Archive for May 2008

31 May 2008

My Sex and the City Saturday

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Chicago, Movies

***Note: this post does not contain spoilers***

So I did it, I went and saw Sex and the City today – even though it is an insanely gorgeous day in Chicago today. Ripe with tourists.
Let’s get to the good stuff first, then I’ll explain about my overall moviegoing experience on this one – it’s a gem.
My thoughts on the movie
As a pretty big fan of the TV show, I was overall happy with the movie. It was great to see the characters again and of course, because I love fashion, I was half there to ogle the clothes too. The clothes, especially the handbags, were insane, just as I hoped they would be. I found myself near biting my hand – particularly at a few Louis Vuitton and Chanel bags – because they were so pretty.
I’m glad I saw the movie, but I won’t lie – part of me was expecting something a bit more. While the fashion and “labels” were great, it seemed like it indulged a bit to much in product placement. Example, the Sprint phones and shopping bags proudly displaying Versace, Louis Vuitton and and Chanel. Hey I love labels but don’t drown me in it. They never did to that extent on the show so it was more of a distraction in the movie. But, as always, I love the friendship between the women. I hope my close friends would do many of the same things that they do for each other for me.
I won’t see the movie again until DVD but overall it’s a solid choice. Oh an you don’t need to be a long-time fan of the show to jump in the movie – although it probably wouldn’t hurt.
My moviegoing experience
This was actually the most fun part of the last two days. So because of my poor planning, all of last night’s showings in Chicago were sold out – like a week ago. Crazy! I was forced, literally, to see it today, even though I’m sure a few women would have scalped tickets.
I go over to the AMC around 5:30 to get my Saturday tickets and I was shocked by the sheer number of women camped out for their evening shows. At 5:40 p.m. there was a line of 40-50 women waiting for the 7 p.m. show! Women running up the escalator to meet friends or get in line, squealing and giggling and hugging when they finally got in line. There was a lot of estrogen and sheer hormone power in that lobby last night. I can only imagine what the inside of the theater experience was like.
People watching
I love this part of living in the city because no matter what, there is always something new that you see.
I think it’s really cool that people were dressing up to go to the movie theater because, when does that happen anymore? But, I think some people were confused about how to embody the SATC show when going to see it. 
For example, while leaving the theater last night, a woman was stumbling in the street because of her insanely bedazzled shoes with the plastic heel. Not exactly Manolo’s but okay. The kicker had to be the polyester/rayon-blend one-shoulder dress that was Saran Wrapped to her body. Again, not Chanel but okay. The best part of the entire package wasn’t even the holey Old Navy sweater jacket she wore over this ensemble, but rather it was the “colorful” conversation she was having with someone on the phone. I’ll save the details but the words, “c*cksucker,” and “motherf*cker” were used several times. Classy. Definitely a Samantha.
Then today, a row of women were there together, celebrating the movie, which is great. It wasn’t until about halfway through the movie, following a lot of “oh no he didn’t,” and “you go girls” that I hear glass clinking. GLASS. These women smuggled in champagne and real glasses to the movie! OMG! Then when one got really excited during the movie, we heard one of those glasses break. Oops. Everyone from that row promptly left the theater at the credits.
So that’s my SATC Saturday, what did everyone else think? I’m sure the blogosphere is exploding about this so I’m curious to hear other people’s thoughts.
Now it’s time for a nice smoothie from Bobtail and a little more sun on my pasty skin. 

28 May 2008

I hate my closet

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Fashion, shopping
This post might be PMS- or exhaustion-driven, but right now I’m hating my closet and everything inside of it. My closet and I are so fighting right now. I hate it’s face (figuratively).

I have no logical reason to hate my closet. There is nice stuff in there – some of it with the tags still on – and I have a lot of stuff in there too, which I can’t help because I’m a girl. But it seems that as each season changes, I feel like I have nothing to wear. This is all psychosomatic though because I have oodles of things to wear, I just don’t want to wear them.

I want to go shopping for new, fun, springy stuff, even though the clothes I bought last year (when I was feeling the same way I am now) are just fine. And yes, I will wear them, but with the constant weather changes right now in Chicago, I don’t know what to wear on a daily basis because it’s 40 degrees in the morning and then a cool 60 degrees by the time I leave the gym. And the worst part is, I haven’t even seen cute things that I would want to add to my closet this year!

For example, as a curvy girl with a full chest, the flouncy, baby-doll tops that are everywhere right now don’t work for me. I look 4 months pregnant and my chest looks bigger than normal. Not flattering, primarily because I’m not pregnant and I don’t want people asking me if I got implants. And I’m still disappointed that my summertime wardrobe essential from Old Navy sucks in quality this year.

So this weekend, in addition to seeing Sex And The City (YAY!!!), I will venture out and see if maybe a new top or two will suffice this need to have new things. And now that I’m back to hitting the gym 3-4 times a week, the beached whale feeling from overeating at the wedding this weekend will help mentally too. Oh to have a rock to lay on in the sun right now…

27 May 2008

Breaking news: I’m going to BlogHer!

By: Jessica B.
Danielle made my day/week/month today and told me that I’m going to BlogHer ’08 this year in San Francisco! I heard rumors about this from a spy in the office but today it became official and I am so excited that I’m running around giving people random hugs. Look out Rebecca.
Now it’s not going to be strictly parties and mingling, I’m there in an official capacity, but I am looking forward to meeting other bloggers and finding more blogs to add to my Reader. I’ve even put the word out to my buddy Sarah, who lives in Oakland – actually the “Lincoln Park of Oakland” – in the hopes we can meet up for dinner one night. I’ve shared my recent Sarah-experience, but this time it’ll be much tamer.
So it’s time to get some sun on my pasty skin and get ready to have fun, work hard and try not to geek out too much at the conference. Between the wedding going well and this, my week is off to a great start! So I proudly display the below button in honor of my news!
Let me know if you’re heading to BlogHer and you can swing by to say hi. I love meeting bloggers in person.
I'm Going to BlogHer 08

I’m also catching up on my Memorial Day DVR shows, which includes HBO’s movie, Recount, about the 2000 presidential election. In 2000, I was studying in Germany, finding out with the other program students that Florida was too close to call and the US didn’t have a president for nearly a month. We watched CNN (the only English television channel) daily, trying to piece together what was going on and how this could have happened. 
If you have HBO, I highly recommend checking it out. It’s definitely an interesting retelling of what happened and for some of us, seeing what we missed while partying at discos and being irresponsible.

26 May 2008

Meet me as a bridesmaid

By: Jessica B.
As just about everyone knows, I was home in Wisconsin this weekend for my brothers wedding, in which I would make my bridesmaid debut and which is why I haven’t posted anything since Thursday – it was a full weekend wedding bonanza!
Anyhow, it’s Monday now, the wedding is over, my hair still has glitter in it (as does my clothes), I’m exhausted and I have decided not to log my food from the weekend because…well it would be too painful.
So let’s jump in, I have plenty of pictures to share and I have to say, while the wedding was exhausting and the weekend was almost like being in college again, I’m glad I was a bridesmaid and that I was there to see my baby brother get married. It’s definitely a different experience than watching friends get married and it’s something I won’t forget.
Rehearsal Dinner
Before the wedding, of course, we had the rehearsal at the church. I met my groomsmen, Tim, who my brother and I went to high school with, and who I found is a bit of a character. I wasn’t sure if he was a perv or “special” – turns out it’s a little of both – but he was a gentleman to me (until the reception).
After the church, we headed over to a local sports bar for the rehearsal dinner where we toasted the happy couple, I got my bridesmaid gift and received the most generous wine pour that I’ve ever had. Fortunately, I kept myself in control, as I’m still a little gunshy after my unfortunate Nordstrom’s event a few weeks ago. *shudder*
Because hair started at 8 or 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, the bridesmaids shared a hotel room (at the hotel hosting the reception), which was like living in the dorm again – in a fun way. We were all up late talking and laughing, with our dresses hanging from any possible hook or cupboard we could find. 
The big day – the glam squad
So after the third day of little sleep, everyone was up and ready on the day of the wedding. Hair started promptly at 8:30 a.m. and while two girls were being worked on, others were going through the rounds of hair/make-up. At one point, we had 13 people in the hotel suite – and yes it was cramped, but in a good way (if that makes any sense).
I opted to go with a “Jenna Bush wedding” look for my hair, but with a few more curls. I wear my hair straight on a daily basis (out of laziness) so if I was paying for my hair to be done, curl it and spray it within an inch of it’s life! The hairdresser working on me sprayed my hair (and the other bridesmaids) with glitter hairspray. It added a great shine to the hair but got ALL over my clothes and body. Liz even sprayed my chest to match the other bridesmaids – that is a true friend. Here is my hair’s final product, front and back. And with Liz’s expert guidance, it turned out great.

Then it was time to get in the dress (which still fit – thank god!) and head to the church. I have to admit, when I had that dress on, combined with the gorgeous hair and somehow perfectly applied make-up, I felt absolutely beautiful. That’s not to sound vain, but throughout the day, everyone kept telling me how beautiful I looked and for the first time, I would reply, “I do,” or “I know!” I was even sad to wash the curls out this morning and remove the bobby pins last night. Not everyone knows I suffer from crippling self-esteem issues so for me to feel that way, embody it and have people recognize it, I felt like I was the prettiest bridesmaid ever.
Also, because the wedding was themed after the Wisconsin Badgers (my brother, sister-in-law and our family are huge fans), it’s only appropriate that the flowers follow that trend too.

Going to the chapel
We had to wait a bit once we got into the church so that guests could arrive and be fully seated. While we were waiting, I got to see my brother before the wedding and was nearly hit by the rambunctious ring bearer with a dodgeball. Fortunately though, I wasn’t hit, or that ball would have been thrown back at him. 
When we all lined up to walk and meet our groomsmen, my knees were totally shaking and I was sweating like crazy. Tim did a great job walking me down the aisle and when I looked up and saw Andy at the alter, I wanted to cry. My baby brother, who I’ve had a love/hate relationship with since he was born, was getting married. How did we get to this point?
Here are some pictures from the ceremony – unfortunately Liz wasn’t able to get me coming down the aisle so I’ll post an “official” photograph of that later. But the last shot is of me/Andy after the wedding. I think we look pretty darn good.

Party time!
So now that the wedding is over, we took photos outside (in the great sunshine and 70-degree weather – finally!) and got on the party bus back to the hotel, where champagne was flowing and the AC was on as well. We pre-partied before the cocktail hour – which lead to me getting horribly drunk on champagne and lead to me inhaling food during the cocktail hour so that I was sober for the wedding party procession. Fortunately, I rallied and was sober for the wedding party line-up, where we screamed so loud that a small child started crying out of fear. We get crazy in Wisconsin.
Before the wedding, we kept hearing that the bride had a surprise for my brother, but only two people knew what it was. Personally I thought it was news that I would be an auntie, but I was even more thrilled to find out with everyone else that my sister-in-law arranged for Bucky Badger (the Wisconsin mascot) to make an appearance at the reception and take pictures with guests. Bucky f*cking Badger was there, how awesome is that? Pretty awesome and appropriate if you have a Badger-themed wedding. Here are pictures of the wedding party and me with Bucky – f*ck ‘em Bucky!
The other big treat of the night (other than my brother and sister-in-law dancing to “Soulja Boy” before their first song) had to be the father of the bride dancing (with the groomsmen and bride) to the Napoleon Dynamite dance. He loves that movie and in full costume and DVD
 guidance, the entire party joined in on the fun. It was so great. 
The day after
We got back into Chicago today and to amazing weather. I managed to wash out all the product and most of the glitter from my hair. Now I’m catching up on e-mail and Podcasts before I inevitably crash for work tomorrow. So my dress is hanging in my closet, where I’m sure I’ll wear it again soon to water plants or dishes. That would be lovely. Want more pictures, e-mail me and let me know, there are some gems I didn’t have time to post.
Quote of the weekend
“That’s why you’re going to die alone….if a man can’t share his beef jerky, he can’t share anything.”  — Said by yours truly (after four glasses of champagne)
Also, I just want to say a big thanks to my friend Liz, who accompanied me this weekend. She was a true sport the entire time, holding my bag/wrap when I needed it, helping with anything big/small that needed to be done and being a true sport around me and my crazy family. She took just about all the pictures in this post and did a great job.

22 May 2008

Movies! Action! Chicago!

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Chicago, Movies

This is another reason why I love Chicago in the summer – movie magic! Being a movie buff myself, I can’t help but stare as they film movies and TV shows around the city, peeking at the make-up trailers and getting giddy when you see the cameras being set up. It’s awesome.

So on this movie-themed post, we’ll start with Tyler, my cube-neighbor Laura’s boyfriend, who is an up-and-coming actor I can now say I met “back in the day.” He came to the office today for a visit while he’s in town in the ridiculously cold Midwest and I was more than anxious to meet him. Laura keeps me posted on his acting auditions and gigs, one of which recently included an episode of NCIS. I tease her that if he gets a role on The Office that I’m pretending to be her to go visit the set…but I’m actually not kidding.
Unfortunately, Tyler didn’t bring a headshot for me (which I might later sell on eBay when he’s in Cannes as a superstar) but I slipped him my card so hopefully it’s in the mail once he’s back (wink wink.)
So check out the NCIS episode About Face, which I had to link to because CBS.com sucks and won’t let me embed it. FYI there’s an ad in the beginning so don’t jump away too quickly.
Tyler is in the opening scene and he’s the guy in the elevator who is super cocky and doesn’t talk first in the scene, he’s the “other guy.” In real life, he’s cute, charming, got a great laugh and he smells awesome. Those are all good things in a boy. My cube-neighbor Laura’s got a good one. And seriously, he smells really good. Really good.
As I mentioned before, a movie is being filmed in the city again, and today the trailers were lined up on lower Wacker and along the river. I think it’s the Johnny Depp movie, because that’s the only one still in the city now, according to the Film Office at least.
But yeah, movie magic in Chicago. Since I’ve lived here I have been able to see the filming of the Break-Up with Vince Vaughn on the river, Flags of Our Fathers at the Drake (they made it rain on one block!) and Fred Claus again with Vince Vaughn on Michigan Avenue. That one was the coolest because I was on a bus going by as they were preparing to film and he was right there. 
Being a film buff and watching them be filmed is awesome thing I never get tired of. It’s another plus of living in the super-cool city, almost makes up for the exorbitant food and gas prices here. Not really.