Walk the Walk

June 30, 2016 at 12:56 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

Here’s a dose of inspiration for you. I came across this story today and it nearly made me cry. The woman in the story just completed a two-month walk from Mississippi to Washington, DC in order to speak to lawmakers about our broken healthcare system – topless. She’s the survivor of a double mastectomy and wore her scars openly to show exactly what she’s had to go through. She lost her breasts, her home, her cars and her job during her battle with cancer and she’s trying to raise awareness about what kind of toll battling an illness can really take on someone’s mental, emotional, physical and fiscal health.

We’re all aware of brands trying to raise awareness about breast cancer or how to “Save the Tatas” but this story goes to show that women can live just fine without their tatas. Hell, my mom’s had just one for most of my life and is still one of the strongest and most beautiful women I know. This article goes to show that we don’t need to support the tatas or raise awareness about breast cancer so much as to support the women (and men!) going through the treatment and recovery and also raise awareness about the ramifications that having this disease can have. Clearly everyone knows about breast cancer but not everyone understands all of the dire consequences that come with it. And hopefully after this courageous woman meets with Congress, they’ll at least get the picture. Because her picture is absolutely worth a thousand words.

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Fantastic Field Day

June 27, 2016 at 2:04 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

The students of Chicago Public Schools officially began their summer vacation last Tuesday, on June 21st. That seems pretty late in the game but they started school fairly early this year so apparently it all balances out and they’re now enjoying all of the perks that summer has to offer. In an effort to help them end their school year on a bang, a group of coworkers and I put together a Field Day for one of the more economically-challenged schools in the city – and it worked, because we all had a blast!

For those of you who have never experienced a Field Day (or who are too old to remember!), it’s basically a giant party to celebrate the end of the school year. My team and I brought about 85 coworkers along for the ride and we had a popcorn maker, cotton candy machine, huge grill serving up hot dogs and hamburgers, an obstacle course, basketball hoops, sack racing, (fake) tattooing station and even a station where you could throw a pie in someone’s face. Needless to say, the kids (aged pre-K through 8th grade) had a pretty great time. It was warm and sunny but that’s better than cold and rainy so we were smiling through our sweat! We even had the head of our department come out with his wife and they spent a good few hours simply picking up trash and helping with the behind-the-scenes logistics. And of course, they played with the kids too!

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Not our kids but we did use that exact obstacle course set!

This school would not have been able to afford to put on such a Field Day without our help and I feel so grateful to work for a company that does more than just lip service when it comes to giving back to the community. We even donated all of the toys and games we bought so they could use them next year! Unfortunately, they don’t get to keep the popcorn and cotton candy machines but who knows – maybe we’ll be back to celebrate the end of another school year with them in 2017!

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Loving Love

June 22, 2016 at 3:00 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

Since my last post talked about love, I figured this one would too. Especially since I spent the weekend surrounded by people I love and doing things for my wedding, where I’ll be marrying the man I love!

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My original wedding check list…it is now just a little bit longer

I thought I had sooooo much time going into this trip home, since I left Wednesday morning and didn’t return until Sunday afternoon. Well, as always, time flies when you’re having fun! I managed to see just about every family member I have (and some multiple times!) and I spent some quality beer-drinking time with a couple aunts and a couple of cousins . I also visited with a couple of my best high school gal pals, which was much-needed.

And I did a TON of wedding stuff! Because I feel so productive and accomplished, I’m going to give a brief breakdown here:

  • Bought two pairs of wedding shoes, decided on flats vs. heels in the name of dancing in comfort and thus returned the heels
  • Bought my corset/bra thingy for my wedding dress so I could wear it to my fitting. Then had a complete brain fart and agreed to let them send it to my house since they didn’t have my size. Then went to my dress fitting, realized I didn’t have the one garment I needed for it and went back to the store to buy one in my size but the wrong color. I now have two corset/bra thingies and will be returning the wrong-colored one sometime. Eventually.
  • Had my dress fitting. Actually, had three dress fittings in as many days and picked up my finished dress the morning I left town. It’s hemmed! And no longer four sizes too big! And it has a train and a million bustle points which I didn’t even know were a thing but hey I guess they are. And the dress is finished!
  • Had a boudoir photo session with a professional photographer. This is going to be Scott’s wedding gift and he has no idea I did it. It was like a sexy Glamour Shots session and I won’t lie – it was pretty fun! Of course I may feel differently when I actually see the photos…
  • Confirmed the hotel we’re using for our wedding guests and checked in on their renovations
  • Had a trial run of my wedding day hair and makeup (gorgeous!) that I conveniently timed right before those boudoir pictures. When I plan something, I plan all out!
  • Chose and purchased the beautiful silk flowers for the wedding bouquets
  • Found the jewelry I’m going to wear! I was actually going to commission a friend to make something but when I explained to my mom what I was looking for, she basically pulled a perfect earring and necklace set (along with a matching vintage ring) out of her jewelry box. Apparently my dad gave the earrings and necklace to her a long time ago and it was exactly what I’m looking for! And yup, we cried.

And I think that’s it. Holy crap, this wedding stuff is getting serious!

 

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Imagine All the People…

June 13, 2016 at 11:57 am (Uncategorized) ()

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…living life in peace…

Right. Maybe one day.

Until then – love is love is love is love is love is love.

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Street Art

June 10, 2016 at 10:43 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

This installation recently made an appearance in my neighborhood. I pass it once or twice a day and the first time I saw it was a very foggy morning (as evidenced by the photo) and I’m not going to lie, it kind of weirded me out. But he’s really not doing anything harmful – in fact, this figure swings when the wind is blowing right! And while that still looks slightly eerie, the fake flower arrangement someone recently placed in his hands makes it seem a little more fun and fancy free. There’s some carving in the bottom of the installation asking people not to stand or climb on it but other than that – nothing. No artist name or title of the piece or explanation or identifying feature of any kind.

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Swing low, sweet Snoop Fogg…

Not that I’m complaining! One of my favorite aspects of city living is the weird stuff I come across as I walk around. And while I’m not sure how long this guy will be around (will he disappear tonight? 10 years from now? Did he move in for eternity?), I will enjoy him while he’s here. I’m also open to suggestions on a name, if you’d like to contribute! Right now I’m thinking Snoop Fogg, since he initially creeped up on me on a foggy day and he looks like he’s made of Twizzlers, which makes me think of when Snoop Dogg used to go around saying things that rhyme with “shizzle”. What, you didn’t think of that?

I think Snoop Fogg and I will make many more memories together. Unless he melts in the ninety degree weather we’re having this weekend!

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Beetle-Brained

June 7, 2016 at 10:52 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

Do you want to hear something cool? Because I’m going to tell you something cool. Or cool to me at least and since you’re reading my blog, that’s what counts.

You probably know I’m a bit of a regular around The Field Museum. The overnights I worked this year have come to a close for this season and on our last one I was able to go on a behind-the-scenes tour of the museum’s insect collection. There were lots of butterflies and roaches and all kinds of other bugs but the one that really grabbed my attention was this teeny tiny little beetle. Why is it important? Because it was collected by Charles Darwin himself.

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Hope this doesn’t bug you.

 

If you don’t know Charles Darwin is, please do a Google search. Or smack yourself in the face with an encyclopedia.

Anyway, this beetle wasn’t given to the museum by Darwin since he died before it was built and all, but it was acquired by a German insect collector, who later sold it to the Field. No one is quite sure how the German guy got it but that’s kind of the story behind a lot of the museum’s artifacts so it’s not too out of the ordinary. It was originally collected in 1834 during an expedition to Chile and you can read the entire story about it here. It’s rare that the museum has this at all and it’s not really shown to the public – most of the insect collections are used by other scientists for research purposes and I feel lucky I got to see it. It’s sure an awesome amount of history inside of a little bug!

 

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SpaceWhales Wedding Recap

June 1, 2016 at 3:10 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

So I’m surviving Pilates and have lived to tell another tale!

The tale I tell today is that of one of my oldest and dearest friends and her recent wedding. Sarah and I met in the dorms in college and lived together in a pretty sweet house for a couple of years in that time between dorm-living and just-graduated-from-college-living. She moved to Chicago a little before I did and we’ve been able to reconnect up here, which has just made this city all the better. Sarah and I have been there for each other through tests, finals, toga parties, dance parties, relationships making up and breaking up, the birth and death of beloved pets, various family drama and the general navigation of college and emerging adulthood. She was an English major like I was and we bonded over great literature (especially Stephen King and Valley of the Dolls) as well as great television (Desperate Housewives and Boston Legal, I’m looking at you). We’ve been friends through Elizabeth Taylor tattoos, extreme Photoshopping and drunken nights of falling over air conditioning units and I am so, so thankful that she’s still a part of my life. I’ve watched her go from someone who only ingested candy, whiskey and cigarettes and once puked after a bike ride to class to someone who works out regularly and makes delicious vegan meals while painting something for an upcoming art show. In short, Sarah is someone I’ve always looked up to (figuratively and literally) and she’s just plain awesome.

And so is her wife, Betsy! These two women have so much in common and seem to compliment each other perfectly. They’re funny, creative, intelligent and supremely inspiring human beings who are an absolute riot to be around. They told me about their upcoming nuptials on Record Store Day, after we had all made some amazing purchases and were enjoying some fantastic vegetarian food. Even their casual announcement to keep an eye out for an email about the wedding they were having in two weeks was just about perfect! And Scott and I were delighted to attend.

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Sarah to the right, Betsy to the left. Khaleesi in the middle.

The theme was SpaceWhales, since Betsy loves Space and Sarah loves Whales. I was lucky enough to meet Sarah for brunch before showtime and she even wore the blue scarf I brought along (it was something of mine she used to dress up with in college and covered the whole something old/something borrowed/something blue thing). The ceremony began with one of their friends leading the entire Thai restaurant full of people in a sing-along of the theme song to Golden Girls, of which roughly 97% of those in attendance knew word for word (yours truly included, obviously). This was the long version too, FYI. The ceremony went on to continue a reading from a passage of Moby Dick and a tribute to everyone from Liza Minnelli to Dame Elizabeth Taylor. Then Sarah spoke her vows, which she completely and appropriately made up on the spot. Same for Betsy, and both sets of vows brought tears to everyone’s eyes.

Then there was cake! Delicious, delicious cake. And Thai food, pictures in front of Wrigley Field and tons of toasting. Also a huge hat with many planets flowing around. And more delicious cake!

It was by far the most unique wedding I’ve ever been lucky to be a part of. Scott’s a little jealous that ours won’t be as laid-back but their wedding did get both of us excited to stand in front of our loved ones and exchange vows of our own. Of course, our wedding probably won’t have anything Moby Dick related but it will still be awesome. Especially if I can get everyone to sing along to the Golden Girls theme song with me.

Anyway. Congrats to two of my favorite women and may you both have a lifetime of love, happiness and SpaceWhales!

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