Wednesday, December 31, 2008

farewell 2008

Another year come and gone. I can't believe we've lived in Bloomington for 2 years already.

Here are a few of my favorites from '08:
  • movie: Once (though it was released in 07) / Sex and the City for 08 so far
  • album: Coldplay Viva la Vida
  • song that got the most iPod action: American Boy (it's silly but so catchy!)
  • book: A Thousand Splendid Suns
  • tv show: tie between Lost (came back better than ever!) and How I Met Your Mother (just watched all the seasons on DVD)
  • fashion trend: purple clothes and accessories
  • green trend: reusable canvas bags in most stores and more people actually using them
I'll be back with a word on resolutions (though I have to admit I can't even remember my 2008 resolutions).

Monday, December 29, 2008

holiday hangover

I haven't been too terribly busy yet I haven't had much time to sit down and type a short post. Hope everyone had a great Christmas, vacation, etc. I'm working on my 2008 high/low lights. Be back in a day or two...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

why I hate winter today

My car was an absolute icicle from the freezing rain we got all afternoon so I spent 15 minutes scraping my car. Seems like not very long, but when you are being pelted with freezing rain and are about to fall over because the ground is a solid sheet of ice, 15 minutes is a freaking eternity.

There is no ice scraping needed in LA for obvious reasons. And Chicago may be really damn windy and cold, but driving was a rarity for me, especially to work, so scraping my car was a rare occurrence. Now it's a multi-week (and sometimes multi-day!) pain in the butt.

I am starting to understand why some women I know hope Santa brings remote starters in his sleigh and why they have visions of seat warmers dancing in their heads. Driving during a Midwest winter sucks!

Monday, December 22, 2008

baby shower

A few photos from Saturday's shower honoring the mom-to-be, Lynn:
bump watch is so on!
Baby Burchfield's boo blankie

Sunday, December 21, 2008

snap, crackle, pop

and I'm not talking about rice krispies. We had a terrible ice storm on Thursday, and we still haven't recovered. A lot of people were without electricity Fri. and into Sat. The trees are totally coated - this view is from our back window this afternoon - more than 48 hours after the storm. Everything is still coated in ice. The wind picked up last night so the trees are snapping constantly, and I was really worried about our Red Bud out front. It's leaning on the front corner of our house (directly over our bedroom), but it's holding steady so far.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

(jury) duty calls

I've been to our Law & Justice (not to be confused with Law & Order) center twice this week.

Monday I made it into the courtroom for jury selection, but the defendant had a change of heart before we got started and took the plea deal. I guess he took one look at us and decided to take control of his own destiny.

Tuesday I watched the orientation video again and sat around for 2 hours. One defendant settled again and one trial got delayed so freedom was mine once again.

Most people I've talked to enjoyed jury duty and felt it was interesting and informative. I will withhold judgment until I really participate in the process.

Also want to say bravo about the new Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan. He's done wonders for Chicago Public Schools. I can't wait to see what he does at the national level.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

muppet christmas

Nothing says Christmas like The Muppets Christmas carols. We listened to it on the way home from Chicago this afternoon and I'm still singing "12 Days of Christmas" muppet-style. Check it out - you won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

slap in the face

Most Illinoisans have been floating on cloud nine since election day. Our senator is the president-elect! Woo hoo!!

That jubilation ended yesterday. Our governor was arrested and now faces numerous federal charges. If convicted and sent to jail (and it is safe to assume he will), he'll be the fourth Illinois governor to do time in jail.

How can this happen? Yes, the state has a rep of crooked politics, but so do A LOT of states. We were easily duped voters. However, I don't think anyone could have foreseen the level of crazy that is our governor.

It's a sad, depressing situation at a time when we should be celebrating. Change has come to the national political scene. It needs to come to Illinois too.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

christmas spirit

It's been hard to get in the Christmas spirit. The recent snow and a visit to the Chicago institution I will refer to as "Marshall Field's" has helped.

There is something about State Street during the holidays...shoppers, window displays, bell just starts to feel like Christmas.

Now that I have some shopping done I need to focus on decorating the house. We're still covered in pumpkins and Thanksgiving. Flipping that over this week will seal the deal. Of course I have my holiday tunes playing already - that started Nov. 28th - and my iPod will be going to the office this week for entertainment.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

the hottest ticket in town? reindeer poop.

Our little local zoo made national headlines this week when they began selling ornaments made out of reindeer poop.

Look out Rudolph, there's a new kid in town. "Ealu and Rika The Poopy Reindeers" just doesn't have the same ring to it though.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

first snow

We woke up to a few inches of snow this morning! The forecast is calling for up to six inches by tomorrow, but not sure that's going to happen since the snow tapered off this afternoon.

Everything was coated in white so I snapped a photo of the very large tree in our backyard.

It's been nice to have 6 days off...back to work tomorrow. Have a good week!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

thanksgiving, part one

We just returned from our first Thanksgiving celebration (with my family). I was going to post photos of the frosted sugar cookies I finally got around to making. However, I didn't realize I left my camera at my mom's house until we completed our 45 mile trek. Ugh. So instead I will just tell you they were beautiful and delicious.

I also made a very tasty sweet potato dish. Now I know many of you out there discriminate against this poor vegetable, but I bet I could sway your tastebuds if you gave me a chance. A big thank you to Brian Burch's aunt for the recipe that has become a favorite at our house around the holidays.

Gotta go digest so I can prepare for round two tomorrow.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Since Barack Obama was elected president I've been thinking a lot about Michelle and the girls making the move to D.C. I switched schools more than a few times as a kid, and I faced a major upheaval when we moved from Kansas to Illinois in 3rd grade. It wasn't easy (and may dad wasn't the president of the free world either).

I also think about Michelle (and there is a very interesting article in the Trib related to this topic) - a highly educated, achievement-oriented, powerful woman giving up her job, circle of friends, etc. to move to D.C. and become first lady. No doubt this has an enormous set of amazing perks too, but it is an undeniable fact that Michelle's goals will be on the backburner while her husband is president. I do hope Michelle finds her special niche as first lady, in addition to being a spectacular mom. Clearly she has and will continue to balance her many roles.

I have found it so interesting the way Bill Clinton has stepped back (as much as he can anyway) to let Hillary shine the past few years. First he supported her senate bid, then her presidential bid, and now he's opening up his foundation to intense regulations so she can be Secretary of State. It's the least he can do, IMO, but it's great to see. I have no doubt Barack will do the same for Michelle after the presidency.

All partnerships seesaw according to this give and take. Sometimes it's your turn to drive and sometimes you are the passenger. It's all part of the fun, crazy ride we call marriage.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


It's hump day, but it doesn't feel like it. I guess the week before Thanksgiving drags since we're all eagerly anticipating a day or two off next week.

We're not hosting Turkey Day this year. We'll celebrate with my mom and Lawrence on Wed. and with Ben's mom and dad on Thurs. That's a lot of turkey, etc. in 24 hours. We're up for it (as long as pie is involved).

I haven't heard much movie/Oscar buzz yet. Seeing movies is normally one of my favorite things to do over the holidays ... I can hardly think of anything to go see right now. The Reese/Vince romantic comedy looks so-so.

Scrabble is definitely on the agenda for next week. Ben's dad is the overall leader, but I think I can surpass him with a win or two. Gotta go get my dictionary out and start studying.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

holiday shopping

I ran some errands one night this week and today and am amazed at the number of people out Christmas shopping. I don't know if they are scavenging for deals or what, but I was surprised to see so many people out, parking lots packed, long lines at the registers, etc.

I have a few gift ideas brewing, but have yet to start a list or purchase one item. I'm just not ready. What about you? Let me know by taking the poll.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


would be my code name as president (or a CIA agent or anything requiring a code name). 

The past presidential / first family code names are very entertaining. 

I wonder if you get to pick your letter? I can think of other fun names if 'P' isn't available. Marigold. Lily. The options are endless, but I would prefer something flower oriented.  

As a 'P,' Ben would be Pepper. What about you? Or other ideas for us? 

Sunday, November 9, 2008

attack of the leaves

When we were living in LA I really missed fall - the leaves especially. Fall out there is just another day of sunny, 70 degree weather amidst the palm trees. 

Now we live in an older Midwestern neighborhood, and the trees on our street are plentiful. And OMG you can not imagine the leaves. Tons. You get a few at first and it's lovely. You think, "oh, look at the leaves! fun!" And it is fun the first time you rake them, but not the second, third or fourth. 

I took this photo yesterday from our back door - week two of raking. It's been all Ben so far because I've been painting the kitchen. Just a few touch-ups on the trim left to do and then it's done. 

I'll try to post a photo of the leaf pile - seriously, this thing is every kid's dream - as long as the giant leaf vaccum doesn't come tomorrow.  

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

4 years ago

We were sitting in our Chicago apartment watching the results come in. A few states away, my brother and sister-in-law were anxiously awaiting the birth of their daughter. My mom was calling every hour with updates and the roller coaster election results coming in were making me insanely stressed out.

My niece finally arrived in the early hours of Wednesday, November 3. By that time on the election front it was looking like Bush was going to the white house.

It was a very good and very bad night.

Fast forward to today: Abigail just celebrated her fourth birthday and we are waiting (for what I am praying) is an Obama victory.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

tootsie pops

Anyone need a couple hundred tootsie pops? I got nervous we didn't have enough candy for the trick-or-treaters since it was like 70 degrees here on Friday and I expected hordes more kids than last I bought a huge bag of tootsie pops...and now we have nearly the entire bag left. We had about 150 kids (well, a few college students too) which is about the same amount we had last year. My favorite costumes: little red riding hood and 2 twin boy dragons.

I'm glad Halloween is behind us and Election Day is just ahead.

I spent another entire Sunday painting the kitchen. One more coat of paint and it's done. I'll post the before and after photos soon (hopefully).

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

halloween carol

Did anyone sing a Halloween song in grade school beside me? Ben doesn't know it and it's really bugging me!

I will try to "sing" it for you:

H - A - double L - O - W - double E - N, spells Halloween!

Whether this song has others words, I don't know.

**OMG** I just found 2 hilarious audio clips thanks to Google. The first is sung by another poor soul like me who couldn't remember any of the words. The second version is an authentic copy. Words and chorus PLUS creepy sound effects. Hilarious!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

halloween week

I love the week of Halloween! Decorations are up all over the area...some good, some not so good.

good scary
orange lights
scarecrows, mummies and ghosts
straw and pumpkins

bad scary
20 headstones - it's a yard not a cemetery
electronic stuff that shrieks

I'll post a photo of our pumpkins later this week...and hopefully I'll find some time to bake pumpkin-shaped sugar cookies. I feel like Halloween is sneaking up on me!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

hats off to cold weather

Hats are definitely one of my favorite things about the fall and winters months. A cheap accessory that is stylish and functional!

I know some people complain that hats make their hair flat or static-prone ... I can't relate. When your hair is coarse and unruly like mine, hats are an ally. They can calm big hair and shield it from dampness.

Most of my hats have fond memories (the free Michigan hat I got at my first hockey game. Another purchased in LA even though there were so few days to wear it). I can't wait to find my next treasure!

Sunday, October 19, 2008


We celebrated ISU Homecoming yesterday by going to the parade and football game. We lost the game (in the 4th quarter. again), but it was still a beautiful, fun day.

The highlight of the parade was the Big Red Marching Machine dog. Too funny. He just needed a mini instrument to carry.

And it's always fun to see Reggie Redbird. Kids and adults love him.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


This word has been everywhere lately - a "vacation" for people who can't afford/don't have time to leave home.

Besides making a point to explore our community and try new things, my other favorite, easy adventures are books. I love travel narratives and stories set in other countries.

Right now I'm reading The Spies of Warsaw by Alan Furst. Like most of Furst's books, it is set in Europe during pre-World War II. The descriptive narrative transports me straight to Paris, Warsaw - wherever the story twists. It was rainy here last night which made it even easier to imagine my dark, gloomy surroundings as a European spy.

I'm sure I'll need even more staycations as winter arrives so share your book recommendations!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

pumpkin patch

It was a lovely fall weekend in central IL. Un-fall like temperatures in the low 80's, but it's hard to complain when you know winter is coming.

We visited a pumpkin patch on Saturday and found a few good pumpkins to take home. It's so hard to choose - I wanted to get 10! Apple cider and donuts also made it home with us (insanely good).

Elsewhere in town many high schools celebrated Homecoming and we hosted Band Day on Saturday (high schools from all over the state compete).

We're looking forward to ISU Homecoming next weekend. Woo hoo for fall!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

what are we waiting for?

We opened two bottles of wine on our anniversary that we've been saving since we got married. One was great; the other so-so. We still have more than a few bottles to open too so it'll be exciting to see what we get down the road.

Open That Bottle Night is a specific day dedicated to uncorking wine that's collecting dust. It's such a fun idea!

Other than the wine (and at least we drink from our special collection once a year), I am generally against "saving", new clothes, whatever. I used to be a saver. Then we lived in a lot of closet-sized apartments and having "special" things stashed away or sitting around just didn't make sense...or maybe it was just the fact thing I saw the special things constantly because there was no space to hide things away and I didn't have the willpower to resist...?

Regardless of the reason, I am no longer a saver. New items or special gifts are meant to be enjoyed so do yourself a favor and enjoy it as much as you can.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

a money tree

is my anniversary present! We exchange traditional wedding gifts each year (in order so far: paper, cotton, leather, silk and wood).

Ben got some miscellaneous cooking items and a hand-carved wooden box from India.

Our fifth anniversary was a good day (other than Michigan and the Cubs losing) and it was fun to think we now share our anniversary with a lot of other couples since yesterday was a Saturday. The weather was just about exactly the same as our wedding day: sunny and 70 degrees.

If only we were off to France today as we were back then.....

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


This Saturday marks our 5-year wedding anniversary! I can't believe it.

In honor of our fifth, here are five things I've learned since we got hitched.

  1. Marriage is not "just like living together"
  2. Compromise, compromise, compromise. You will not always get your way.
  3. Louder voice does not equal increased understanding
  4. Sometimes it's best to hold your tongue. Very. Hard. But almost always the right choice.
  5. Practice patience and you'll get better at it (I like to think so anyway)

Sunday, September 28, 2008


I forgot to mention one of our new favorite shows! Feasting on Waves airing on Food Network with Alton Brown.

I'm making a new Giada recipe tonight: creamy orzo. Normally I would run from anything with peas, but this sounded good. Giada's Everyday Italian cookbook has a lot of great stuff in it, including a section of quick and easy weeknight recipes. Ben doesn't crave Italian as much as me, but he's game for the occasional carb-crazed dinner (extra bonus tonight: he loves peas).

The tree outside my window already has some leaves turning red. It's time to break out the fall decorations.

Have a good week!

Friday, September 26, 2008

the week so far

We TiVo'd the debate and it's mind-numbing. I am eager for Election Day.

I was out of town most of the week so am trying to catch up on all the season premieres. My thoughts so far:

Heroes - Only made it through the first hour because I was getting so confused I had to stop. I really need to refresh my memory on last season.

My Name is Earl - I am committed to this show because it is one of the few funny comedies on tv, but no one needs two episodes in one night. 22 minutes of Earl is my limit.

The Office - My favorite show of the week. Ryan as the new receptionist is genius.

Ugly Betty - I really missed this show, but a few of the new storylines are already bugging me. Why Lindsay Lohan? Why the dumb Daniel is a player storyline revival? Glad to see Amanda and Mark again.

Grey's Anatomy - Once I got past the ridiculous "hook" that McDreamy is dead, I only lasted 15 minutes. I'm cranky from the long week so will give it a few more minutes before I pull the plug.

Let me know about your love/hate shows.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

sports bonanza

We had an action-packed weekend of sports. Here are the high/lowlights:

  • Cubs clinch! Woo hoo!! We get a few hours of celebration before the battle continues.
  • ISU Redbirds looked good in their home opener until the second half. Eastern came back to beat us in the last minute. Ugh.
  • Bears defense crumbled and allowed 10 points in the final minutes to tie the game and then we lost by a lame field goal in OT.
Big TV week of premieres starts tomorrow (Heroes should be great though I can't freaking remember what happened in the last ep...I've got to watch a replay online), and I'm traveling Tues.. - Thurs. night so my TiVo is going to get a workout. The show I am least looking forward to is Grey's Anatomy. I still haven't decided if I'm going to watch. At the very least I am putting it on probation - 2 or 3 eps to tell a decent story or I am done.

I just realized it's been a year (already!) since I started my blog. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Yesterday was my first day as a Habitat for Humanity volunteer! My company is sponsoring a house in the area and we have build days scheduled Sept - April. We'll get to see the house built from the ground up so it should be very exciting. Yesterday I painted at another house that is almost complete because we have gotten SO MUCH RAIN that they haven't been able to dig a basement for our house yet. Anyway, it should be very educational so I'll tell ya all about what I learn!

We've gotten steady rain since Friday so it was a fairly low-key weekend around here. I made chocolate chip bars today and that's about it. ....

On the TV front, I still need to watch Project Runway from last week; thought the first ep of Fringe (JJ Abrams' new show) was above average; can't wait to see Tina Fey on SNL as Sarah Palin; hatin' our stupid local directv situation because we don't get The CW; am excited for Heroes in a few weeks; in the middle of season two of How I Met Your Mother and am loving it..definitely reminds me of Friends (in a bar instead of a coffee shop).

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


If you ever visit Bloomington I will take to you the Miller Park Zoo. It's a super cute, small zoo nearby that we just love. Ben went there as a kid and we've taken Abi to hang with the animals too.

They are currently raising money for a new Sumatran Tiger exhibit (we were at the Zoo Do fundraiser on Sat. night.) so it's actually a small but growing zoo. My favorite animals are the wallaroos, which get to hop around freely with visitors in a walkabout area. Until you come visit, check out the meerkats via webcam!

Something else great about central IL: the Pekin Marigold Festival. I've been going to this festival for years and years - it's one of the best things about Pekin...believe me it's a short list!

The annual arts and crafts festival was this past weekend so I got my plastic Marigold cup (we really have no cupboard space for these silly things), enjoyed a homemade ice cream sandwich AND apple dumpling (why try to choose?) and browsed rows and rows of crafts (though I managed to leave without any junk).

The Marigold Festival signals the beginning of fall and although I'm excited to break out my pumpkin decor, I'm not quite ready yet.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

why didn't I think of that?

Years ago when we were living in Chicago I got so annoyed when it was raining during my commute because no matter what shoes I wore they were completely soaked once I got to work (so I had to take an extra pair). Not to mention the entire bottom of my pants/legs, etc. was also soaked. When discussing my problem with Ben he suggested some sort of cover I could just wear over my shoes...sorta like a shoe cover you'd see in a hospital. Guess what? Someone else had our clever idea!(and actually put their idea into action).

Shuella's are stylish and functional, and I really want a pair. Wellies are cute too, but big and not easy to transport.

I guess rain is on my mind - we had an all-day rain last week due to Gustav, more rain last night, and might get more tomorrow. My newly potted mums are soaked. They need a few days of warm sun to get going. Meanwhile, where can I get a mini plant umbrella?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

new photos

Abi and Ben at the playground (if Lazy Boy made swings, it would be something like this)

Not much beats an ice cream cone!

Abi and Aunt 'lissa (and puppy) at the mall

Monday, September 1, 2008

happy labor day

It's great to have the day off! We're in PA wrapping up our visit with Abi. We've played at the park and rode her princess bike (she pedals fast and slams on the brakes while I walk behind). Abi's getting so tall! I will post photos once we get home.

We'll be back on the road for the 8-hr trip later today. It was a fast drive on the way out so I hope it feels fast on the way back. Enjoy the holiday!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


From the Olympics to the DNC! We're checking out tonight's speaker, Hilary Clinton, and being thankful the press has gone quiet for a few moments (though they still have to provide highlights during the speech at the bottom of the screen).

The clock is winding down on summer so we've decided to head out of town this weekend and visit Abi (and my brother and sister-in-law) in PA. I have such a long list of fun stuff to do together (visit the park, ride bikes, play games - oh boy!). We can't wait to see her....we just have to overcome a super long drive before then. In fact, this will be our longest road trip since we drove to IL from LA. I do love the occasional road trip. Reading, strange gas stations, scanning license plates and rest stop times!

Saturday, August 23, 2008


We finally watched No Country For Old Men and I have NO IDEA why this movie won the Best Picture Oscar. My complaints:

  • There was way too much time spent on wounding people, and then the repair of said wounds.
  • A lot of pointless violence. Really, we got that Javier was ruthless and crazy. One or two murders would have done it.
  • The entire movie is about Javier Bardem and Josh Brolin's cat and mouse game and then *boom* Josh is dead in a pool...and by related thugs, not Javier. Wha??
  • Tommy Lee Jones had some interesting moments, but they were mere moments. Then the movie ends with a weird/boring scene between him and his get his character but it isn't developed enough for viewers to really care. And THAT is how the movie ends??
What am I missing? Do I just not get the Coen brothers? Did anyone like this movie??

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


We're watching the beach volleyball finals right now. I hope my fellow 30-somethings Misty and Kerri can get the gold.

It was fun watching Nastia and Shaw rally in gymnastics.

Track and Field is getting old. It's too much talk for such short events. They need to cut in right before events start and spend less time commentating. TiVo has been very handy.

I wish I had time for more of the cable channel events. I loved watching all of the rowing Sunday.

What has everyone else loved / hate so far??

We're just over a week away from Labor Day and I'm trying to get in summer lasts (pool, another book, more ice cream and drinks, please!). It's been particularly hard to get a "season finale" in for all my favorite summer clothes, shoes and accessories....almost time to switch over into some fall transition pieces.

Don't let the end of summer sneak up on you - get all your fun in now!!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

do something

do something is the title of the crossword puzzle I'm working on (in today's Chicago Tribune magazine) and it's pretty tough so far. I'm not normally a big fan of crosswords, but I am trying to beef up my word skills for Scrabble and I figured this was a good way.

I finished the crossword puzzle two weeks ago with some help from Ben. Last week's was impossible...we'll see how I do this week.

Our house is quiet tonight - Olympics playing in the background - as we get ready for a busy week. Another work week for me and back to school for Ben.

Blah. I want some more summer vacation. For now I am going to keep working on the crossword and avoid thinking about Monday.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


It's unseasonably cool this week, and it's nice, but also worrisome. Does this mean a super hot Sept. or an early Fall? I don't think I am ready for Fall just yet.

Today was move-in day at ISU so all the students are landing. It definitely brings back memories...and it definitely doesn't feel like it was 8 years ago. Ben's enjoying a week off before heading back to campus on Monday.

I've been staying up late all week hooked on the Olympics. The 10-11 p.m. events are killing me. I was pulling for the ladies during gymnastics last night and was glad they came out with a silver medal. I couldn't believe it when I heard one of the gals who competed on the uneven bars (Chellsie I think?) performed with a broken foot. I guess bars aren't very demanding on the feet, but it still had to be a major mental distraction and the landing couldn't have felt good. Crazy.

Monday, August 11, 2008


We're all in it! We've watched every day since Friday's opening ceremony, and I must say the absolute BEST thing about 2008 for us: TiVo. You can FF through commercials, crappy commentary/interviews and just get to the competition.

A few Central Illinoisans are competing so we're excited to watch for them (2 are runners and 1 is a volleyball player). My favorite sports so far are swimming and gymnastics. I am really afraid for the women gymnasts. They didn't have a good start last night. On the swimming front, we're super excited for Michael Phelps, Ben's U of M comrade.

Watching and cheering is so fun! Hope you all are enjoying it too.

Friday, August 8, 2008


We finished our softball season last night. It was a match for the ages. The two last place teams battling for 5th place. We technically had the better record because one of their two wins came from a forfeit. We earned our two wins.

Our first inning started strong, but our two run lead was short-lived. Due to injuries and travel, our bullpen was non-existent so we limped along until the game ended in a 15-run advantage for the other team.

I can sum up our season very easily: we had more post-game beers than hits every week.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

double h = double trouble

Greetings from Chicago! I'm in town on business for a few days, and it is very H&H (hot and humid). Very Florida-like.

A quick aside about Florida - We took a trip to the sunshine state (more than) a few years ago and my hair shrunk to a few inches of curl due to the out-of-this-world humidity. It had this overly moussed wet look every day ... I do not like Florida.

Obviously it is August in the Midwest and high heat and humidity are expected. I just wish hats were more widely accepted. There are only so many curly, creative styles this girl can manage. I am ready to get braids a la Monica on Friends (remember the Barbados episode??).

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Anyone excited to see the new Harry Potter in Nov.? A trailer for Half-Blood prince is up today.

Favorite new product of the week: Essie Good To Go nail polish (it's a top coat). Definitely the fastest drying stuff I've ever tried. I went to bed shortly after finishing my toes and didn't wake up with smudges or sheet marks.

It's good to have Project Runway back. My early favorites are Suede and Kellie. Least favorite is Stella. I don't understand how she managed to survive the terrible garbage bag design!?

Monday, July 28, 2008

warning: it's the last week of july

I was stunned into silence this morning when I looked at the calendar. How can it be August in just a few short days?

I was full of summer hope back in May all giddy with my to-do list. Now summer is winding down and I still haven't finished the trim on the front porch (blaming the rain and heat can only get me so far).

Now I am to the point where I want to squeeze in more fun stuff such as:

  • a few more days off in Aug...maybe a long weekend or two
  • enjoy fresh fruit and ice cream (ok, I say more ice cream every season)
  • read
  • pool time
  • cocktails on the patio
  • annual root beer float (and that covers more ice cream too - very convenient)
Make your last summer "must do" list today. Add an extra scoop of fun with a cherry on top.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

movie tidbits

We're trying to catch up on months of losing $ with Netflix! I so hate when that happens.

Here's the rundown of recent movies:

  • There Will Be Blood - liked it less than I thought I would. It's way too long and Daniel Day-Lewis is the entire movie. It just got old.
  • 27 Dresses - liked it more than I thought I would. James Marsden is good, and I always like Judy Greer. Katherine Heigl didn't get too annoying.
  • Vantage Point - a good story that does get somewhat over-told though the different perspectives kept my interest.
We also saw Batman last night. Heath Ledger's Joker is as good as everyone says ... could do without the Batman voice (too distracting!) and would have liked more Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman. Chicago shots were fun to see too.

Next up: I'm Not There and No Country For Old Men.

Monday, July 21, 2008

seen and heard

I keep meaning to post on these items so here's the mish-mash.

Two of my favorite summer looks are eyelet and seersucker (never ever worn together of course). I'd take all of these cute eyelet pieces at In Style.

I had a hard time remembering the last time I wore pantyhose after I read this article. It was a job interview last spring (for my current job)...and I wasn't sure how conservative the company was so I erred on the safe side. Thankfully nylons are not required and open-toe shoes are allowed. Seriously, unless it's required, I can't think of a good reason to wear the jaws of death. If you need them for shaping, buy a Spanx-type item. If you need them for shoe-protection, buy shoe liners (so many shapes and colors to choose from). Is there another reason I'm not thinking of??

My favorite new lip gloss of the moment is from the Sephora line in hot coral. It's a universally great else can you explain why it looks good on me AND Lynn - two totally different skin/hair tones? So awesome.

I browsed the Nordstrom semi-annual sale on Friday and took in some of the Fall looks. Here's one to figure out: peep-toe suede booties. These are a west coast item only -- I can see them in Santa Monica now -- worn with a mini skirt and leg warmers.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


*yawn* I can't seem to get back into a 9-5 schedule now that we're back from vacation! I'm in such a fog.

I wish work would S-L-O-W down but summer and events are like peanut butter and jelly so when you handle events, summer kicks your butt.

It'll be nice to have Project Runway back tomorrow. I can't remember the last time I watched TV so I'm looking forward to some fashion entertainment and that witty Tim Gunn.

Gotta go water my flowers since we're in the midst of a 90 degree spell.

Monday, July 14, 2008


Some more of my favorite photos:

Nat & I in front of Tao
another lazy day at the pool
me & Lynn at Tabu
me & Ben at the Wynn

Sunday, July 13, 2008

grand canyon

A few of my favorite photos:

Aunt Judy, John & Anne
One of the trails
Ben at Angel's Window - my favorite hike.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

what day is it?

I'm freshly back from vacation -- the sort of vacation where you lose track of the days.

The first leg of our trip to the Grand Canyon was super. The drive from Vegas is surprisingly easy and pretty quick all things considered. It's about 4.5 hours going and around 3.5 coming back (going down to sea level is much quicker than climbing).

Our lodge was rustic (borderline TOO rustic for my taste), but the Grand Canyon made up for the accommodations. Ben's mom, dad and aunt met us there so we had family to share our adventure with. We rarely had cell phone signals and not a computer in sight.

Vegas was, well, Vegas. Not much changes there. Ben was there for half a day so we got to have a night out with dinner and drinks before the girls arrived Sunday. Highlights were definitely pool time and party time.

The sun was absolutely scorch-your-skin-off-hot so being outside, and not in the water, was close to impossible for more than a few minutes at a time. Thank goodness for the monorail, which I highly recommend as annoying as it is to traipse through casino after casino to get out to the strip.

I'll post photos once I get everything off the camera. Between the sun, lack of sleep, alcohol and dark casinos, my brain is fried. *sigh* Re-entry after vacation is always so hard.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

pre-vaca tidbit

We leave tomorrow!

Here is our path:
Las Vegas
St. George, Utah
Grand Canyon, North Rim
We head back to Vegas and stay Sat. night. Ben flies home Sunday, and I stay through Wed. to chill with the girls.

More from out west.....

Sunday, June 29, 2008

summery drinks

I'm always on the lookout for new summery drinks. (And I'm talking non alcoholic; favorite cocktails requires another post.) From ice tea to smoothies, I love fun, refreshing drinks you can cool off with. Here are my favorites:

Tea-based drink: Lemon Zest or Mucho Mango from Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
Sadly, I can't get one in the Midwest. It's a delicious mix of fruit, ice and tea.

No tea drink: Mango smoothie from Panera. Mix of mango, ice and splash of raspberry sauce.

Yogurt/ice creme drink: Mango smoothie from Nordstrom Cafe. Lethal mix of mango sorbet (Haagen Dazs) and other yummy goodness.

I've tried other smoothies from Coldstone, Freshens, etc. but they either made me feel ill or didn't rank as memorable.

Let me know if there is a good drink out there I need to try.
We made it to the pool yesterday before the rain came through. It was nice to chill (especially after pulling weeds for an hour). Now we're scrambling to get ready for work tomorrow and vacation on Wed.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

double L

Cubs lose big today and so do we. We went down to the 15-run mercy ruling in the 5th inning. Very painful.

We're off next week for the 4th of July so hopefully we'll come back stronger in the second half of the season.

I am really ready for the weekend. Our goal is to get to the pool finally! It's not the Santa Monica beach, but it works for R&R.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


I don't have much to post about that doesn't involve golf. I've been pretty much living on a golf course since Sunday helping run a youth tournament for work.

We had everything from holes in one (two!) to tantrums. The rain tried to drown us out this morning - we had HOURS of rain early - but we got everything in.

It's hard to believe summer keeps rolling along. We leave for vacation next week, it's the 4th of July and Ben's birthday already....can we pause for a minute, please?

Sunday, June 22, 2008


We were in the buckeye state for Ben's cousin's wedding this weekend. The drive wasn't too bad, but I'm fading fast tonight. All the fresh air and sunshine for the official start of summer wore me out.

Cinci isn't as bad as Columbus as far as buckeye fans go, although numerous people in Ben's family are Ohio State alum or fans. That makes it tough for Michigan fans. We made it through okay and even managed to miss some of the dance floor singing, etc. honoring Ohio State. All in all, fun times! That's our only wedding for the summer, which I think is an all-time low.

It's time to cheer the Cubbies to a victory over the White Sox (a series sweep!) and head to bed.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


The weather this week is so nice it makes me want to call in sick. High 70's to low 80's, sunny skies and low humidity. Just perfect.

I did some yard work tonight. Finally got pots out on the path to the front door and prepared a planter for the back patio. It's starting to look good! I'm visualizing a lush hideaway.... just not quite coming together yet.

I talked Abi tonight also because she got a box of goodies from Aunt 'lissa (super fun dress, mini watering can, gloves, shovel). She loves to tell you "I'll be over in three minutes, okay" ... her way of saying she wants to hang out, I guess. Too cute.

Off to get a bowl of ice cream before bedtime!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

teeny tiny berry triplet

I got some delicious strawberries at the farmer's market and found a wee little berry triplet inside my quart. Check out their size next to a dime! So cute!

We observed Ben's annual Shaving of the Beard yesterday so he's ready for the dog days of summer. I think you know it's summer when all of the sudden you have weekends full of activities and everything starts to go by in a blur.

We've had a busy week so we're chillin' tonight. We did go for a short walk to see how our neighbor's house was doing after a tree fell on it earlier today during a short burst of thunderstorms. The crane lifted the tree off the roof and while there is definite damage, it doesn't seem to have totally smashed the front of their house like it could have.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


The A/C works again! It's MUCH cooler outside (for now), but I'm sure we'll be using the air shortly.

We've had so much rain lately our yard is in a constant jungle state. We got a push mower (non-gas) a few weeks ago, and Ben's getting regular work-outs wheeling it around the yard.

Our mini garden is sprouting! I'll let you know what we get out of it that is edible. So far the radishes look to be coming on strong.

All this heat is reminding me how many new summer items I need. Swimsuit, skirts, shoes!
My find of the week so far is a pair of Jessica Simpson espadrilles I found on sale at Nordstrom.

I'm also stocking up on sunscreen whenever I see it on sale. My absolute favorite is the Neutrogena Fresh Cooling Body Mist Sunblock. I love, love, love this stuff!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

who turned on the heat?

It's hot. The kind of hot you feel just sitting. All the rain we're getting along with the heat wave has created an unbearable jungle.

Less than three weeks ago we had our heat on which seems like a dim memory. We turned the air conditioner on Thurs. morning when we left for work but when we came home our house was a hot-box. The AC wasn't working AND the windows had been closed all day. If we had a pet I'm sure it would have died.

The repairman was out Friday morning and we needed two separate parts. One won't arrive until Monday and then it has to be we may have AC again on Tuesday.

Until then we sit. And we sweat.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

it's a girl...

were the words my mom and family heard 30 years ago today! And a big girl at 8 lbs. 12 oz. and 21.5 inches.

My mom and nan had agreed on my name beforehand if I was a girl so she was excited to tell nan the baby was here and it was a Melissa Marie. When my mom called to tell nan (who was back in IL; I was born in KS) around 45 minutes after I was born at 2 a.m., nan said papa was standing in the kitchen in his underwear waiting for the news. I never heard that part of the story until this year, and I've heard The Story of My Birth for as long as I can remember.

I've heard if I had been the first child born I'd have been the last. Surely that is an exaggeration.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

political tidbit

Barack Obama is the 2008 Democratic nominee for President of the United States of America! It's a good day.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

June 1

How can it be June 1 already? Crazy.

We had a great weekend. I saw Sex and the City Friday night, loved it, and gave a woo hoo today when I saw the box office results. I think critics/press were WAY too hard on the film. It's supposed to be entertainment for pete's sake! They need to stop over-analyzing and ripping on a "girl" movie about "fashion" and "sex." In fact the show/movie is really more about the amazing friendships between four women if you ask me (and since you are reading this blog I like to think you did). But if the movie was just about fashion and sex, get over it! There are plenty of "guy" movies about nothing and few people rant about it.

Saturday we saw the Cubs beat the Rockies from spectacular seats in just perfect 70's, sunny-sky weather. Could not have been a better baseball day!

Today we hung with the fam for a pre-birthday celebration. The best part of the day was seeing my nan play bags like a pro. She threw three ringers in one round! Clearly, baggo skills run in the family.

Friday, May 30, 2008

double header

Won one, lost one last night. We're still working out the kinks...

Hope all the Lost watchers enjoyed the finale. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around it all...will probably see what the message boards are saying at some point this weekend. I am sure there are lots of crazy rumors brewing.

We have great Cubs tickets tomorrow! Can't wait to be at Wrigley!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


The calendar say it's Tuesday, but everyone I know has The Mondays. The first day back after a 3-day weekend always stinks. It rained most of the day and was a brisk 20 degrees cooler here. Blek.

I think most new TV episodes are complete and I have to say the finales were pretty disappointing. Ugly Betty finished with storylines told way, way to many times (the love triangle choice; a paternity surprise). Grey's went out with a whimper by assuming that anyone really cared about Meredith and McDreamy getting together. There are others, but nothing I even care to type about...One exception was The Office's shocking final clip of Dwight and Angela hooking up...and hopefully the Lost finale on Thursday will dazzle.

Monday, May 26, 2008

the unofficial start of summer

We had a taste of summer today cheering the Peoria Chiefs to a victory and enjoying the last day of the 3-day weekend. Ryne Sandburg was mere steps from us when he was coaching third base. He's so cool! The players all wore traditional socks so it was fun to see the uniforms...makes me want to wear my old uniform!

I missed my softball game last Thurs. because of a work dinner...and we lost. So now we're 1-2, and looking for some redemption this week in a double header.

Saturday and Sunday were very busy with house chores. We're in the second phase of our front porch painting project, and Ben finished re-painting our swing. We had dinner on our patio for the first time so that was a highlight.

We watched The Darjeeling Limited on Saturday. The story is told in true Wes Anderson style, which I like, but sometimes get annoyed with. I always wish the movie was over 30 minutes sooner.

Time to rest for a busy week!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


We watched American Gangster last weekend (the movie we just couldn't manage to watch for like a month and definitely lost money over) and liked it more than we thought we would. The late 60's Harlem setting was interesting ... the angry/something-to-prove Russell Crowe part is getting a little stale for him IMO.

I'm hearing a lot of summer movie buzz but nothing sounds that great to me yet. I am hoping to see Sex and the City opening weekend. I wish we had a Harry Potter to look forward to.

Speaking of SATC, has anyone seen the new summer stuff in the Bitten line at Steve & Barry's? They have some good stuff, and I just can't believe it's all less than $10. I got a cute birdie tank top (extra long!) and a gray shirt that is nice enough for work. The shirt-dresses are very flattering but too short for tall gals. I am not one of those annoying people always quoted in the media saying "I mix my budget Target clothes with designer stuff" (what average person can afford $500 and WAY UP for everyday clothing I would love to know?), but I will say the Bitten line has good mixer pieces.

Also new and in stores: cherry passion Tic Tacs. I might like them more than orange!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

opening day

Besides the opening day of baseball, my second favorite opening day is that signaling the start of the farmers markets season.

We were up early Saturday to visit our local market and grab what was available (lettuce and radishes). There's also a great flower vendor selling loose stems so you can create your own assortment - I picked some green hydrangeas. We had coffee at our favorite non-Starbuck's place and I enjoyed a delicious blackberry-lemon scone. What a morning!

The rest of the day was spent on house chores. Ben worked on our porch swing and patio set, and I started painting the front porch (finally!). We worked hard...yawn. Time for rest before another work week.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


We had a special occasion today! T-bone, the name for our beloved Honda Accord, rolled over to 100,000 miles. He's been such a good car - commuting in the 'burbs, sitting in the garage in Chicago and battling for parallel parking spots, driving the streets of LA and cross-country back to Bloomington. We're hoping he lives a long, fulfilling life (at least another 50,000 miles).

Gas hit $3.90 here late last week and it's backed off a little since then. I can't get over the days when I first got my license and could fill up for $12. Those days are long gone.

Ben started his new internship at a local bank yesterday (woo hoo!). He's super excited. Now we're both trying to get out of the house at the same time in the morning so navigating the one bathroom is getting trickier. It's funny to me what some people consider luxurious for a home (walk-in closets, furnished basements, etc.) and we'd be happy just to have another 1/2 bath! I think living in a city changes your definition of space. Bigger is NOT always better.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

happy mother's day!

I hope all the moms (and moms-to-be) out there had a great day. we had terrible weather in central IL so I bet that dampened some outings. Our local greenhouse was packed anyway so some people were forging ahead with the biggest planting day of the season, weather be damned.

We lost our second softball game Thursday. We made dumb offensive and defensive errors. I had a great hit to shallow left earning 2 RBIs but otherwise the game was sad. It was bitterly cold too so our cheering section (Ben and a few others) was frozen. Good thing we have the week off to recuperate and practice.

Lack of weekend sleep is catching up with me....nightie night!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


Anyone doing anything fun for Cinco de Mayo? I had a Corona Light with extra lime, but that's a pretty feeble attempt at celebrating.

Yesterday just reminded me the big 3-0 is a month away. Tick-tock...

We watched Across the Universe last weekend and liked it. It felt long, but Julie Taymor's directing keeps your interest. All the singing was great, especially Bono's guest appearance.

Our yard is really looking good! We pulled a lot of weeds, planted some veggies and herbs, and Ben built a wood-holder in the backyard today. We are going to start on the front porch in earnest now that it's more than 50 degrees outside. Our lilac bush is blooming wonderfully. I'll post a photo later this week.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

arranged marriage

I got a turtle night light for Christmas when I was in college. I can't explain why I got this specific gift except to say that I went through a phase where I loved dalmatians and turtles so many, many gifts were given to me according to these themes.

Mr. Turtle came with me to my college apartment, then my first apartment with Ben, he made the move downtown, to L.A., and now he's back in Bloomington in his very own house. He's illuminated small rooms, big hallways and received many compliments over the years.

But Mr. Turtle was lonely. After all, he works hard all night after we've gone to bed and could use some company.

Which brings me to how we found his long-lost soul mate this weekend at a Church sale. We rose at 7 a.m. to wait in line at this large annual sale only to wander around amazed at how they could fill such a large space with junk. We found Mrs. Turtle on a table of lamps and such, and immediately rescued her from a questionable fate. It was the best $2 we ever spent.

Now Mr. and Mrs. Turtle happily brighten our hallway together. They lived happily ever after.

Friday, May 2, 2008


We won our first softball game last night 15-1. The other team had pretty bad pitchers so our team got really good at drawing walks, which sounds easy but it's so hard to be patient and NOT swing in slow pitch softball. Now we have a hugely inflated confidence level that I'm sure will get severely wounded in weeks to come.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


I'm catching up on the news tonight after being on the road most of the day. I like being out of the office for a change of pace but find that I usually have no idea what's going on in the world when I get home. ... a few things I can't figure out:

Why is this Miley Cyrus/Vanity Fair photo spread getting so much attention? Not to mention that I have NO IDEA why a respected magazine like VF would even print a spread of Miley Cyrus. What, can someone please tell me, does she have that interests VF readers?? I just don't get it.

Why is Obama's pastor making more headlines than REAL issues people actually care about like the insane price of gas?

A non-news thing I don't get but was thinking about yesterday: how can a once-good show like Grey's Anatomy get so very bad? I found myself speeding through most of the early shows this season and last week's continued to be pretty much un-watchable. I don't know if even McDreamy can salvage this sad show.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

night at the zoo

We were at a fundraiser at the Lincoln Park Zoo last night and it was a lot of fun. It was black tie optional/wild flair encouraged so we added some animal print accents (my handbag and Ben's pocket square) and feathers to our outfits (you can see one of Ben's feathers; mine were in my hair).

Thank goodness we weren't out and about in the zoo because it was really windy and chilly (instead we were in a tented area). Just when you think spring is here, winter makes a last gasp. The low temps are threatening to hurt all of our blooming flowers. I wish we could cover our yard with a big blanket.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

tulip tidbit

Our first tulips bloomed today! They gave me such a great welcome home so I ran out and snapped a few photos.

It's been in the 70's yesterday and today and should remain warm through the week. My first softball practice is Thurs. and I hope it doesn't rain. We need to prepare for our first game next week. I hope we don't suck (more on that after we play).

My coworker hosted a party for Matilda Jane which sells super cute clothes for girls (and some for women too). I paid too much money for a fun dress but I figure I'm allowed to spoil.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


Can we please have a three day weekend? Anyone? Bueller?

We had a great spring weekend and it's supposed to be even warmer and sunnier tomorrow. There is nothing worse than sitting INside when all you want to do is be OUTside those first few days of spring.

We spent more time on yard work today and now have another huge pile of leaves. We could have raked for hours but my hand already has a small blister so that ended the raking for today. Love big trees, hate all the raking (and raking, and, yes, raking some more).

Our yard has a loyal brigade of bunnies, squirrels and birds. They've gotten so comfortable hanging out they rarely take off when we walk outside. Ben said the squirrels will be eating out of his hand by the end of summer. Hopefully they eat out of it and not bite it/give rabies.

Friday, April 18, 2008


We had one and I felt it! I woke up around 4:45 and thought someone was breaking into our house because of the bang-bang-bang of furniture against the walls. Ben slept through it and when I shook him awake in a panic he just rolled over. ... maybe we need a guard dog.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


It's tax day but I don't know anyone actually filing their taxes today. Who waits until the last minute? We usually file in February so it seems like it was ages ago.

In case you've been losing sleep this week gripped with worry about how our flowers are doing, you can now rest easy! The sun has helped warm things up the past few days and tomorrow we're supposed to hit 70 degrees. It seems cruel to have such bad weekend weather followed by warm mid-week weather when we're all stuck inside. Boo.

We watched Atonement last weekend and it wasn't what I expected (having not read the book). I thought it was really good though I wonder how Keira Knightley keeps getting such high-profile parts when she's only a so-so actor.

We're working on the inside of the house (nothing like people coming over for dinner to spur a cleaning!) and are STILL in need of a chair for the living room. How can it be SO hard to find a good chair that's not insanely expensive? Any recommendations? At this point I'm ready for a bean bag chair.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

standing tall

Despite the frigid temperatures, sleet, light snow and persistent rain, the budding flowers in our yard continue to demonstrate their resilience to crappy weather. I'm so proud of them!

The above photo was from 1 p.m during a bout of sleet.

The below photo is of the daffodils I rescued Friday.

29 degrees overnight - stay strong, flowers. I can't wait for our first tulip!

Friday, April 11, 2008


We're regressing back to wintery weather today and through the weekend. I clipped my beautiful daffodils to save them from freezing. I hope our other buds survive. This weather totally stinks.

One good thing about this week: the return of Scrubs (and The Office) last night! I hope you caught J.D., Turk and the crew back in action. I know iTunes has Scrubs if you need to catch it.

American Gangster is still waiting to be watched - we just returned Michael Clayton this week (liked it a lot) - and Atonement should be here tomorrow. I guess we can catch up on Netflix since it's too cold to work on the porch or in the yard.

I'm starting to regret signing up for a softball team to start late April. It could still be miserably cold out... I hate that numb vibration throughout your whole body when you have to bat during a cold game...bbbrrrrrrrr.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


I was feeling particularly uninspired today before I watched parts of Monday's Oprah with Salma Hayek, a favorite of mine, where she announced the "One pack = One vaccine" program. It's so easy!! Know someone with kids? Have a baby shower on the horizon? Buy Pampers (with the UNICEF seal) before the end of June and they donate the cost of a tetanus vaccine to pregnant women living in needy countries. So simple. So cheap. Put it on your to-do list.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

play date

We had great Spring weather this weekend! Abigail arrived Sat. night and we couldn't wait to get to the park today. A friend of mine in the area has a girl about Abi's age so we arranged a play date. The playground was PACKED. All the kids were running around trying to burn off months of cabin fever.

Abi approaches the playground with a no fear attitude and I was running around like a maniac trying to keep up with her, anxious thoughts filling my head (was an older kid going to step on her? would she fall off some contraption head-first? why do they make those ridiculous tunnels you can't see through?). Of course it was totally fine and we were all worn out after a few hours. The girls reluctantly said goodbye and we headed home for PB&J and mac & cheese.

Don't kids just remind you how simple life can be?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


I made the trek to St. Louis yesterday and it was a whirlwind. Cardinal's fans had taken over and I didn't stick around long. Time in St. Louis: 3 hours. Total driving time: 5 hours. Ugh.

Clearly I had plenty of time to sit around and listen to the radio. Pat and Ron on WGN kept me company, but my car-cheering couldn't help the Cubs get a W.

I did see something funny while driving: a woman with a scrunchie on her wrist. I used to love the scrunchie! The perfect functional the 90's that is. I wish I could have made a "ditch the scrunchie" sign, but I was busy keeping my minivan (hold that thought: me driving a minivan!) on the road during what can only be described as the closest thing the Midwest will ever see to a monsoon.

So I resumed my normal schedule today with thoughts of the scrunchie back in St. Louis and ANOTHER scrunchie incident surfaces. Check out this article in Chicago's DailyCandy for a good laugh.

What better day to celebrate the scrunchie than April Fool's Day?

Sunday, March 30, 2008

tv news

Check it out, Scrubs fans. Fingers crossed we get to see the rest of this season and maybe another one too!

FNL looks like it's moving to the safe column, too.

spring is in the air

It's cool and rainy here today....otherwise known as spring in the Midwest. Thank goodness we didn't get snow last week like a lot of folks North of us.

We're hoping to transform our yard into a space with lush grass, healthy trees and eventually pretty flowers and sprouting herbs and veggies. It's definitely a work in progress, and Ben spent a lot of time yesterday spreading seed and filling bare spots with dirt. We have a variety of bulbs sprouting...we know some tulips and crocuses are coming because we planted them in the fall but I have no idea what else is out there. We need some warm sun to get things moving. I'll post a photo once we have some action.

We still haven't decided what to do with our front porch. A day or two of painting is in order..maybe a new floor and definitely furniture. I know we're getting at least one chaise lounge to laze around on and take naps in ...

c'mon warm Spring days! We're ready!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


I rarely read my local newspaper and get excited about an article. That changed today when they ran an article about threading, the traditional Indian hair removal technique.

I fell in love with threading in L.A. where you can find salons offering the service, or entire businesses devoted to the practice, all over the place. Finding someone who threads in Bloomington wasn't quite as easy...the first gal I tried charged 4 times as much as my L.A. gal (the pain over paying the ridiculous fee was much worse than the hair removal). I did finally stumble upon a heavenly angel who offers threading out of her basement salon for a very fair fee.

I highly encourage anyone who hates waxing and plucking to give it a try!

We watched Gone Baby Gone this weekend and thought it was great. I'm bummed I didn't see it in the theater - it's actually one worth paying for.

I still have free movie passes, but there's not much out I want to a recommendation if you have one.

Opening Day is just around the corner and ironically I may be in St. Louis for a Cardinal's rally (for work). I gotta say I wish I was heading to Wrigley instead. Spending Opening Day in St. Louis just feels like bad ju-ju.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

happy easter

These photos are from a few weeks ago when Abi was in town. We celebrated Easter early by coloring eggs. She really liked the blue eggs and couldn't wait for them to dry so she could put stickers on each one. They weren't drying fast enough for her so she blew on them, and in the photo it looks like she's blowing out candles on a cake made out of eggs.

The eggs were Abi's new friends...but Nan wouldn't let her carry them around just in case she left one hidden somewhere only to become a stink bomb later on. So we played with plastic eggs instead. No matter; Abi wasn't deterred. The eggs were going everywhere. And who needs a basket to put them in when you've got a Mystery Machine?

I make a mean deviled egg so we're taking those over to Ben's parent's house and we're trying a new dessert - Jamie Oliver's Sunken Souffle - made out of ginger snaps, rhubarb and custard. Yum!

Happy Easter, all!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Welcome home to rain, fog and all-around CRAP weather! Today definitely felt like a Monday since it was my first day back to work (boo!) and the weather stunk. Blah!

Today would have been a great curl-up-with-a-book day. I finished Eat, Pray, Love yesterday and it was good -better than I expected actually. I'm ready to start something new...any suggestions??

I have to admit I'm bored to tears without my favorite TV shows. My TiVo is depressed. I'm sad. Come back, Scrubs! Where are you, Heroes? I'm SO SAD that I watched Idol two weeks in a row (I plead temporary insanity). I really do not get the obsession with this show. What am I missing?? I can't bring myself to watch any more of the pain.

I can tolerate Dancing with the Stars though I am already looking forward to the shows later on when it is down to a smaller bunch. 3 hours over 2 night is just unnecessary! My early pick is Kristi Yamaguci - love her!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

last day of vacation

We've had so much fun in Arizona this weekend, and now it's time to say goodbye (for me, anyway; Ben left yesterday morning to spend the weekend studying).

We hiked at South Mountain - Bajada Trail on Friday. It was a fairly easy trail but long and hot. We saw a bunny (desert bunny?), ground squirrel, lizards, and a harmless snake.

Saturday I took Lynn's Pilates class which was tough, but much easier for me this time! We had lunch at great restaurant called Olive & Ivy in Scottsdale and then shopped until our feet could carry us no more (well they carried us through a final stop in Nordstrom's shoe department, but we didn't even buy anything!).

It was actually chilly here today-60 really IS chilly in Arizona when you aren't used to it-but I guess it was a good preview for me since I'll be back in Bloomington tomorrow. Goodbye, Arizona.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

hello from mesa

We were welcomed to Arizona with 80 degree temps and lovely sunshine. It was H-O-T today at the Cubs game. Thankfully the Cubs pulled out a 3-2 win over the Padres. Maddux and Marquis both pitched solidly and the starters stayed in until the eighth inning. Murton drew a walk in the bottom of the ninth and eventually scored the winning run on a base hit by Cintron.

It's so fun to see palm trees, cacti and deep blue skies again! Being out here definitely makes me miss L.A.

We're going on a (low impact) hike tomorrow morning. That should prepare me for Lynn's killer Pilates class Sat. morning!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

save the daylight

It's almost 6 p.m. as I write this and the sun is still shining beautifully! I didn't realize it was evening until Ben mentioned dinner. I love daylight savings time!

It was a low-key weekend in Bloomington. ISU played in the Missouri Valley Conference championship game and lost to Drake again (apparently losing to them twice this season wasn't enough). So now we wait and see if the Redbirds will go to The Big Dance for the first time in 10 years.

We browsed through a Home Show yesterday, but didn't see anything we were particularly interested in. Ben's excited to start landscaping, and I'm looking forward to working on our enclosed front porch. It has an ugly, peeling gray-ish floor right now and zero furniture so we have our work cut out for us. It'll be great to essentially have an extra room in the house during the warmer months though.

We watched the Assassination of Jesse James and it was w-a-y too long. Nearly three hours! Casey Affleck is as good as everyone's been saying, and Brad Pitt is good too.

I gotta wrap this up and do some preliminary packing for Wednesday's trip.

Have a good week!

Friday, March 7, 2008


It's been a long week! Today could not come soon enough. It's a "toasty" 25 degrees here today and I am sick and tired of the bitter cold. We're staying in tonight because going outside just seems like a lot of effort.

We still have the Assassination of Jesse James to watch, and now we also have Gone, Baby, Gone. I really, really liked this book and I'm so excited to see the movie. Miss Pettigrew Lives for A Day looks fun so I have to try and see that in the theater. Amy Adams is always entertaining.

It's crazy to think we turn our clocks ahead tomorrow night. I'm looking forward to the daylight, but dreading the loss of sleep. I always feel off after a time change..and we'll have two this week with our upcoming trip to AZ (I know, I know woe is me).

Hope you have fun (or boring, but relaxing) weekend plans!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


I just got home from a few days in Nashville for work so my life has been pretty boring the past few days.

I did see the Grand Ole Opry and that was entertaining. Country music isn't that appealing to me, but it was interesting from the historical perspective. Nashville reminds me a lot of Memphis but bigger and cleaner. The weather was warmer than Central IL so it was nice to get a taste of Spring and sunshine.

We did a bit of shopping this weekend and I picked up a few Springy items - all of the purple out has definitely caught my eye. I haven't seen any interesting shoes yet- have not even tried on a pair!- so that will be one of my goals for next week's trip to Arizona. Maybe we'll pick up some new Cubs shirts too. Can't wait!

I was disappointed in yesterday's primary results. We officially have to listen to John McCain for the next eight months and Obama doesn't have the Dem nom wrapped up as of yet...

It's time to relax and get ready for the Project Runway finale.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

unofficially spring

I can't believe it's March! It's almost Spring-like today with temps in the 50's. It'll be a short-lived peek at Spring though because we're due to get snow a few times this week.

We'll be in Arizona next week for the REAL start of Spring: a Cubs game! Lynn celebrated her birthday at a game today (too bad they lost) and we're excited to get out there for a game and some more birthday celebrations. Happy 30th, Lynnie!

My favorite things about spring are the blooming trees and flowers, green grass and sunlight. We put a lot of bulbs in the ground last fall so I can't wait to see how everything comes up.

Ah.....I can almost smell the tulips!

Back to today, I was upset to see that NBC hasn't agreed to air the last six episodes of Scrubs. They have some episodes still to air, but apparently the last six aren't a part of the agreement. Hopefully they'll come to their senses and air Scrubs, as well as renew Friday Night Lights.

We finally watched A Mighty Heart this weekend and it was good. The book is great so the movie had a lot to live up to, but Angelina Jolie, Dan Futterman and the rest of the supporting cast were all very good. No matter the medium, Mariane Pearl's story is absolutely gut-wrenching. The story stays with you...

It's a big week for politics with some major primaries lined-up for Tuesday. I must say I'm absolutely sick and tired of hearing about the "attacks" from Clinton and Obama. Hopefully Tuesday's results will put Obama clearly in the leader column.

I'm going to check out Oprah's Big Give tonight. The premise sounds interesting and I love Jamie Oliver so hopefully it'll be a decent show...we still have more than a few weeks before our favorites return.

Have a good week!

Monday, February 25, 2008

more oscar thoughts

I was too tired last night to add any more on the Oscars. I thought the show was pretty boring and Jon Stewart was awful. He spent way too much time kissing ass and not enough timing being witty...or even interesting.

A highlight of the ceremony for me was Glen and Marketa's performance of Falling Slowly which only took a backseat to their WIN for best original song. What a moment - they were thrilled and the audience really seemed to be rooting for them too. Jon Stewart did redeem himself slightly for bringing Marketa back on stage to finish her acceptance speech since she was so rudely interrupted by the "get your butt off the stage" music.

I thought the E! red carpet comments were mostly accurate though I didn't think ANY of the men looked particularly dashing. Way too many traditional tuxes without a pop of color in sight (not even a handkerchief!). I missed seeing Jamie Foxx on the carpet and some of the other handsome men who take risks.

What did everyone else think?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

oscar night

We settled in tonight for the red carpet arrivals so we could analyze each dress and hairdo. Our thoughts so far....

The Good
  • A lot of nice strapless gowns and only a few ladies tugging them upward (yes, we saw you Cameron Diaz)
  • Natural skin tones instead of orange
  • Many flattering red dresses (Katherine Heigel, Anne Hathaway)
  • Nice and easy up-dos considering the rainy weather
  • Also making my good list is Jennifer Garner looking lovely in black and Keri Russell in a gorgeous champagne
The Bad
  • Unlike many of the lovely up-dos I mentioned, Cameron Diaz looked like she came from the gym in a messy ponytail
  • The unfortunate dress of Daniel Day-Lewis' wife/date
  • Jessica Alba who rarely misses made the wrong dress choice in my opinion. She already had a baby bump and didn't need feathers creating more forward motion
The Unexplainable
  • What the hell was Gary A-Busey thinking accosting Laura Linney and Jennifer Garner?
  • Seth Rogen and the other hairy elf he was with
The show is off to a painfully slow start....did not care for the Jon Stewart opening. He can do a lot better so hopefully he'll redeem himself later on.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


I watched Harry Potter 5 around Christmas and found myself forgetting some details in books 6 and 7 so I decided to re-read them. I've been within 100 pages of finishing book 7 for almost a week. I can't bring myself to do it. I hate the sad, empty feeling after you finish a good book. *sigh*
I am glad we have the upcoming movies to look forward to. I can't think about NO more Harry Potter after that though.

We watched Knocked Up this weekend and I must say I didn't love it. Like might even be too strong of a word. I can't quite put my finger on what it was I didn't like. Probably a combo of the Katherine-Seth combo which just seemed all wrong and the distracting language/scenes in the uncut version. No one ever needs to see a baby crowning unless it's YOUR baby for pete's sake.

The Assassination of Jesse James just arrived...I still haven't had the courage to watch A Mighty Heart (the Daniel Pearl story). I liked the book a lot and I'm afraid Angelina is going to ruin it for me.

Have you seen the best song performances lined up for Sunday's Oscars? I'm thrilled Glen and Marketa will sing "Falling Slowly" from Once. The August Rush song should be great too. I think Amy Adams is super brave for singing a song from Enchanted.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

a hairy topic

There’s an article in today’s Chicago Tribune about the beard trend. Apparently there’s a beard boom that I didn’t really notice since the husband has had a beard since the day I met him.

Anyone who knows how I met Ben knows I wasn’t quite sure about the beard at first. I mean, how many 22-year-olds do you know with a full beard? Ben has great hair genes. His dad has a beard for as long as Ben can remember.

I came to like, even love, Ben’s beard and get a little sad every summer when he shaves it off. The summer we lived in Santa Monica Ben tried something new. He shaved, but not his beard. He had a great short buzz cut all summer and kept the beard. The above picture overlooking Manhattan Beach is one of my favorites.

I don’t know a lot of ladies who love bearded men as much as I do. A recent friend commented upon seeing a photo of Matthew Fox that he was so hot, but she hated her husband’s scruff. Therein lies the problem, you only have to admire Matthew Fox from afar, but you have to kiss your husband. Hmph.

The beard looks great on a lot of guys so I hope you ladies out there give your guy a chance to try it. If you hate it just keep in mind that it’s only temporary. As fast as you can change outfits, your man can shave!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


I'm recovering from a ridiculous series of travel delays yesterday that prevented me from getting back to Bloomington until 11am today. My return flight to Chicago was cancelled before I had even reached my destination yesterday, and I thought getting on an earlier flight back would solve the problem...until I got to Chicago last night and the second leg of my flight to Bloomington was cancelled.

Unwilling to be stranded, I frantically pursued other options - all dead-ends. No other flights were scheduled to Bloomington for the night. The flight to nearby Peoria was overbooked by 50%. No rental cars were available. It took 4 phone calls before I could even find a hotel room. To say my patience was thin is an understatement. So my colleague and I bunked at a nearby hotel with ZERO clothes/essentials.

It was the worst night of sleep-if you can call it that-in my life. I did learn 2 valuable lessons though: AVOID O'Hare no matter what and ALWAYS travel with a few necessities (I still have to make a small list I can live with and figure out how to pack something compact that won't weigh me down so let me know if you have tips).

Elsewhere in the world:

Thank goodness the writer's strike is over!

Woo hoo for Obama in yesterday's primaries

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

penny for your tulips

Valentine's Day is a few days away so we got a a bunch of tulips today. Now it feels like Spring is coming (as long as you don't look at the thermometer).

If you love tulips as much as I do, remember to drop a penny in your vase to help keep your water clean and prevent them from drooping.

I also baked way too many heart-shaped sugar cookies today and then frosted them (some have sprinkles too). Frosted sugar cookies are one of my favorite indulgences.

Now I'm settling in for a lazy Sunday night and watching a bit of the Grammy Awards red carpet. So far there are a lot of blue dresses - Rihanna looks great in Zac Posen. I like Fergie's yellow Calvin Klein dress too.

Have a good week, all!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


I forgot to post about my bowling scores Saturday. I bowled so-so with three games in the 140's. Not my personal best, but not awful either.

I'm hoping the Oscar's don't get canceled. Vanity Fair axed their party so it's not looking good that anyone worth seeing is going to show up and walk the carpet.

I'm still thinking about last week's new Lost episode. USA Today's Pop Candy blog has tons of good theories (skim to avoid the spoilers).

We finally watched Bobby this weekend - I guess we were feeling particularly political leading up to Super Tuesday - and it's fantastic. Looks like Emilio Estevez is starting to work on a follow-up piece too.

I'm thinking about TiVo-ing Lipstick Jungle this week...I need a good girl show to root for (hopefully the show qualifies as good).

If you are bored with the random new shows still airing, check out Friday Night Lights. Rent the DVDs, watch it online or see it live/set your TiVos for NBC Friday nights at 8pm. It is one of the best shows on TV - maybe the best drama in years. It's a character-driven show with great writing and wonderful actors. The creator, Peter Berg, is brilliant! Sadly, it's not going to be around for much longer if people don't start watching...

...OK, back to watching the election results...if you're bored too, check out the Obama music video.