‘CTA’ Category

01 February 2011

Chicago: Six years later

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Chicago, CTA

Even though Chicago is being absolutely nailed by snow right now, there is something sentimental about today that makes me smile.

Six years ago today, I moved to Chicago. Well, technically, six years ago today I started working in Chicago but had only been in the city about 48 hours before then but I don’t actually count that. Coincidentally, just before I moved here, Milwaukee was nailed by 11 inches of snow so this feels right.

I’ve written several times about what brought me here so I won’t bore you with it, instead I thought I’d focus on what I still love about Chicago six years later.

So here’s my Chicagoversery love list:

  • The lake – I love it. It’s so peaceful and beautiful, especially in winter when the lake steams from the cold weather
  • Food – Yes, Chicago hot dogs are great but really, Chicago has some awesome restaurants, both pricey and cheap. There are always new places to try!
  • Downtown – As a kid, my family and I would come to Chicago and shop around downtown. Even though the tourists drive me crazy now, I still love being downtown because it reminds me of these trips
  • Public transportation – Even though the CTA is a major FAIL in winter (like today), overall it’s a great system. You can easily get around without needing a car. It’s not perfect, but it could be a lot worse
  • The city’s “feeling” – Yes, this sounds crazy but there is something in the air of Chicago that makes me happy and excited to live here. Like at any second, something exciting will happen
  • The people – There are a few bad apples here and some clinically crazy people I’ve run in to on the street, but overall, the people of Chicago love living here and I love being one of them

Chicago is the longest relationship I’ve ever been in and I do not regret (even on my worst day) moving down here for the three-month trial run that has now turned in to six years.

I don’t know if Chicago is my long-term future, but for now, I’m glad to be here :)

What do you love about your city?

21 December 2010

My favorite Chicago holiday activities

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Chicago, CTA

Holy cow, we are getting really close to Christmas. And because the holiday spirit has been infused in me like crazy, I’m sharing some of my favorite Chicago holiday traditions.

Yes, Midwest and Chicago winters suck. They are cold, snowy and by January they are miserable. But during the holiday time, I really love the city. Even with the snow and cold, there are fun, free things to do.

Let’s check it out

Caroling at The Bean

The Bean is one of the most recognizable features in Chicago and this year, I learned that every Friday in December, there is caroling at The Bean for an hour (depending on the temps). I love caroling so I was all in. The night Liz and I went, it was a balmy 35 degrees and we sang with the Old Town School of Folk Music singers. It was so fun!

Zoo Lights

From November – January, the Lincoln Park Zoo decorates part of the property with a bazillion lights. The animals are out (pending temps) and you can listen to Christmas carols throughout the zoo. Yes, it’s a kid and stroller nightmare at times, but walking around and basking at holiday lights is pretty f*cking fun!


When I was in high school German class, going down to Chicago for the Christkindlmarkt in Chicago was my favorite yearly tradition. Where else can you get some authentic German food, spiced wine and holiday trinkets? I always go for the Bavarian soft prezel (salivate), toasted almonds and spiced wine. And let me tell you, the latter does warm you up! I’ve been to some real German markets overseas and this is pretty close.

Holiday Train

The CTA is a way of life for me. I take it daily and rely on it to get me around the city. It’s a love/hate relationship but the thing I love the most is the CTA Holiday Train. No sh*t, it’s magical. A friend told me about it years ago and then, one magic night, Liz and I saw it. No joke, it was like…there are no words. It’s best to be surprised by the train, but this year, I hunted it down and it was still one of my favorite things about the holiday season.

What about you? What are your city’s holiday traditions?

Movie Review: Today’s movie review is The King’s Speech, staring my celeb crush Colin Firth. Love him!

26 August 2010

Case of the uglies

By: Jessica B.

Tonight on the bus home, a woman stood to exit at the stop and when the driver hit the breaks, she took an bad fall. Like fell flat on her face.

People helped her up but I felt bad and heard the guy next to me whisper to someone on the phone, “god this woman just took an ugly fall.”

So I got to thinking about what I call, “the uglies.”

Ugly fall – See example above. When a person bites it hard on the concrete.

Ugly cry – Full out sob fest, accompanied by red eyes and nose, snot running down your face and shaking from the sobs that wrack your body. Examples: Terms of Endearment, Up and Time Traveler’s Wife

Ugly eat – When the simple task of eating becomes more of an episode of Animal Planet, causing you to own it and not hide in shame while eating in public, or causing you to hide at your desk to enjoy your ugly eat in private. Examples: Ribs, Cheetos and cupcakes

Ugly shame – Your single or “home alone” activity that you embrace but do behind closed doors, blinds or rooms. Examples: eating food that falls on your boob or cleavage

I am guilty of ALL OF THESE, sometimes doing more than one in a single day.

The only one I’m actually embarrassed by is the ugly fall. I am very self conscious in public (sometimes) and I hate, more than anything, when I fall or trip over my feet in public. I feel people staring at me, laughing and pointing, or thinking “that poor girl” as they help me off the floor of the bus.

Maybe it’s because I like being independent and not relying on someone to help me all the time, so the thought of someone having to help me up is frustrating and socially crushing, but then again, when I bite it and do it well, someone better help me up.

What about you? Which case of the uglies do you find happens the most?

Review blog update: Hey! I’m updating this again after way too long of a delay. Today I’m talking about a facial cleanser/make up remover I love from Neutrogena.

01 April 2010

I’m in love with spring!

By: Jessica B.

As I type this, it’s 79 degrees in Chicago. Sure, it’s windy and cooler by the lake but it makes me want to run outside, waving my hands in the air and cry in joy.

It’s official, I’m thinking spring.  And if you tell me it’s too early…I may hurt you. So to keep my spring spirits up, I made a list of everything I’m excited about now that it’s getting warm.

Spring love list:

  • Boys in khaki’s and dress shirts without a coat (Yeah, I go into heat, you can read about it here)
  • Ice cream/frozen yogurt. I eat this stuff in winter but somehow, I want it MORE in spring
  • Open-toed shoes, aka flip flops. God I love those
  • Cotton dresses/jackets. I live in them once it gets warm
  • Sunglasses. I have a pair of Marc by Marc aviators and I’m obsessed. Any time I see sun, they’re on
  • Being outside!!! Bye bye apartment!
  • Beer gardens. Beer + outdoors = happy me
  • Fresh fruit (no scurvy!)
  • Online dating. Yes, it’s time to dust off that profile and give this another go
  • BBQing. It’s a fact that food from the grill tastes 10x better than other food
  • Days off and traveling (more on this to come, although you’ve seen some hints on Twitter from me lately)
  • Mani/pedis. My toes are really ugly right now. This weather has inspired me to change that

Okay, to be fair, I’ll list a few things I’m not looking forward to as well:

  • Sweating. I really f*cking hate it. Nothing says sexy like sweat dripping down my face
  • Humidity. My hair hates it too

The good news is that the spring positives outweigh the negatives. It’s also a great time to get winter stuff on crazy sale (hello Banana Republic!).

For example, remember this pretty shoe that I showcased in this post?

I loved them but they were $100 in January when I posted. Boo. Well, two weeks ago I was in Nordstrom and was reunited with them…at 50% off. And now, we will be living happily together in my apartment. YES!!

What are you looking forward to this spring? Big weekend plans?

30 August 2009

Some strongly worded letters

By: Jessica B.

Happy Sunday! Wooo! Well last Sunday was my big birthday and rather than bore you with tales of week-after birthday shopping all day Saturday with TC (who is a major enabler), it’s letter-time.

I had several bees in my bonnet this week that I’d like to put out there on the interwebs. So here we go!

Chicago Transit Authority bus riders –

Please shower. Seriously, I’m tired of sitting next to people  in the morning who don’t bathe regularly. I don’t want that stink on me! It makes my commute to work just awful because I have to breathe through my mouth. I know the commute sucks and I hate getting up earlier but trust me, even a two minute shower is going to feel great!

Or if you have a regular state cigarettes or whiskey scent on you, please, Febreeze before you go. I promise to say thank you.

Love, Fellow bus rider who DOES shower daily


Chicago women –

I know it’s cool for the end of August, but when it’s still 60-70 degrees outside, there is NO reason to wear Uggs. Save them for when we really need it, when it’s 30 degrees or below.

Don’t worry, that time is sadly coming faster than we want.

Love, A practical Uggs fan


Banana Republic

I still love you and give you lots of money (hello were you there on Saturday? I was!) but your new return/exchange/rewards points policies suck a**.

If you’re going to make changes like that, please give notice to cardmembers in their statements so we know ahead of time. B*tches.

Love, Disgruntled Luxe card member


Emily Blunt –

First, you’re gorgeous. Seriously, I would LOVE to have a figure and flawless skin like yours. And I know I should say I’m happy for you that you’re marrying the man of my dreams, who is my soulmate and who I love/lust after regularly, but the news of your engagement to John K did make me very sad.

Way to kill my Friday. But to quote my buddy Maris, half of all marriages end in divorce anyhow, so I’ll make a suitable wife #2.

Don’t judge me, first Michael Buble and now John K? Come on girl, save some dreams for the rest of us!

Love, Anonymous ;)


The month of August and upcoming September –

Get your sh*t together.

Seriously. I don’t want sweltering heat but 60 degrees as a high during the day? WTF? I’m not ready to bring out the fall clothes yet. I still have cute summer things I would like to wear!

Love, Me and the Midwest


Jordin Sparks –

I’m totally addicted to your song, Battlefield. And I became addicted to it because my friend TC has gotten me into watching VH-1 in the mornings and I saw your video and now that’s all I can listen to.

Thanks for burning your catchy, Pat Benetar-inspired (but not really at all like) song into my head.

Love, A girl who needs to stop playing that song 10x a day


Kate Gosselin

Please for the sweet love of god, don’t do any more media interviews. I’m tired of you appearing on the covers of my favorite magazines, like People and Us Weekly giving “exclusive” interviews.

I don’t want to read about your drama anymore!!! But thanks for the heads up about you appearing on The View, I will make sure not to watch.

Love, Me and hopefully a lot of other people


Geniuses at MadMenYourself.com

Seriously, you guys deserve kudos for creating this. It not only killed an hour on my Sunday, but it also helped me get more excited about the new season starting.

And you let me look super curvy and cute in 1950s garb and pose with Don Draper. Meow. Thank you!

Love, A big Mad Men fan

Um here is my image, I know, I had some issues with the hair and nose but that dress and clutch, HELLO!:

Well those are my letters for this weekend, as you can see, I had a lot on my mind!

How was everyone else’s weekend? Do you agree with my letters or have some celebrity or issue you would like to write a strongly worded letter about?