Archive for August 2008

31 August 2008

Happy Blog Day!

By: Jessica B.
Blog Day 2008

What is Blog Day?

BlogDay was created with the belief that bloggers should have one day dedicated to getting to know other bloggers from other countries and areas of interest. On that day Bloggers will recommend other blogs to their blog visitors. With the goal in mind, on this day every blogger will post a recommendation of 5 new blogs. This way, all blog readers will find themselves leaping around and discovering new, previously unknown blogs.
BlogDay Posting Instructions
  1. Find 5 new Blogs that you find interesting
  2. Notify the 5 bloggers that you are recommending them as part of BlogDay 2008
  3. Write a short description of the Blogs and place a link to the recommended Blogs
  4. Post the BlogDay Post (on August 31st) and
  5. Add the BlogDay tag and a link to the BlogDay Web Site

My Picks:

All Things G&D – She’s already awesome because she’s from Wisconsin and in Badger-country but she’s also great because she loves Kate Spade and understands that in Wisconsin, showing up drunk to a restaurant should not be judged.
Golightly – Meg is awesome. Her posts always make me laugh and her inner Rage Girl reminds me of my own :)
Life in the Left Lane – Recently married, works in travel PR and living in Hot-lanta. I think if she lived in Chicago, we’d be BFFs.
Places Never Planned – Cute as a button, and funny as all h*ll. Plus, she loves the Beatles white album and records, just like me! It’s the final step…in awesomeness.
Tied Together With A Smile – Another awesome Wisconsin girl who loves the Hills, football, baseball and can divide her loyalties between the Cubs and Brewers when necessary :)
Those are my inaugural Blog Day picks. It wasn’t an easy choice but I look forward to taking part again next year!
Weekend recap coming tomorrow – full of shenanigans. 

28 August 2008

I love girl talk…drinks optional!

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Friends
I love girl talk. I love getting together with my girlfriends and just talking about anything big or small. We can solve world problems, one at a time, within a few hours.
Troubled economy? Get a room of women together (with drinks) and it will be balanced within a day. Drinks are also a great icebreaker for girl talk (especially in unknown company) and make sharing stories and questions a lot easier. I like to think I’m pretty easy to talk to, so drinks just help me be more talkative and a lot louder when the conversation gets heated. Once I’ve had a glass of wine, I can guarantee that finger-waggin’ and “oh no you didn’t” are inevitable.
My favorite part about girl talk is how supportive it is. Don’t know what to do with your hair? The girls will give you some gentle and well-intentioned tips. Man trouble? Girlfriend I am here with you to the end on that. He doesn’t know what he’s missing out on. Family problems? Honey, I’m here to listen, tell me what’s wrong. During a particularly bad time last year, one friend sat on the phone with me for 2 hours while I cried and just rambled about nothing. She could have only been half-listening or watching television in the background, but she was there, and she knew that was what I needed.
With support like that, I feel like I can kick some a** and go out and say “lookout Chicago, here I come!”
Then there’s the flip side to girl talk: the catty side. Trust me, girls can be M-E-A-N, but honestly, this is my favorite part. I’ve been called judgemental many times and it’s partially true, but sometimes it’s nice to be around friends and women who think the same things you do and you feel safe in verbalizing them. Sadly, women can be the meanest and hit the lowest on one common thing: other women’s fashion choices. Below is an example of this.
**Woman wearing an inappropriate outfit walks by**

“Did you see that?” 
“Hells yes, what was she thinking?”
“I don’t know, maybe she was drunk when she picked it out?”
“Maybe she was going for the ‘pigs in a blanket’ look?”
“You’re so mean”
“Oh shut up you were thinking the same thing b*tch, you were thinking that she’s not only colorblind, but she has bad taste”
“I know, but you said it!”
I have had this conversation in a variety of ways with many of my girlfriends. Usually it’s more crass too – I kept this one pretty PG-13. I know it’s mean, I know it’s beyond catty and childish but when you fight dirty, nothing is out of bounds. During my fashion dark-age, I am willing to guarantee that other women had the same conversation about my poor choices. Many women have looked at me, pointed and laughed. So I rationalize my catty actions by saying, “it’s my turn b*tches.”
Tonight, Liz, Anne and I went purse shopping (not for me) and out to sushi for dinner. It was a perfect girls night out with some appropriate, non-catty, super supportive girl talk. And walking to the El, it was exactly what I needed after a long week.
Now Sarah and I are going to buy my super-not-necessary-but-gee-I-want-it birthday gift this weekend. And I cannot wait to get some tips about how I should cut my hair in two weeks and what MAC eyeshadow colors I should invest in. Plus I’m sure we’ll find at least one person to make fun of.
Sounds like a solid time! Girl talk thoughts from anyone else?

26 August 2008

The list: Things to do before I turn 30

By: Jessica B.
I get the majority of my really good ideas at the gym. And last night as I worked off birthday cake on the elliptical machine, I had another one.  
As I now embark on my last year in my 20s, I thought it was appropriate to make a list of things I want to do before next year’s birthday. Basically it’s a list of things to do before I “kick the 20-something bucket.”
I had some criteria in developing the list:
  • Had to be things that are achievable (not too lofty)
  • Could not cost too much money to fulfill
  • Must primarily include things I’ve never done before
  • Combo of serious and non-serious things
Without further ado…here we go!
The List by Jess:
  • Make some amends with my mom
  • Wear a bikini in public
  • Go out on at least two dates
  • Make out with at least three guys
  • Volunteer
  • Take at least 2 yoga and Pilates classes each
  • Do something totally selfless
  • Take a disco dancing class
  • Give $100 to charity
  • Take cooking lessons
  • Make a gourmet meal for my closest friends
  • Run a 5k
  • Go to at least 12 new restaurants (no duplicates)
  • Read 10 books
  • Go skinny dipping
First off, yes I have made out with a guy before and gone on dates, like I said, there are things I’ve already done on here. But dating hasn’t been a real priority for a long time so it’s time to challenge myself to get out there. Same with volunteering and donating to charity – I have done this before but as a single-income in the city, this hasn’t been a priority either so it’s time to give back finally.
So the goal of this list is to give a me a range of new experiences (and some not) and to help me to become a better person as I embark on a new decade. I’m not saying everything will make me better but if nothing else, I’ll learn something from it. And in one year, I’ll be back writing about what I’ve learned from my year of new things.
Time for birthday cake and research for tomorrow’s post. What do you guys think about “the list?”

25 August 2008

Weekend recap: a birth!

By: Jessica B.

Okay so when I say “a birth” I actually  mean celebrating my birth. Same thing.

Thank you again everyone for your kind birthday wishes and comments on my baby pictures. I hate to say it, but I agree with you all, I was absolutely adorable. I mean look at those eyes and that face! To this day, my dad loves that second picture, drool and all. Sadly that hasn’t changed as I’ve gotten older too.
Anyhow, here’s a full weekend recap, scary lesbian bar and all.
Yes, I started celebrating my birthday weekend on Thursday (because I was off of work on Friday!)
We had our company outing at DeLaCosta downtown and it was a stellar time. The food was amazing (prosciutto! salmon! blackberry flan!) and I had my new favorite drink – move over Cherry Bomb.
My new drink obsession is a “muddle.” It’s like a fresh fruit mojito actually. The watermelon one had fresh watermelon chunks, vodka, another unknown little mix, crushed ice and a splash of club soda or Sprite. This amazing concoction is shaken together and served in a tall glass. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. I would go back for the muddle and flan any day of the week – and twice on Sunday.
Friday – Party time!
My actual birthday evening is always reserved for dinner with dad so I decided to channel my very well hidden inner Martha Stewart and throw a party! After a painful, humid morning of cleaning, I decided to shock the sh*t out of my friends more and cook (I’m not a cook – at all).
Sarah was a total lifesaver and came over early to a) calm my frantic nerves and b) help me get things ready for the party. I owe her a big, inappropriate hug. Then my real-life and some bloggy friends showed up and the party really got rolling. I have to say, I’m really fortunate to have so many great friends. Not everyone could make it but the group that did was so much fun and everyone got along! The plan was to go to the bar after awhile but everyone was having so much fun, we just stayed in. Yay! Now I could have done better moving the food out but everyone said they had fun and I had helpers to clean up too! 
And I can’t forget to mention Mega being the first person to wish me happy birthday – he even cleaned up the red wine that spilled too. What a guy! And all the booze was gone at the end of the night – apparently I have friends who LOVE to drink :)
Saturday – the big day
So despite going to bed at 2:30 a.m. the previous night, I got up in time to meet Liz and Sarah for mani/pedi’s near my house and everyone was on time. Maybe this weekend existed as a Twilight Zone? My nails look fab – even though the manicurist nicked my cuticles several times and then didn’t apologize. She got a very low tip.
Ann Sather’s was next for brunch and Sarah got them to put a candle in its famous cinnamon rolls and had them sing to me. That was awesome. And I got extra cinnamon rolls to go – score!
Dad came in and with both of us dressed up, we went to Brasserie Ruhlmann – a French steakhouse – in River North. I’m pleased to say that I got dad (who is a notoriously picky eater) to try a Frisee salad with poached egg, bacon and sausage (heaven – plus dad liked it!) and my steak au poivre was incredible. And I have leftovers!
Then came the ceremonial cutting of my insanely delicious cake before dad took Ryan, Liz and me up to the Brauhaus in Lincoln Sqaure for Mike’s belated birthday celebration (and a little more celebrating for me too). The Brauhaus was solid, German fun and the night ended with karoke at a scary lesbian bar in the neighborhood – from which Liz and I were nearly kidnapped by a scary car of guys while waiting for a cab. Normally I don’t get creeped out like that but honestly, I had a flash where I thought, “this is it. I’m on a milk carton.” Time to get bear mace.
My birthday cake with purses – dad knows me too well :)
So that’s my weekend. Thank you all again for your kind wishes and come on back for my “list” tomorrow.
How was everyone else’s weekend?

23 August 2008

It’s official: Happy Birthday to me!

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: family

Yes the wait is finally over. Sorry if my post on Thursday was a bit confusing, but thank you everyone for your kind birthday wishes.

Twenty-nine years ago today (Saturday), my mom went into labor and 3 hours and 15 minutes later, I was born.
See how efficient I am??!!!
So below are some pictures of me as a little baby (and dressed way too warmly for this time of the year in one of them). I’m off for a few days to finish celebrating my descent from the womb but I’ll be back shortly with more good stuff.
And if I fall behind in my Reader, come back, look at my adorable baby face, and I hope you can forgive me :)
Recap of the entire birthday weekend plus pictures of my super awesome gift to myself are also coming!!!