Archive for March 2009

12 March 2009

Exceptions to my dead inside nature

By: Jessica B.

I may be dead inside, but I still cry during certain books or movies. I’m really not a big crier but sometimes certain moments or scenes just really get me and I’ve become so engrossed in a character or story that a turn of events just hits me hard.

And because I have grown exceptionally sappy in my late 20s, I still can’t control the urge to cry from certain movies and books.
So here is a list of books, movies, etc. that have made me cry. Two of them in particular made me cry so hard that I had to stop watching/reading, get myself together and then go back to finish it.
Steel Magnolias
The funeral scene gets me every time. D*mn you Sally Field!

Terms of Endearment

The last quarter of the movie make me cry every time. D*mn you Shirley MacLaine!
Bridges of Madison County

I can’t believe I am admitting that I cried reading this book. Shame
Time Traveler’s Wife

One word: SOB. Another two words: convulsing sobs
Eclipse (book #3 in the Twilight series)
I might have been hormonal when reading the end of this, but I cried so hard I couldn’t fall asleep afterward
Titanic
Outside of the cheesiness, the ending was sad, seriously
Armageddon

The scene with Bruce Willis and Liv Tyler gets me. Breaks my heart
My Girl
Loved this movie and the funeral scene, just heartbreaking

So what have I learned from this. I am a S-A-P, much like I’m a S-I-S-S-Y. You may not agree with me on all of these, but there are a few that, well, if you didn’t cry, you’re the one who is dead inside. Kidding!

Updated: I forgot to add too that I’m a nasty crier. Like my face gets all red, eyes are puffy and makeup runs. During Juno, another movie I cried in, tears started and when my friend Liz looked over at me, I actually said, “look away!” like I was a monster.

What books or movies make you cry every time you watch/read them?

Well tomorrow if Friday and I am wicked excited about this weekend. That’s right, wicked.

Be sure to check back for a full weekend key learnings recap, which should be interesting because on Saturday, Chicago celebrates St. Patrick’s Day! Let me know you are all doing anything fun to celebrate.

11 March 2009

Puppy kicking

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: family, Random

I need to clarify the title of this post because it is not about literally kicking a puppy. It’s an expression for the point I want to make.

A friend and I coined the term “puppy kicking” when talking about those of us who seek approval from others. This can be approval from our friends, family or colleagues who we seek recognition or validation from, but who ultimately let us down.
Validation is not a bad thing. It helps encourage you when you’re having a bad day and with the simple phrase of “nice job” or “I missed you,” it can bring someone totally around. And, it’s fast and easy to do. But some of us, or our parents from another generation, are not always the best at doing that.
After my dad remarried, I threw myself at my stepmother to have her recognize me as more than a stepchild. I wanted her to feel the same pride in me that my dad does and include me as part of the family. But the more I tried to win her attention, through trying to cook dinner or take an interest in things she liked, the more I felt left out or like I was trying too hard. Rather than say “you did a good job on…” it was more of what I didn’t do right and I would feel defeated.
But every time I go home, I still work to earn her approval, like a wounded puppy lured back to the steal-toed boot, begging for more.
I’ve found the “puppy kicking” theory doesn’t apply as much to work or friend situations because you can be more honest with them because, well, you’re not related to them. But family is harder, those rejections and recognitions can hurt more than anything else. I would assume it’s the same from a boyfriend/girlfriend, etc.
Many of my friends who claim they don’t go back for a “puppy kick” anymore too, I’m sorry but they’re wrong, just like I am when I say that. It’s a human emotion, as long as you don’t let the validation you may not receive rule your life. Look for the validation and recognition you want in the small things because there is always someone who appreciates you and what you do.
I go home again in a few weeks and I’m sure I’ll be up for a puppy kick. But I don’t let it wound me as much as it used to.
So I don’t know if there is a question out there for everyone but I guess I can ask, do you identify with my “puppy kicking” theory? Or how do you deal with situations where you want to be recognized and aren’t for one reason or another?

10 March 2009

The birds on my windowsill must die

By: Jessica B.
In Disney movies, there are always magical birds who befriend the princess, sing along with her, cheer her up and help her get prince charming. As a kid, I wanted to be a Disney princess, complete with my own set of magical birds to wake me every morning.
And now, I do have my own birds, but they are SO not the Disney fairy tale. In fact, they are driving me f*cking crazy.
The ledge outside my bedroom window is a popular gathering place for birds in summer. Why? I have no idea. At first I thought it was kind of charming, having birds greet me when I wake up, but then those little bastards starting singing at 5 a.m. even on weekends and, well they DON’T STOP.
While I lay in bed, trying to squeeze out the last few minutes of peace before my day starts, those little shits are outside my window, cat calling to each other, or whatever they’re doing in bird language.
I won’t lie, I can get a little…testy…when I’m woken from a nice slumber, so while birds sing to me early in the morning, I cover my face in my pillow and scream back, “PLEASE FOR THE SWEET LOVE OF GOD SHUT UP!”
They don’t understand me. It’s almost as if they do it now to purposefully irritate the sh*t out of me.
The other morning, I was woken up early by one in particular that was chirping just outside my screen and I got up and hit the glass, sending him away in fear. Gosh if that works, imagine what will happen when the BB gun or air rifle come out :)
I’ll trade the birds for Prince Charming, or the above mentioned gun. Really, I’m not picky, the cosmos can pick for me.
I know it goes with “apartment living” but is it really necessary for birds/car alarms/neighbors to do this to us? What sounds or noises wake you up or keep you up late at night?

08 March 2009

Key Learnings – NYC travel edition

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Food, Friends, travel

Wow did I get lucky this weekend (not physically.) I left Saturday morning for NYC, when it was just raining moderately in Chicago and now it’s a full, blown storm. I’ve been reading tweets from Chicagoans and it’s crazy! Fortunately, the weather in NYC has been 60 and mild the last two days…and I am loving it!

Being in New York has been great, but before we get to that, let’s hit the key learnings.

Key Learnings:

  • Everything in NYC is more expensive. Everything
  • Cab drivers are much nicer about paying by credit cards than Chicago drivers (Chicago cabbies should take note)
  • Being awake for nearly 24 hours can start to mess with your head, especially with daylight savings added on
  • Eating a cupcake made from pure sugar will help keep you awake
  • Walking is the best way to see New York, but be sure to take breaks and don’t walk 60+ blocks in one trip
  • When an “unmarked” cab driver asks if you want to ride share with a guy who is “out for a smoke,” say no
  • Eating with bloggers is the best because everyone takes pictures before we eat
  • Asking me what I “wish” for will automatically get a response of, “a pretty pony”
  • Every accessory you could need can be bought on the street, especially $5 wraps (bought four this weekend. Someone stop me)
  • Snapple is more readily available in NYC than anything else, even water
  • A pet store and bong shop make for interesting retail neighbors. Get baked and then get a dog 50 percent off!
  • Hint: when someone tells you not to take a picture, that doesn’t dissuade me, it makes me more determined

Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to upload any of my pictures from this weekend because Lulu didn’t come with me, so those will be coming soon. I got some great photos.

When tourists come to Chicago, we residents are not always the nicest when we talk about them. They flood the sidewalks and ask dumb questions to the bus drivers. But, this time the shoe was on the other foot, as I was a tourist in NYC this weekend. But I like to think I was still “big city savvy” when maneuvering around.

It’s late here and I have a big day Monday so here is another list, this time of things I did in NYC this weekend:

  • Met my friend Maris at the Empire State Building (very Sleepless in Seattle)
  • Walked from Midtown to West Village to Upper East Side back to Midtown (my legs were killing me)
  • Waited in line for a Magnolia cupcake (and then went back Sunday for another one)
  • Had an uncomfortably close encounter with a pigeon (I am scared of them)
  • Found my favorite candy at Dylan’s Candy Bar and overpaid for it
  • Ate at Craftbar with Ashley and Maris (give it a grade of a B, but I do recommend the appetizers we had: crispy chicken wings with spiced creme fraiche, mushroom bruschetta and chickpea fries)
  • Celebrated Lacey’s engagement with awesome New York bloggers and a retired Chicago blogger
  • Had bloggy brunch at SaraBeth’s with lovely lady New York bloggers with salmon eggs Benedict
  • Acted like a total tourist, taking pictures of Times Square, Fifth Avenue and Rockefeller Center
  • Sat on a bench, watching a couple flirt on their first date and a man drink gin straight from the bottle
  • Dined at Perilla with Ashley (give it a grade of an A+++++) My pork loin, hanger steak with creamed spinach and mushrooms, risotto and apple bread pudding was just beyond words. But no Harold sighting (shoot!)

Tomorrow I head back to a flooded Chicago and I’m looking forward to it. But I guarantee I won’t let another three years go by without a weekend out here. It was a lot of fun!

How was everyone else’s weekend?

05 March 2009

Prepping my closet for spring!

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Fashion

Today was a great day in Chicago with almost spring-like temperatures. So if the weather is turning around, that means it’s time to get my closet ready for spring.

I wear a lot of black, gray and white, but now that I’m seeing spring clothing and colors out on Michigan Avenue, my wallet is crying to go stimulate the economy. So far, I’ve resisted shopping for spring because I don’t like buying spring clothes when it’s still cold out, but that might be changing :)
A college friend used to get a complete, brand-new wardrobe every year. Literally every year. Goodwill loved her. But I usually try not to go too crazy with new clothes every season, because I tend to hold on to clothing until they wear out, or fade. I will pick up a few things every year though to keep the closet fresh.
So after some quality time online, here are a few things I have my eye on for spring, from my favorite stores: Gap, JCrew and Banana Republic.

Oh and I am a total liar about spending because while I was writing this, I went and spent some change at Gap.com and JCrew.com on spring clothes. I am so weak. But I’m excited to wear all of my new stuff!
Has anyone else started shopping for spring clothes? What spring clothes are your favorites to pull out or what’s on your “must buy” list?
Well the weekend is almost here and I am super excited about my trip to New York on Saturday. It will be a brief trip full of cupcakes, New York bloggers and food. I’m planning to drag people to Top Chef-owned restaurants too so if I see you, be ready!

That means I’ll also be blogging from NYC this weekend and the key learnings should be entertaining!

Snuggie note: Thank you for all the funny comments on the Snuggie both here and on Facebook. Yes, it was a lot of fun to wear it but sadly I do not own the Snuggie myself, but I can see the appeal. Maybe next year for Christmas! And if a man would date me after seeing that picture, he’s definitely date-worthy.

Online dating turnoff note: Several people also mentioned the whole “bait and switch” with photos in online profiles. I do 100 percent agree with you on this. That should have definitely been on the list. Thank you for reminding me!