So early last week this article by Vanessa Elizabeth came out called; “23 THINGS TO DO INSTEAD OF GETTING ENGAGED BEFORE YOU’RE 23”. I liked it. I disliked it. And I agreed, and disagreed with her thoughts- and not just cuz I was engaged at 22 and married by 23.

Favorite quote- “…the LGTBQ community isn’t ruining the sanctity of marriage, the Kardashian family is…” #truth (haha)

Anyways, you should go read it. It’s for sure worth a read.

On to why/what I like and don’t like.  I was watching a marathon of binging on “Bridezillas” a couple Sundays ago and this girl (I don’t say girl lightly, she was 19) who just so happened to be from the next town over from mine (the fair city of Elgin) was getting married to her boyfriend of a month in 3 weeks. So to make this clear- she was marrying a guy who at the point of their wedding she had only known for 7 weeks. TALK ABOUT BANANAS!

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She had a total freak out before the ceremony and was almost a runaway bride. I’m sorry dear- but only Julia Roberts can pull that trick off with any semblance of grace…I mean look at that!

 

Anyways- I do think there is such a thing as getting married too young. I.E. If you can’t have a champagne toast at your wedding- because you can’t legally drink…you probably shouldn’t get married. Just sayin’. But being 23 when I got married, I don’t think that there is any real formula to it. No solid answer- unless you ask my dad; he said I wasn’t allowed to date or get married ’till I was 30. I also think you shouldn’t get married if you have no clue who you are. That is the element of this article I agree with.

Vanessa writes that at 22, she has no idea who she is/what she wants etc. I hear you girl. In fact I will see you, and raise you- most 50 year olds have no clue who they are. That’s the journey. Ya figure it out as you go. But as a person of almost a quarter century- you should have a foundational set of values you stick to. Things like; keeping your word, being there for your friends/family, working towards becoming who you want to be/trying to be a better person, being loving/thoughtful/generous, etc. Whatever your creed, I think we can all agree that most people* operate by a fundamental set of principles. By 20+ you are old enough to know what’s right, good, and what matters.

*If you aren’t there yet- do us all a favor and please do not get married- no matter what age you are. Figure your shit out dude- don’t need to drag anyone else into that.

The foundation of a marriage rests on principles like these- two people deciding they agree on what matters in life, and that they will stick together ‘for better or worse, sickness or health…’ as they figure the rest out.

I think the divorce rate is so high because people fail to realize that people change. But what’s so wrong in that? In fact, I think we would be a lot more pissed- if people never did. But when you take those vows- you aren’t making a promise to love the other person for the moment; “When you are exactly who you are right here, right, now and the minute you change-I’m out”. Its sickness and health, better or worse, winning, losing, or changing. Maybe in 3 years I’ll decide to switch careers, cut my hair and dye it blonde- but you can bet your bottom dollar I will still hold to my set of foundational values and that’s part of why my husband said “I do.” If it was for my career or hair- we’d both be screwed. Ha!

Where I start to disagree is when she starts talking about marriage as a sort of cop out;

“It is a way for young people to hide behind a significant other instead of dealing with life’s highs and lows on their own. It’s a safety blanket. It’s an admission that the world is just too big and scary to deal with it on your own; thus, you now have someone that is legally obligated to support you till one of you dies or files for divorce.”

Every relationship you have does this to some extent. You can’t always deal with life on your own- that’s why you have loved ones. I just feel that it’s self-centered to think that you get through life on your own. The whole point of being married is to share life with someone- why does that have to be classified as a “safety blanket”?

Later on the article talks about how the last generation got married young, but it’s no comparison because there were different values, priorities, and no anxiety from the internet. To me, that kind of thinking is the ‘safety blanket’. The problem is standing behind the ideology that “things are different” instead of rising to meet a standard of dignity, character, and respect for ourselves and one another that should still be intact regardless of the internet or how times have evolved.

Moreover, the article expresses how we are responsible for our own happiness- which I agree with, completely. But her comparison of travel vs. having a family in my opinion suffers some oversight in that maybe some people’s happiness is in having a family instead of traveling. We are each responsible for our own happiness, but that doesn’t mean that happiness is the same thing or defined by the same measures.

Ultimately, the point being made is that at 23 you don’t know enough about yourself or the world to make such a serious commitment- and I agree that for some people that is the truth. But the list of 23 things she recommends to reach the goal of finding/knowing yourself display the kind of immaturity and selfishness most of our generation is comprised of- resulting in that insane divorce rate. Just a few examples; numbers 3, 11, 15, 20, 22- (forcing you to at least LOOK at the article- hehe). These suggestions don’t seem healthy, productive, or efficient on a quest to ‘find one’s self’ or ‘knowing who you are’. As for the rest of them, they are things you can do while being married- and sharing life together. It’s just way more fun that way.

Ultimately, I’m no expert on marriage- hell I’ve only been married just shy of 6 months- and I may look back in a year or 20 and regret all these words. But I doubt it. Because in the end- there are lots of things better than being married at 23, I just don’t think sitting in front of a window naked is one of them.

***Disclaimer: I read some of Vanessa’s other posts- and they’re pretty good. I don’t think she’s a bad writer/person/etc.- I just don’t agree with the entirety of this post. Also, I give her lots of cred because if you read through the comments on this article PLENTY of people were very heated about it. I’m sure she saw that coming, but good she put her opinion out there anways.

I heart the Library

photo (17)I got a library card on Monday because I am now an official citizen of the fair city of West Dundee. Also, I have a piece of ‘official’ mail (whatever that means) that proves it! It has been a long time since I’ve lived in once place and all my ID’s, mail, and addresses matched- so this is kind of a big deal.
Guys- the inner nerd in me surfaced in a big way. I forgot how glorious libraries are. I’m like a kid in a  shoe craft candy store.
I got four books which I have had sitting in my Goodreads queue for far too long.

First up is The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye. It’s about New York around 1845, when the first police force was put together (typically not my choice time period for books but the rest sounded interesting so I went with it).  The main character is the younger brother of a firefighter turned police chief. They have an interesting love hate thing going on. Anyways, that is the one I’ve started with and I’m about 75 pages in and it’s pretty good.

Then I meandered over to the biography section and got in touch with something I’m presuming to be on the lighter, wittier side. Jenny Lawson’s Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. I’m really excited to read this one as I love/have a weird obsession with her blog: The Bloggess. It is witty, funny, brash, and snarky- so I’m guessing the book won’t be too far off from that either.

And while I was over in the biography section I found Banished: Surviving My Years in the Westboro Baptist Church by Lauren Drain. Sometimes I have a hard time with non-comical biographies because I feel like they read like a to do list in reverse- I did this, then this happened, so I did that. And that was that. The end.  I’m starting to think I’ve grown out of this….maybe. I don’t know. We’ll find out. But I read an interview somewhere with her talking about her book and it seemed interesting so I went for it.

And finally, since there are two serious/dramatic books (on fiction, one non-fiction), I figured the lighthearted department should be equally balanced with one fiction, one non-fiction (this is how I think, really- that much thought went into picking out some books…)

Anyways- lastly, I got Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close because well I don’t even really know. It sounded like one of those semi-cheesy but maybe not so cheesy it’s a turn off types. And I thought I’d give it a chance.

So, that’s my December reading list. What are you reading these days? Have you read any of the books I picked?

I’ll be back with a review on these as soon as I’ve finished them!

Why Me & Mr. Trestman are Fighting Right Now

Can we talk about the Bears for a hot minute?

Honestly Mr. Trestman- why? Why are you personally attacking my sensibilities like this- I thought we understood each other?

WHY IS CUTLER STARTING ON SUNDAY?

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My soul is slowing being crushed as the days draw closer, and I am forced to watch the train wreck that is Cutler add to his interception record. Mr. Flik, please make sure there is plenty of beer handy.

I think Cutler is terrible.
(I am probably going to get hate mail for this)

He looks good on paper- but in the pocket under pressure he loses it. Whatever amount of ”it” he even has at this point.

Grant it, I don’t think McCown is the granddaddy of QB’s but he’s been playing like a champ and should rewarded for this play. Like he get’s to finish the rest of the season kind of rewarded.

That was GLORIOUS. Also, it was the level of GLORIOUS Cutty would never attempt, much less succeed at. For these guys, football is their paid job, so- if one man is outperforming the other, that outperformer (ehm, ehm, McCown) should A) be rewarded B) encouraged and C) promoted. Let McCown finish this season- at least we know he can, you know, since he won’t get any ouchies like Cutler seems to in every game (he hasn’t played a full season since ’09- that’s 4 years kids) .

Let’s talk about how Cutler is about a tough as a porcelain doll (with 4 chins). How, how did he get hurt on this play?  I think I’ve gotten harder hugs than that in my life. Seriously, Jay?

So Cutler has a rocket launcher as an arm. That’s nice- except he throws it to the wrong friggin team, like all the damn time. I will take accuracy over distance, thank you.

McCown is old- yea sure, whatever. He is our backup- yea, yea.  Ok cool. But he takes a beating (did you see him jump and get flipped over that guy when he scored that touchdown?!) and acts like nothing happened. He doesn’t get mad and stomp off (GOD I LOVE THE ONION) to the sidelines when a play doesn’t go the way he wanted. And he throws A LOT less interceptions. Because McCown knows this is footballand not the Miss America Pageant- a lesson Cutler clearly has not yet learned.

kristin-cavallari-jay-cutler-gettyYou know what else I like about McCown- he’s not married to a former reality TV star. I know this has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with football, but it just goes to show he’s a few short of a dozen to begin with. 

I’m sorry Mister Trestman, but I think this is a HUGE mistake. I’m with Brian on this one.

I feel like the fans that are still saying Cutler is a good quarterback (and not just on paper) are the same ones saying the Cubs are going to win the world series. Sorry, but not in this lifetime.

This post is part of a Fan Friday Linkup:

Venus Trapped in Mars