Monday, December 20, 2010

Social Media

I recently watched a movie (I can’t for the life of me remember the name or the rest of the plot) that talked about 2009 like it was WAY in the future. Flying cars, futuristic clothes- the works. We’re not quite there yet in 2010, but sometimes I still can’t believe the strides technology and social media has made. I remember the days of calling our friends on our home phones asking “can you play?” Granted I was much younger back then, but that’s what we did. Or we just stopped by. But if we were lucky we could leave a message on an answering machine, otherwise we just waited until they got home. That's the way life was- lots of waiting and we were okay with that. Now, my brother who is the same age now as I was then, is texting his friends, IM-ing or waiting for his parents to come home to take him somewhere because walking or riding your bike takes too long. It seems to be more of an instant gratification thing. I'm in that mindset now too sometimes, but he can get just way too impatient if a friend doesn't text back right away. He'll text again and again. I ask him why he just won't call and leave a message, and he looks at me like I have 3 heads. Then I feel inclined to say "you know when I was your age" but then I stuff that inside cause I'm not that old! There are so many ways of getting a hold of someone or putting yourself out in the cyber-world it’s amazing. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, but sometimes I feel like I can’t keep up. My brother is 12 and I’m 29 and he’s more advanced than I am! I admit, some of it is probably just me. I don’t really instant message, I joined Facebook a little over a year ago and just started to blog. I don’t have an I-Phone (though I REALLY want one) and I haven’t started tweeting- yet. But my old ways have definitely changed to keep up with the new ways of the world. Where I once used to spend hours on the phone catching up with friends, writing notes to pass in the hall in my school days or sending a letter to a friend who moved away, a simple “how have you been” text or email takes its place. Sometimes I’m okay with it seeing as how I seem to have less time to be on the phone, and of course email is so quick. But sometimes, I miss writing a letter to someone and thinking about how excited they’ll be to get it (or am I the only one who loves getting mail?) or the anticipation of knowing you’ll be getting a letter soon. So, in 2011, I’m going to try to bring back some of those old traditions. I’m going to send more letters/cards- even just little simple ones to let friends know I’m thinking of them even if I get to see them. I’m going to make that phone call to the friends I haven’t talked to in 4 months so I can hear their voice instead of the hey-how-are-you text. I’m still going to text and email, but I’m going to go old school again too. I’m still going to Facebook, still going to blog and I think I’m going to join twitter. Even though technology and life is speeding up and it can be hard to keep up, it's time to because some things really are too good not to share right away. And I think I’m going to have a lot of good things to tweet about in 2011.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Winter Wonderland

I think it's safe for most of us to say hello to winter and snow. I hope everyone is safe and warm and didn't have any issues with this (stupid) storm we had this weekend. I’ve been away for awhile- which does not please me since I’m still pretty new to blogging, but time got away from me. Every time I decided to blog something, something else happened. But now, I’m going to commit to getting that in check and make 2011 the year of blogging for me! Can you believe it’s going to be 2011? I cannot. I’ve heard that time starts to fly faster as you get older, but I didn’t believe it until this year. It’s truly crazy. I remember last New Year’s Eve like it was yesterday and here we are preparing for it again. I'm going to need time to slow down a little bit, I already can't keep up!

I’m excited for the holidays this year, not only because we’re in our new house, but we’re HOSTING both Christmas gatherings. My husband’s side always has their Christmas the Saturday before to ensure everyone will be there, so that is this Saturday. And with him being one of five boys and all of them married with kids, it's going to be a packed house. Then on Christmas Day, my mom, grandparent’s aunts, uncles and cousins from my mom’s side will be at our house, and again it will be packed. But to me, pack them all in, the more the merrier! I’m so excited to have them all over because none of them except my mom have seen our house. And I just love being around my family. And I’m not going to lie, not having to leave the house sounds pretty good too. So, hopefully I’ll remain calm and not let the stress of party planning and hosting bother me. I’ve already started my baking- and that includes one of my favorite Christmas treats- the green wreaths made with Corn Flakes…YUM! 

Exhibit A

Someone in my family would always make them so I’ve never made them before until Sunday and oh my are they easy AND good. I have a feeling they are going to get me in trouble! Is it weird to still make those when April comes? What are your favorite things to bake? And what holiday traditions do you prepare for this time of year?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Weighing Down

This post has been sitting in my drafts for awhile, it's not even a huge deal, just took me some time to hit publish. It's my first "venting" post. And while I still feel guilty for it because there are so many more important things going on- I also need to remember this is my space to write my thoughts and reach out to the blog world. And maybe one day in the future, I can look back here and be proud of the changes I made. So, here it goes. Weight loss is hard. Now, I don't want to sound too dramatic because I know many people have their ups and down, but this is my worst personal demon. It's also something I don't talk about a lot save for in my Weight Watchers meetings or with a select few friends, one if which who is taking the journey with me. I don't know that I "struggled" with weight when I was younger, I was just kind of oblivious too it. I wasn't the overweight kid in grammar school. I didn't go away to school, but I did work retail and the eating Taco Bell after a night shift caught up with me. Time went on and I started really feeling the effects of my weight mentally. In 2002, I was going through a particularly rough fall quarter in college and weeks before my 21st birthday, I broke down. I was in my then boyfriends driveway and started crying uncontrollably about my weight, the way I looked, the stress of school, everything. After it happened I wanted to brush it off- and to be completely honest, I don't remember a lot of that night. I know that for the next few weeks a lot of people were there to support me and help me and I know that that night was the start of years of beating myself up about my weight. It didn't help that certain members of my family always made not so nice comments about it too. When I turned 21 I was so excited, all but a couple of my friends were older than me, and they were so excited to take me to all the fun places and dance our nights away. I was the biggest in the group, and a lot of times I spent those nights out mentally beating myself up and wondering why I couldn't be pretty and skinny like my girlfriends- silly I know, but it still happened. But there were also times that I didn't think about it at all- and of course I never talked about it. Finally in May of 2007, a friend talked about her joining Weight Watchers and I decided to join with her, and so did another friend. I didn't feel like I was being saved and there was no big "it's about time" epiphany, but I just did it cause why not- her idea was my in.

I saw success with it right away and within a couple months I lost 20 pounds, and 14 months after I started I was 6 pounds away from my goal, having lost 55 pounds. I never felt better about myself. I hate to sound vain in that way, but I finally felt like a "normal, cute" girl. It was wonderful. Somehow, life happened and I started gaining some weight back- which looking back at pictures was ok because I think I was getting a little too skinny. It was still a manageable lifestyle, but it became a little harder for me to maintain, even though for the most part I was still doing good. In June of 2009 I gained 12 pounds back and in August just as I was getting it under control, I fell at the gym (the day before my wedding shower and a month before my wedding), and severely sprained my ankle. I was on crutches and in an air cast and later had months of physical therapy and shots. Needless to say, I couldn't work out for 8 months and coupled with the first year of marriage I gained a lot more weight than I should have. The program was slightly followed but not like it should've been and I didn't work out at all- it didn't occur to me then to continue lifting hand weights and do sit ups. Every time I tried to get back on track, my body didn't respond like the first time where there was more of a shock to my system. The weight came back in different places which was a hard pill to swallow too. The worst part is that I never quit Weight Watchers. Who gains weight while still a member? Today, I'm still struggling. I haven't lost all the weight I gained back and everyday is a constant battle with my mind trying not to be down on myself. My leader tells me it will happen- she quit and gained back all her weight 3 times and has now kept it off for 14 years- but somehow I don't have faith. I feel like I'll be stuck this way forever- mostly because the results aren't showing like before and I don't know why. But I also know I need to do better. And I need to not stress and be kinder to myself. I try to believe that people don't see me for my weight but what I have to offer- wonderful friendship, loyalty, fun and the occasional sarcastic remark. I know this is true, but for me, weight is a big thing. I feel I needed to write this out so I can become more accountable. I know I could use all the support I can get and would also love to support others on their journey. So if anyone knows anyone else taking the weight loss journey who struggle, succeed or anything let me know and we can help each other. Support is invaluable and I know with a few more pushes I can finally get my inner demon under control.

Friday, November 5, 2010

You Capture

I'm a day late on You Capture this week, but thought it would still be fun to participate. I tried to think outside the box a little for Halloween- we don't have any kids to dress up yet and I spent the day at home waiting for all the trick or treaters. Sadly we didn't get as many as I expected! There's always kids running around all over the neighborhood so I was so excited to get a lot of visitors and was fully prepared with all the good kinds of candy and even a fun bowl from the Target dollar spot. (I LOVE Tar-gey). Now I have a bunch of leftovers and think I've been on a sugar high all week.

I love fun holiday home decor. I never though I'd be into it, but man I can't get enough. My best friends very talented mom makes quilts and decided one year to make placemats. The other side is for Thanksgiving and there is a Christmas set too. I love them.

I suppose with all the traffic the next set isn't really "quiet," but it was for me as I could just get lost in the sunset. Isn't is beautiful?! I turned off my radio and just took it all in amazed. The red tones wrapped around to the sky behind me and then to the left it was just blue. It's amazing what mother nature can do. (I really wish I would've had my regular camera with me- and no worries, I was stopped when I took each picture with my phone. I'm sure the neighboring cars thought I was nuts)

Check out more Halloween and beautiful silence here.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hall of Fame

My husband and I have a tradition- we go to White Castle on Valentine's Day. I could care less to do something big and fancy on that day- I never really had any use for it. I've always found it hilarious that White Castle advertises to make reservations for dinner there every year. So, for our first one together in 2008, we went there and now it's something we've vowed to do forever. He wanted to have them at our wedding reception for a late night snack, but the hall said we couldn't bring anything in. My brother-in-law, the rule breaker, paid no mind to that and had my niece leave to go get them. Our wish was fulfilled- and they were a HUGE hit.

Who would've thought this would lead him to be inducted into the 2010 White Castle Hall of Fame?! (Also, who knew there was such a thing?!) On a slow day at work sometime after the wedding, he decided to write to them and tell them his/our story. When he was little, he and his late dad used to go fishing and get White Castle and his dad would order extra pickle- he was the only one he knew that ever ordered extra pickle. Until he met me. He immediately thought of his dad and how I must be a good match for him and here we are today. He submitted the story and the picture of us above and he is now one of 13 people being inducted. In two weeks, we'll fly to Ohio for the induction ceremony where we have to dress fancy and he'll have to give an acceptance speech. He's been interviewed on the radio and has been contacted to give more to other stations and newspapers. I can't help but laugh about this whole thing- it's so fun! I love how something so little (but apparently much bigger than I thought) can bring so many memories. I can't wait to tell our future children and grandchildren about their "famous" daddy.

If you're interested, click here for the interview he gave yesterday.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

29 Is Fine

Today is my 29th birthday. Now, anyone that knows me knows I have always LOVED my birthday. A lot. I get teased for how much I love it. It's the one day that the world stops and it's all about me. The montly countdown begins at the half way mark in April, and once October hits it's "26 days til my birthday, 25 days til my birthday", you get the point. And being that it's at the end of the month, let's just say it's a long October for anyone who has to hear it. But, I don't care. I love my birthday.
See, even back in the day I loved to get my party on.

Now I feel kind of weird writing my own birthday post, but there is reason behind it. This year, I'm not as excited about my day (gasp!). In fact, up until someone reminded me last week, I forgot it was coming. I think part of it has to do with everything going on with our house and moving and all that. Having a week off really messed up my concept of time. Part of it is probably that in 2 days it's my husbands birthday so everytime I count down he adds two days and does it too (I think it's to make me mad) and instead of having my own birthday celebration I have to share it. Selfish, maybe, but it took some getting used to while we were dating! But the big part of it is- holy cow I'll be 30 next year. A whole year from now, but still, it's close. My "timeline" I planned for myself when I was younger is not what it was and I'm still getting used to that. I was supposed to have one or two kids by now and getting settled into life forever. Now, I've barely been married a year, been in a house for two weeks and just starting to get ready to start a family. And I know this is all ok. I'm by no means old, and I just have to except that my plan is different now. Sometimes it's a hard pill to swallow, but most times I couldn't be more grateful because with the old plan, I wouldn't be with my husband and where I am now. So on this 29th birthday, I am just thankful for everything I have, the amazing people I'm surround with and just to be able to celebrate. Happy Birthday, Me!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

You Capture- Orange

I love orange! And it is definitely plentiful in Chicago during fall. With so many options it was hard to decide what to include in You Capture- but I found 2 favorites.

First, I love these pumpkin candies. YUM. I wait all year for them. I enjoy all varieties of candy corn as well. Have you tried the caramel apple kind? Be sure to save me some at the store because they are delightful and you'll want to buy them all. Anyway...mmm tiny pumpkins....
 I love eating the green stems off first, but when I'm not feeling dainty, I pop the whole thing in my mouth.

This, is "Hungry" from the past Weight Watchers commercials. I've been a member for 3 years and it's still sometimes hard, but he sits on my desk at work as a reminder to not eat the whole bowl of pumpkins. However, sometimes it doesn't work (don't tell my meeting leader!)
Also, please note the orange pen in the cup- bonus capture. I have a slight obsession with pens. But that's a whole other post.

Head over to Beth's for more orange fun- can't wait to see more shots!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

We Moved!!

I've been absent from the online world and out of touch with anything news related for pretty much the last week as we finally closed on our new house last Tuesday! It was a rough road with more downs than ups, but everything finally went through and we are homeowners. The closing process went surprisingly smooth and we were in and out in an hour. My always helpful brother in law met us at our new house with the truck of all our stuff (prepacked on Monday) and the unloading began. I can't believe how much stuff we have. We were so blessed at our wedding shower last year to receive so many nice things and we didn't really open anything because we wanted to save it for our new house- we just didn't think it would take a year to get! So it was like Christmas as I unloaded all kinds of new treasures. There was a lot of work involved in the last week and more to come, but we are living in our home and I love it. I still sit there like "is this really mine?!" It hasn't sunk in yet- and I think it will take some time- and furniture, but I'm so glad  everything is done. It's safe to say we won't be moving for MANY, many years! Pictures to follow- as soon as I unpack my camera!

Friday, October 8, 2010


This week, I wanted to write a post about how difficult life is right now. House buying stuff, marriage stuff, etc. I don't want to be thought of as a complainer, but sometimes a girl just needs to vent and I thought blogging would be a perfect outlet. But so many other things have been going on and have come up this week with people in my life that are much more important- a child's health, their own health, serving our country, etc. and I am humbled and realize that no matter how aggravated and upset I get right now, that this that I'm going through- shall pass. And I pray fervently for those with more urgent things going on and that everything will work out. Sickness will heal, wisdom for doctors and protection for those at war. Peace for those who lost a loved one and those with unanswered questions and diagnosis. I know that everyone is entitled to have their bad days and to look for reassurance, but this week, I choose to move past it.

My blog journey has been short as I'm just diving in, but if it's one thing that I've learned from behind the scenes and just reading is that it is an awesome community of support, learning and so much more. Something I'm thrilled to embark upon. I'm sure one day I will write that venting post, but for today, I'm just thankful to be here.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

You Capture- Faces

For as easy as this assignment could've been, I unfortunately didn't have a lot of time with my camera. Life got in the way, so I had to make do with my trusty cell phone camera. We celebrated our one year anniversary this weekend and we went back to the same restaurant we went to while on our honeymoon in Orlando. We were so excited when we saw they had one in Chicago and came up with this idea back then. I of course forgot, but my husband was kind enough to remind me, so off to The Palm we went. These are the faces of people excitedly waiting for their delicious meal:

Can you find any additional faces in these shots??

Give up???

There are some painted on the walls!!! Bonus! (The one to the right of my husband's head is Lou Piniella- Go Cubs!!) I wish I would've taken some better shots of some of them, but the ones I wanted would've involved me getting in the booth with some other patrons. I'm not sure if they would enjoy that.

Go get some more face time over here with Beth.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

You Capture- Togetherness

As much as I can't stand the thought of winter coming around the corner, I am excited for all the togetherness that happens during the holidays. Although it can be quite hectic running around to here and there, it's still such a special time. I didn't get to capture any big group togetherness this week , but we did get to spend time with a special little lady.
This is my month old great niece. I'm a Great Aunt! It's so weird- and makes me feel kind of old- but it's wonderful and she's the cutest little girl. And look at all the hair!!!! Plus, I'm not old! Right?! Right.

Apparently my husband can't go anywhere without Bears paraphernalia.

Who doesn't like togetherness with a cute baby?!?! And with Dunkin Donuts and french bread on the table no less!!!

Let's go hang out together here for more You Capture!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

One Year

One of my favorite pictures

Today, my husband and I have been married one year. I can't believe it! How does time fly so quickly?! It feels like yesterday we were spending an amazing day of love and fun with our family and friends. Almost everything went perfectly, and what didn't was quickly forgotten because of the rest of the joy surrounding us (and a quick trip to Jewel by my matron of honor to buy flowers to fix the bouquets). The day was just wonderful- I still remember every detail and I hope that never fades away. The weather was nice, even though it drizzled a little bit in the morning, but when it was time to take our pictures outdoors after the ceremony, it was absolutely beautiful. The mood was a mixture of nervousness, joy and a little touch of sadness- mostly because I couldn't believe I was old enough to be someones wife. I spent the morning with my mom, aunts, bridesmaids and hair dresser and there were some tears, but mostly from laughter.

I can't even find the right words to express our first year of marriage. I'm not going to lie, the first few months were rough. Everyone warned me of it, especially since I did not live with him before we got married, but I never believed people. At least I knew to try not to feel bad if there was a rough patch because everyone of my married friends went through it too. But the love, laughs and joy we've had so far? Nothing can compare to that. I feel very lucky to have found him and that he chose me. And to think this is just the beginning. I can't wait to see whats in store for the next 50 years! My matron of honor said it best in her speech- I hope we look back on our wedding day as the day we loved each other least and that our love just continues to grow. And so far, it's true.

And now, I will bombard you with pictures of our special day.

I was so nervous!
Officially man and wife!

In case you're wondering, yes, the vests are navy blue and ties are orange for the Chicago Bears. (I can't believe I agreed to it)

I'm a Cubs fan, he's a Sox fan. Baseball season is rough on a marriage.

I wish I had more cake than I did- YUM.

The gem of the evening (and can you believe that ridiculous sweater vest?? A Mike Ditka replica- ugh.)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

You Capture- Flowers

I LOVE flowers. I don't know many people who don't, but I go crazy for them. They are just so beautiful. My favorite are gerber daisies. I had them in bright colors for my wedding. I wish they would last forever- they are such happy flowers! Other than the "popular" flowers though, I don't know anything about them. It's really something I want to involve myself in more. I can't wait to have a garden or some kind of landscape to plant as many as I possibly can. Cause really, who doesn't smile when they see this:

 Or these:

And I can just imagine running through these:

Silly I know, but how fun!

You can see more beautiful here. Enjoy!

(All these pictures were taken on a walk through Grant Park and down Lake Shore Drive)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Movin' On Up

Well, down rather. This past weekend we moved out of our 3rd floor condo. Oy. To be truthful, it went MUCH smoother than I anticipated, thanks to my take charge brother in law. After spending the week packing numerous bins and boxes (where did all this stuff fit?!?!) I was sure I was in for a horrible moving experience. To say I was freaking out was a small understatement. I never moved a full house before- only moved some stuff to my husbands from my moms so I had no idea what to expect. My husband threw out his back a few weeks ago and has been sick for the last couple weeks as well- perfect timing. We didn't have as much help as we imagined because of changes in work schedules and the fact that I didn't want to use all my resources this time as hopefully we'll be moving again soon when everything for "our" house goes through. And of course, the weather was calling for rain Saturday morning after days of nothing. But, everything worked out great and after starting at 10am the majority of our things were out by 1:30! So for now we have stuff everywhere-my moms, his moms and a storage facility. Sunday we went back to finish taking everything, clean and fill a few nail holes in the walls. That part of the process took longer than the move, but at 8:30 that night, we opened a bottle of champagne and made a toast to the memories we had there and to looking forward to the future. I'm not going to lie, I cried. I may have only lived there a year, but we started dating 2007 so I spent plenty of time there over the years. It's so nice to be out of there, but it's still a little hard. And now, we close on the sale of the place tomorrow!! I'm going to be so excited to have that done with. What a huge weight lifted! Here's hoping everything goes just fine!

Goodbye condo!! Thanks for the memories!!!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

You Capture!!!

This is my first ever You Capture - (though I've been a reader and admirer for some time, I've just started my own blog and now I can participate)- and I'm so excited about it!!!

This weeks assignment was signs. I had a lot of fun, but didn't take as many pictures as I wanted to. I'm still figuring out my new camera and editing and all that. Plus, we've been packing as we're moving this weekend, so it's been a little busy. I'm hoping to get better as I go along and will be able to include more pictures. So without further delay...

This first sign is the one I see every morning and where I spend Monday-Friday.

What a beautiful blue sky!!! Nothing is much better than the entire Chicago skyline on a gorgeous day!!! I'm very thankful to have spent my post college working years down here. There is such an energy that just gets you going.

Next, the sign of new life to come!!! Who doesn't love an adorable baby belly!?!?!
This is my good friends baby belly! We had lunch yesterday to catch up. Pregnancy suits her so well and she's loving every minute of it. I'm so excited to meet her baby girl at the end of October! She keeps growing and growing and as we all know, that's a good sign!

So there you have it! I'm so excited to get more into this- I look forward to Thursdays every week!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

On the Hunt

One of the biggest things going on in our lives right now is house hunting. My husband and I will be married for a year on the 26th, and to be truthful I never thought we'd still be without our first home. After marriage I moved into his condo that he's had for five years. It's perfectly nice and I'm grateful we had a place to call home- but we both knew we wanted to get out soon. And- it's full of boy stuff. Because I didn't think we'd be there forever, I never really added much of my own taste to the place. Don't get me wrong, I've introduced Yankee Candles, vases full of flowers and picture frames to the home, but nothing extreme. We have plain white walls as we repainted right before I moved in. It went from this:

See boy stuff. To this:
(Please excuse the mess and the fact that I forgot to cut my head out!)

To say I married a sports fan is an understatement. Now, many will think that I made him remove these things since I was moving in- this is not true. The decision was made solely to make sure all the holes (and there were a ton) were covered so we can paint before putting the place on the market. The condo went on the market in November and after a very slow few months, we're hopefully closing on the sale very soon. In fact we're moving out this weekend to go home. That was a whole other life lesson- buying a house is not easy. We're on house #3 since March, but we're confident this one will go through. The first house we put an offer on in March was a short sale and fell through after 5 months of waiting. Not something I ever want to deal with again if I can help it. House #2 we found and put an offer on the weekend after the first house fell through. After 2 weeks of back and forth with a previous contract they promised would be terminated, they chose to cancel our contract instead and try to move forward with the other buyer even after a host of problems. House #3 we found the next day (apparently we are good at finding houses and agreeing) and we're in the midst of waiting for the appraisal. So we're hoping the third times a charm! Fingers crossed!!! Even though it's been a rough road, we're excited to have our first home on or around our first anniversary!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Here I Am

Well, here I am! I've decided to join the blog world! It's a good way to keep friends and family in the know, meet new people and learn new things. I've already learned so much from the blogs I've been reading and I'm excited to have this "journal" and look forward to everything that comes along with it.

Why the blog name? Ever since the days of 110 film, I've always loved taking pictures. I have tons of pictures in albums from grade school through now, and countless pictures without albums or not even printed thanks to digital cameras and the ability to store. And- I recently became the proud owner of a Nikon DSLR! I'm so excited. Since I work in downtown Chicago, I've decided to try to make it a point to walk around on lunch and take pictures of the beautiful scenery. Especially while I can before winter comes. Ugh. So I tried to get a little creative with the name and BAM. Here we are.

So, I'll be writing often about things going on, things coming up and just life in general. I'm excited for this blog journey and thanks for coming along for the ride!