Archive for August 2011

30 August 2011

Taking a travel break

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: travel

Sometimes, my motto is “go big or go home.” When I want something, I go after it and tend to make sure I get everything out of it to ensure I got the full experience.

I’m strictly talking about travel here.

In the last year, I’ve been fortunate to take a lot of amazing trips, visiting gorgeous spots for work and personal plans. I’m grateful for those experiences and wouldn’t trade them but when I was preparing to leave Seattle/Vancouver (recap is coming!), I had a realization.

I need to take a travel break.

I love traveling, exploring and seeing new places but I haven’t been around Chicago much this summer or around my friends and I want to change that. I need to.

After my recent trips, I realized I had not seen many of my friends in more than a month. I miss them, miss talking to them and going out with them. Text messages do not have the same effect, even if it’s better than nothing.

So I’ve put my plans for a week-long fall trip on hold so I can just BE in Chicago. I’m still doing a weekend in LA and NY (not in the same month) and then I’m staying local. And I’m excited. Sure, there may be a month where I’m screaming to get out, but for now, being lazy around Chicago with friends and my house sounds perfect.

Right now, I need to find more balance in my personal life with friends, work, etc. And if I’m serious about trying to date, I need to be here for that too. Unless Prince Charming is in another city, well, but that hasn’t been the case yet.

What about you? Do you like to be on the go a lot or prefer to hang around home?

28 August 2011

Another one of those weekends

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Friends, Random

Happy Sunday everyone!

This was another one of those weekends, which was full of pugs, fresh air, good friends and….adult beverages.

The kind of weekend where I really see first-hand how many wonderful people are in my life and feel so appreciative that they are my friends.

It’s the kind of weekend where I go on a hot date at a coworkers house (photo of my date is below) and get to smother her pugs with attention and love. Yes, like my fur nephew, they hand it out for free.

His name is Chase and he’s so over me already

But after holding a baby and sniffing his head (which his mom was fine with), our sangria turned in to straight Merlot, which turned in to cocktails (then a fishbowl of them) and margaritas, which I blame for me being on the couch Saturday. Moments are fuzzy, but I can remember looking out on the city from the coworker’s deck, feeling the breeze on my face, hearing us laugh and thinking, yeah I’m happy.

It was also one of those weekends where I put aside my awkwardness (or most of it) and assembled a small group of close friends to have dinner on a patio, surrounded by Italian red and white wines, and several laughs at my expense. But looking around that table, seeing them there and talking among one another made me happy because they came out, spent several hours with me at dinner (seriously, service took forever) and then many joined me for a drink or two after, leaving me to walk in at 2 a.m.

So now it’s Sunday, I’m ready to get back in a routine. Let’s do this.

How was your weekend?

Movie Review: Finally saw the movie based off one of my favorite books – The Help

25 August 2011

Just say yes

By: Jessica B.

While hiking in Seattle last week, I had a thought, that didn’t revolve around food or cocktails (for once).

It started with thinking about a really bad rom com with Jim Carrey that came out a few years ago called Yes Man. Quick summary, it’s about a guy (Jim Carrey) who decides to open himself up to new possibilities by saying “yes” to everything. Really, you don’t need to rent it, it wasn’t that good.

But the general idea stuck with me.

I consider myself to be a pretty easy going person but in order to expand my dating horizons, I need to take a “just say yes,” approach.

That means, if a guy asks me out, I’m going to say yes. I’m not going to second doubt it or look for reasons to say no. If he’s nice, seems sincere and I’m interested, I’ll say yes. No more “screening” phone calls to see if I’m “meet in public worthy.” I’m horribly awkward on the phone so that’s working against me already. Instead of turning down something that could be, well, something, I’m going to just give it a try.

So that’s my plan. Just say yes. Whether it’s to coffee, drinks or even just a walk to talk more. What do I have to lose?

And I need to be better about telling guys I’m interested in that I want to get together too. Yes, the archaic woman in me is still hesitant to do so, but now, I need to grow my own pair of dating balls and just go for it. Fortunately, I have my patented JB-way to deal with rejection without breaking a sweat. I mean, their loss right?

Why this sudden go-getter attitude with guys if I’m content solo? To be honest, this is the first time I feel ready to receive someone’s attention and affection.Two years ago, I met a nice guy who was genuinely interested in me, and I pushed him away because I couldn’t “hear” his comments that I was beautiful and fun to be with. I wasn’t ready then, but I feel ready now.

Of course, I’m not 100% convinced there is a Mr. Right out there for me, but while I keep living my solo life, if I find someone I’m interested in (and who feels the same), I’m ready to make room and time for him too.

Clear eyes, full hearts…CAN’T LOSE.

Are you a “just say yes” kind of person toward something in your life?

23 August 2011


By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Random

Yes, I’ve been a bad blogger again because of traveling. I will be recapping Seattle/Vancouver this week but rather than start blogging again with that, I’m writing about something else.

Today is my 32nd birthday.

Last year, I wrote about looking forward to starting my 30s without the “turning 30″ shadow over my head and going after (finally) what I want.

And I did. In the last year, I’ve challenged myself a lot and stepped (at times) VERY far out of my comfort zone, but now, these adventures have put me in an awkward spot: at a crossroads.

Not to wax poetic, but in the course of this year’s activities, such as going to Italy, visiting friends in other cities and going through some personal challenges with weight and home items, it has left me closing 31 and entering 32 feeling a bit…uncertain.

Now that I’m in my 30s, have a little more disposable income and no husband, kids or dog to keep me in Chicago, I have a lot on my mind about where the future is for me in several parts of my life.

But of course, I’m not dwelling on these things today :) These are real questions and answers that need to be addressed in the next year, but not right now.

And in looking back at this year and the things I did and didn’t do, overall, I still feel optimistic about the future and content at where my life is at now. And I love that.

Yes, I have pushed to make up for things I didn’t do in my 20s, gained and lost dear friends, but with every new adventure, I cannot wait to see what will happen next. And there is much to look forward to: weekends in NY and LA, a trapeze lesson, holidays in Chicago (one of my favorite times of year here) and of course, more travel adventures (HAWAII!!!)

I continue to learn and make mistakes, that won’t change, but I’m no longer scared of what lies ahead. It’s time to continually embrace me, my life and the positive things within them. And I’m still grateful for those things.

So today I’m celebrating my birthday with a massage, mani/pedi, champagne and sea salt caramels, and dinner with my dad. Then, this weekend will get a little crazy (I hope!)

And I will be back to regular blogging this week! Hope you guys are still out there :)

12 August 2011

Goodbye free dryer

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: apartment

One of the crown jewels of Chicago apartment living is an in-unit washer and dryer. Seriously, I dream about it. So until I have this crown jewel to show off to my family and friends, I have to use the communal washer and dryers in my building.

It’s better than going to a laundromat but it’s still a pain.

Until, someone in my building introduced me to…free dryer.

Yes, a dryer among our communal ones that didn’t require coins to work. You just had to jimmy the coin slider (sans coins) and it would work. So, for the last 2 years, I’ve only had to pay to wash clothes, never dry. That’s a dollar savings (which makes long-term economical sense).

Then, I was doing laundry last night in prep for Seattle when I realized a painful truth. Free dryer was gone. That b*tch sold out and now takes coins.

In a matter of 10 minutes, I went through all stages of grief, starting with denial. I don’t want to say I got rough with free dryer, but yeah, I Ike Turner’ed her around a bit in case she was holding out. But deep down I knew, free dryer was gone.

So now I have to make sure I have coins to wash AND dry. I know this falls under the #firstworldproblems scenario but still. When you get used to something like this, it is sad when you know those good days are gone.

Fingers crossed that whatever broke her to begin with, breaks again. Until then, I pour some detergent on the ground to honor you, free dryer. I’ll see you with dryer sheets in the big laundry room in the sky.

Oddly, the “hogger” I once wrote about is STILL obsessed with using that dryer. I think she knows something I don’t…for now.

Sigh. Do you have any fun, sad or commiserating stories about laundry rooms?