23 November 2008

Key Learnings, Twilight and holiday lights

By: Jessica B.

Thanksgiving is less than a week away now and I cannot wait to go home, put my comfy pants on for the holiday and let grandma get her annual insult in at the family meal. Happy Thanksgiving to us!

So let’s recap my weekend because it was pretty productive. Trust me, it surprised me too.
Key Learnings:
  • Chicago bloggers are awesome (actually, I already knew that – it’s a fact)
  • Sangria tastes yummy but can give you a serious headache
  • Any bar with beer pong is okay by me! (although I’m better at flip cup)
  • Baked mac and cheese tastes like heaven on a cold night
  • Brunch with awesome blog friends is a great way to start your Sunday
  • Standing in flower beds on Michigan Avenue is acceptable, as long as you don’t kill foliage
  • Sometimes tourists need to learn the “Chicago way” the tough way
  • It’s always good to act like a kid again, within reason
  • Everyone should dedicate at least two hours on a Sunday to lounging on the couch with mindless television
  • Reading books takes a lot of time away reading other things….like magazines, which leads them to make a large stack on your coffee table
Twilight: The Movie (spoiler-free)
So this little movie called Twilight opened on Friday. I think it’s based on a popular book, but I’m not sure. I’m not a big reader :)
Anyhow, the movie has gotten a lot of mixed reviews, but my curiosity was getting the best of me so I had to go check it out, and hopefully avoid screaming teens. In my late 20s, I’m not in the mood for it.
When the movie was finally done, I had one thought. It was only….okay
I knew it wouldn’t be a good as the books or as vivid as my imagination of the characters, but I honestly expected a little more.  Despite the slight deviations from the book storyline, I was a little disappointed. 
The angst was too much as was the hamminess of several scenes, but the one major, overarching issue I had with the movie was the casting of Rosalie and Carlisle. They just did not work for me. But Robert Pattinson is still good looking and Bella is how I envisioned her, so that was good.
My verdict: Read the books before seeing the movie
Lighting up Michigan Avenue
One of my first memories of Chicago was the lights on Michigan Avenue. Just before Thanksgiving, the city celebrates the lighting of one million lights on the Mag Mile to kick off the holiday season. 
We never came down for the lighting, but every year after Christmas, dad and I would come down to shop the post-holiday sales and see the trees lit up. I vividly remember walking down Michigan Avenue looking at all the lights, which were mesmerizing for a kid from Wisconsin. 
I look forward to this every year and now that I live in Chicago, I go every year to watch the city turn on the lights. This year wasn’t as cold, which meant more people piled downtown. I’m a little sensitive to crowds after the Obama rally, but it was still fun, and after some prodding, Liz and I ended up standing in a flower bed on Michigan Avenue to enjoy the parade. No foliage was hurt and we got some awesome pictures. Here’s one:
How was everyone else’s weekend? Let me know what you thought of Twilight too, it sounds like I might have just been too picky :)
Reader note: Thanks everyone for your mascara tips. I need to write them all down and take the list with me to the store! I love hearing what other products people use. I’m also glad to see that I’m not the only Gap holiday ad fanatic or think it’s too early for holiday decorations to be out. But after Friday, game on!


  1. Susan says:

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



  2. Dania says:

    Wow…. Thanksgiving is here & I will start my Christmas shopping from the next day to it.

  3. Rachel Burton says:

    I had no idea the scale of the holiday lighting festivities. I wandered into them by accident, but it was really awesome to see!

  4. Jo says:

    Lol I hear ya about the sangria – worst headache material ever but it is just so delicious I can’t stop making it!

  5. ...love Maegan says:

    yay for stretchy pants!!!! Have nice holiday with your family!

    I’m hoping to read the Twilight books just in time for the movie to be released on DVD. yay.

  6. Angela says:

    Some days I miss Chicago.

  7. Miss Grace says:

    I was supposed to see Twilight on Saturday but then there was so much Meh from everyone that I decided to skip it.

  8. Megkathleen says:

    I love seeing big cities lit up for the holidays! I can’t wait til I get to make my big trip to Seattle to see all the decorations.

  9. Coconut says:

    I always want to come down for the lighting, and it never works out! Maybe next year…

  10. Katelin says:

    seriously all of this reading has definitely created a stack of magazines at my place too, it’s pretty bad.

    and as for the movie. i sort of liked it. i agree it wasn’t as great as i hoped it’d be but then again i feel like that was almost impossible to reach. i think rob pattinson was the perfect edward and i sort of swooned the entire time he was on the screen but i think the movie just happened so fast. i think i’m going to see it again and see how i feel after that.

  11. jamie says:

    I can’t wait to go see that movie. Don’t worry, I read the books first!

    I bet the tree lighting was awesome! My trip to Chi-town this weekend sucked–too much work and not enough fun.


  12. Jessica says:

    I’m in love with your weekend key learnings. I look forward to them every week!

    I thought Twilight was great, haha. I actually loved Carlisle. Edward of course was beautiful. Bella is exactly what I imagined. The cheese factor was very strong at times.

  13. G+D says:

    Oh I love the lights on Michigan Avenue–that would have been so much fun to see!

    And I’m with you on the Twilight movie. Actually, I think I’m feeling even more negative than you about it–I was so disappointed. =(

  14. Wickedly Scarlett says:

    Oh, Christmas lights! I love them oh so much! And baked mac & cheese… yummmm ;) I may have to make that this week!

  15. Alexa says:

    here! here! on the two hours of mindless tv and couch surfing. sometimes i like to make it to at least 4 : )

  16. Fabulously Broke says:

    I have to agree about the reading/TV thing… except that instead of watching mindless TV for two hours, I like reading for 2 hours, and reading magazines when I should be on books

  17. Nilsa says:

    I knew I missed something this weekend … lounging on the couch! (OK, yes, I also missed the blogger meet-up, but I knew I was missing that). Thank goodness this is a slow, short week at work … cuz I need me some downtime!

  18. Maris says:

    I was entertained by Twilight but I wasn’t blown away. At times I felt like I was watching a parody on SNL.

  19. Katie Killary says:

    Nice key learnings! Brunch with blog friends sounds nice!

  20. A Super Girl says:

    Just two hours of lazy TV on a Sunday? My ideal is like 4 or 5 :-) Sadly this did not happen yesterday. I’m hoping for this weekend though!!

  21. Ray says:

    thanks for the tip concerning twilight…I will definitly read the book first.

    It was lovely to meet you this weekend…I wish I could have followed you all to the bar! Next time…

  22. Deutlich says:

    I swear, there’s always SOMEbody who’s got to make that one off the cuff remark at dinner, eh?

  23. Jenn says:

    My Sunday involved a lot of sitting on the couch. It was goooooood.

  24. L.C.T. says:

    I think brunch in general is a good way to start a Sunday. I miss brunch. I think I’ll do brunch again soon.

  25. miss button says:

    Mmmmm mac and cheese…

    (Can you tell I’m reading just before dinner?)

  26. emmaelizabeth says:

    i def agree with the mindless sunday routine. hells yes. this is why i love sundays.

  27. Maki says:

    I have enjoyed reading the books, but I haven’t seen the film yet. I am going to wait until things cool down…

    I love the photo on your post – those lights look so pretty!

  28. lifeintheleftlane says:

    Twilight was pretty shoddy (but I was expecting that since the movie is never as good as the book). I thought neither Bella or Edward were acted well. He was too grouchy and she was sort of boring. The movie completely missed out on all the chemistry that was in the book. But it did make me laugh. Oh well, I figured I’d react this way…

  29. Pam says:

    I agree, I thought Twilight was okay. I think Rob as Edward was fantastic and I actually liked Kristen as Bella a lot more than I thought I would. It was entertaining but there were WAY too many cheesy flashbacks and shots of trees.

    I went to the Festival of Lights yesterday, too. My friends and I watched the parade from my office, which was pretty cool because we had a great view. Unfortunately, we decided to go to Emerald Loop for dinner and drinks afterwards…and my wallet was stolen out of my purse. It put a bit of a damper on all the fun. Needless to say, I was not a happy camper at the end of the night.

  30. Erin says:

    I, too, was a bit disappointed by Twilight. I liked Charlie and Jacob, but the movie just didn’t thrill like it should have. I just think it could have been so much more.

  31. dolcechic says:

    This reminds me I forgot to mention my favorite mascara…Lancome hands down! Definicils is my absolute favorite. I’ve been using it forever and ever.

    Did you end up getting boots? Your weekend sounds so fun. Chicago is one place I’d love to visit!

  32. howitstarts says:

    I’m still slowly making my way through the book. Thanks for the comment though, I’m glad the end will be good.

    My mom’s favorite place to go over the holidays was always Marshall Field’s to see the windows decorated. I don’t know that they’ll do it this year but I’m sure we’ll go see the lights downtown at least.

  33. S. says:

    Sounds like a fun-filled weekend!

    I don’t know about reading before watching the movie….I AM a stranger to Twilight but I’ve always read the books then watched the movie.

    9 times out of 10 am disappointed in the movie. Then I hear the people who haven’t read the book think it’s a really good movie so I’ve decided to change my ways.
    Movie first. Book second.

  34. Sandy says:

    I’ll never give in to Twilight! ;)
    I’m bummed I missed out on the meet up, glad everybody had fun!

  35. Mandy says:

    I was disappointed with Twilight as well. As the credits rolled I just sat there and thought, wow, they could have done so much more…..

  36. Tipp says:

    Remember when Twilight was just a time of day. I live on another planet that has no idea what it is.

  37. Rachel says:

    I have officially declared that bar my new favorite bar. I shall gather up my “Woo girls” and go there from now on, which will either attract more business or drive it all away….

  38. erin says:

    i have constant stacks of magazines at my place since i get so many at work….and i NEVER have time to read them.

    next time we’ll play flip cup…