Archive for October 2009

29 October 2009

Hot for neighbor

By: Jessica B.

My building is an interesting crowd of people. It’s a condo mid-rise made up of long-term owners and twenty something men/women renting the units from owners.

Some of the neighbors are a little kooky too, I’ve talked before about an issue I’ve had in the laundry room and yes, a body has been carried out of my building too. But hey, it’s near the lake and rent is pretty reasonable!

Along with the elderly, slightly crazy tenants, the last few next door neighbors I’ve had have been new college graduates who love their loud music and giggling very loudly at odd hours. Plus, two girls squeezed into a studio? Very Three’s Company (sort of).

But recently I got a new next door neighbor. A boy (more like a twenty something guy) who is, well…HOT.

I met Ian (that’s his name!) when I was coming home from the gym and we were waiting for the elevator (so Sleepless in Seattle – sort of).  He introduced himself and we got to talking and then suddenly he’s following me to my apartment.

Yes, I had a momentary panic where I thought he might try to rob me, but fortunately, he was following me because he was going to his apartment, next door to mine.

To date, we’ve only had a two run-ins, including one where I was soaked from the rain (HOT! not really) and a Saturday night where he joked about us “living the dream” by being young and hanging out at home on a weekend night.

I have a dream he could help me live out, rawr! *insert Barry White music*

He seems nice and very sweet and from the few times I’ve listened by his door when I’m leaving (not as creepy as it sounds), I don’t think there is a girl in his life either.

Maybe it’s time I head on over and ask if I can borrow a cup of sugar. I have a huge cup ready for him to fill. Hmm, that sounded gross.

So what do you think? Bring over a cup of sugar or wait for a few more chaste run ins at the elevator before I make a move? Or do I make a move?

Dream with me how this could work!

27 October 2009

Being safe in the big city

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Chicago

Let’s be honest, crime doesn’t just happen in the big city, it happens everywhere.

And being a single girl living in the city without a car, sometimes walking home after dark or bar time, you always have to be careful.

Friends and I have a strict system when we split from the group after dark. We text one another when we get home and make sure that if a street is dark, we walk down the middle of it (watching for cars) so we’re always in a well-lit area. And of course, if we feel unsafe, just get in a cab and make sure the driver he waits until you walk into your building.

This isn’t a perfect system but it works for us.

In Chicago, I always thought that “incidents” were more likely to happen after bar time, because, well my judgement has been clouded in beer and…more beer. But while reading the RedEye last week, it turns out that the early hours of the morning aren’t actually peak time for crime. The time with the highest amount of incidents is 9:00 – 10:00 p.m.

I re-read the story twice and I found that shocking and almost unnerving. The idea that I’m more vulnerable early in the evening really took me by surprise. So why is the Top Chef time such a hotbed for crime? According to the story, it says that people drink more in the evening and may reach an “optimal level of intoxication” early.

Hmm, drunk by 9 p.m.? Yes, I’ve been there but I still always feel more on guard when I’m leaving the bar, stumbling around, digging through my purse, giggling and making one last-ditch effort to make out with a guy.

But what I got overall from this article, always be on guard because there is no really “safe” time.

That means, being aware of your surroundings, walking in well-lit areas and not listening to your iPod or talking on the phone. Sadly though, I am guilty of these last two items on a regular basis. My boss even gave me pepper spray to carry around and I thought about taking a self defense class, but do they actually work in an emergency?

So do you have a system when you’re out with your friends? This applies to even non-major city people. In Wisconsin I definitely wasn’t safe when walking to my car. Fortunately (knock on wood) I’ve been lucky so far.

F*ck you scale: Wow, thank you everyone for the feedback to yesterday’s post. I’m glad I’m not the only one who hates the weigh in and there were a lot of good tips about getting back on track food and exercise-wise. I’ve started mixing up my gym routine so we’ll see how this goes!

26 October 2009

One reason why I hate the doctor

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Food, Random

Going to the doctor isn’t a fun way to spend your day, especially when a speculum is involved.

But outside of that therapy-inducing experience, the one part I dread most about the doctor’s office is the weigh-in.

When it’s weigh-in time, I take off my shoes, jewelry and empty my pockets, because, well, that can add….five pounds maybe? I’m sure those keys in my pocket are two pounds on their own and my shoes could be made of solid lead. Maybe?

My doctor’s old scale used to be off by five pounds too so when the dreaded number came up, I could calm my nerves by saying, “well that’s at least five pounds more than I actually weigh so I’m fine!”

Not so much anymore. As I found out this weekend, the office got new scales and they are accurate, meaning no more five pound grace period.


So after trying to argue my way out of the weigh-in, I get on the scale, take a deep breath, say “serenity now” and look down to see the number and then scream (and not in a happy way).

I have put on 10 pounds since the last time I was in the office. And to drive that knife further into my fat stomach, my doctor pulls up the screen to show my last few weigh ins and the depression washes over me even more.

Nope it’s not 10 pounds, it’s more like 12-15.

Holy sh*tballs.

To be honest, I wasn’t totally surprised by this. My diet lately hasn’t been great. But, I was still disgusted and angry at myself.

Then, seeing I was upset, she said something that completely took my mind off the fact that I’m getting fatter right in front of her.

“Okay, scooch down and put your feet in the stirrups.”

CONGRATULATIONS! You officially distracted me from the weigh-in.

I had a tough time deciding if I should post this story or not because it’s a little personal, I’m embarrassed by it and it makes me sad but I had to because ultimately it would have come out sooner or later.

So after spending part of the weekend in a total funk about this news, I’m trying to be positive and I’m determined to lose this weight again. It’s time to grab a diet and new exercise routine by the balls and really get back on track.

Why? Because I’m not happy with what I see when I look in the mirror and I want to change that, both mentally and physically.

Question time! Do you dread the regular doctor’s office weigh in? Or what part of the doctor’s office do you hate the most, or do you avoid it altogether?

Oh and yes, this was just coincidental with the whole baking post yesterday (thank you for all the sweet comments!) but now you know why I have to get this stuff out of my house.

25 October 2009

Weekend recap: Kitchen adventures (with pie and cookies)

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Food

Happy Sunday everyone!

Do you know what I’m doing right now? I’m sitting in my apartment on the couch with a big grin on my face, patting myself on the back. Why?

BECAUSE I BAKED THIS WEEKEND (and didn’t burn down my apartment).

And if you know me IRL, you know that this is an epic occasion.

I went through a minor nesting phase last weekend and got the baking bug and it would not go away until I made a pie, successfully, in my kitchen…with my own hands. And my choice was simple: apple pie. It’s my favorite kind of pie (since pumpkin is definitely out).

When I made my baking announcement, friends quizzed me to ensure that I meant I would physically prepare this myself and not buy it from the store pre-prepared. They know me too well, but I was not messing around.

So Saturday I went to the store and encountered a milestone: I bought a pie tin, flour and sugar. Another sign of true adulthood.

And with some help, I went through several apple pie recipes before settling on this one from It seemed easy enough, which is the perfect way for me to start.

So here’s the end result, it makes me tear up because it’s so pretty:


And then because I was on such a role with the pie, I made red velvet cookies too (courtesy of RC) and those turned out awesome too:


Now because I’m a perfectionist, I already seen a few things I would change on the pie from a presentation standpoint, but I’m not going to let that take away from my accomplishments because I’m giving myself an A for effort!

Yeah I feel like pretty hot sh*t right now. And my book club and co-workers are going to love me because I cannot keep this stuff in my house (more on that tomorrow).

How was everyone else’s weekend? Has anyone else been bitten by the baking bug?

Feedback on Thursday’s post: I want to say a big thank you to everyone who commented on Thursday’s post about change. I was really blown away by the personal stories people shared and advice you all shared. Everyone made a lot of good points and I’m really glad I’m not the only one at this kind of crossroads. You guys are so awesome!

22 October 2009

Change sucks

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Friends

Change is inevitable.

And right now I’m adapting to the change in seasons, but there is another change going on that I have a hard time accepting, which is a change in friendships.

That is the kind of change I hate the most because I resist it as much as possible. I create a bubble of “out of sight out of mind” around the issue, telling myself that everything is fine when it’s not. I’m growing apart from people close to me and the space between us keeps getting wider.

For me, losing friends or watching us grow apart is so difficult because my friends are part of my family. I don’t have family in Chicago that is readily available to take me in and let me hide out so I view my friend relationships as extensions of my family. These are the people who see so much of the good and bad, who celebrate with me and who support me when things are rough.

And lately, I’m noticing some friends drifting away, the get togethers becoming fewer and further between, the texts tapering off and suddenly when I do see them again, there is this ocean between us of so much to catch up on, wondering where to start but never fully catching up.

I know I haven’t been the best friend lately either. Stressed at work, coming off of a non-stop summer of traveling, working late and generally feeling like there are not enough hours in the day. And sometimes I feel bad that I’m not contributing 50/50 to the friendship but am also disappointed that they’re not meeting me half-way too. It’s a tough balance.

And when I’ve told people my fears about losing these people from my life, many of them shrug it off, saying, “well what can you do?” Right now, I don’t know the answer to that, but I do know that I don’t like where it’s at now and where it is going.

Change is inevitable and often difficult, but no matter how many times I go through it, losing that once close connection with friends is always the hardest. Why do things have to change?

How have you handled changes in friendships before? Are some easier than others or does it hurt more than a break up with a guy? I’m curious what your experiences have been.