These are a few of my favorite things.

White texting my best friend, Courtney, this morning, it occurred to me that I should write something with a more upbeat tone. She gave me the idea to note some of my favorite things, and so I shall, Courtney! Thanks for the suggestion.

1. Really good spinach dip. I think a good spinach dip can make or break a restaurant or party. Not too cheesy or watery…just the right combination of spinach, artichoke, cheese and possibly spice. I am more a fan of hot spinach dip, but at a Super Bowl party once, I had cold dip that I could have inhaled the entire batch… I think I left a little for others, not too sure. 🙂 Here are a few places to check out:

Columbia, SC: http://www.harpersgroup.com/

Boston: http://www.hillstone.com/ (Houston’s)

Chicago: Still working on finding it…

2. Really comfortable work-out clothing. I don’t think I need to explain this one. I will give the credit, though, to my boyfriend, who introduced me to Under Armour. Just try it, you’ll see why once you start your routine… http://www.underarmour.com/shop/us/en/

3. Soft sheets. I would recommend going at least 300 thread count or higher. I have a bit of a fancy for new sheets (and towels for that matter). I usually stick to 2 basic colors, white or deep red, but you can pick what you like. TJ Maxx usually has marked down Ralph Lauren sheets or www.thecomapanystore.com ALWAYS has an amazing selection. Don’t ever go cheap on sheets. Sleeping is the one time you are rewarding your body- make it count.

4. A really full and spicy (maybe even chocolaty) red wine or a buttery Chardonnay. Right now I am taking a little hiatus from the drinking game, but if I chose to have some wine with dinner, these would be my options. Once, while having dinner at the Capital Grille, the waitress took a liking to our table, and she kept bringing samples of wine for me to taste. I was a big fan. I’d name some brands that I like, but I don’t want to discriminate.

5. Fresh seafood. I don’t think I need to explain this one. You know when you’ve had fresh seafood vs. frozen and thawed out.

6. Good “butt” jeans. My personal faves: http://www.1921jeans.com/ and http://www.truereligionbrandjeans.com/ Nothing relaxes a girl more than when she is comfortable and FEELS sexy.

7. High heels. I think last I counted, I had about 50 pairs of high heels. Of course, most of them I have not worn or seen, as Chicago likes to keep winter 9 months of the year, but I have them! I don’t care if its a boot, sandal, stiletto, sling-back, or traditional heel- I’ll wear it. My favorite are a pair of tan leather pep-toe mary-janes (I believe they are Steve Madden). They almost look like ballroom dancing shoes. They are old-world and fun..and go with everything. When I figure out how to put pictures on here, I’ll post one of them! I get more compliments in these than any other shoe I own. I recommend keeping your eye out for a pair!

8. A perfect-fitting blazer. Mine is a navy, pin-striped Calvin Klein. It matches my dress clothes and looks sharp with a pair of jeans. This is a staple in my wardrobe, and I don’t think it will ever go out of style.

9. A good spin instructor. I had the most AMAZING spin instructor once, and then he moved! He could get the group moving 100 MPH, without even realizing it, because he was motivating you the whole time. Yelling things such as “you can do it,” “believe in yourself,” “put everything that is bothering you into this workout and release it as the workout stops,” you know the drill. It was those positive affirmations that kept you thinking about becoming a better YOU, and not the fact that you would probably be sore for a week after class. He played fun, upbeat music (sometimes even Broadway tunes), and he would sing to us! It is probably the most annoying class in the world, if you are not someone who can let-go and have fun, while you work out, but if you can go with the flow- he was the best. Brian, I miss you! If you find that instructor (of any exercise class) who can inspire you, while they exercise, hold on tight. When they leave, going to other instructors is like getting the imitation store brand of a product; it works, and is fine, but it’s just not as good…and you feel like something is missing.

10. A really good book. Nothing takes away stresses and daily this-and-thats than the company of a good book. I read pretty quickly, so it’s expensive for me to have this habit- and I have no idea where a library is close to me, but I love to read. I love to escape and get involved in the characters adventures and/or feelings. You get to have a movie in your head and do all the casting yourself! My biggest annoyance of reading, thou, is when the book ends. I always want the story to be longer than it is- and want to know what happens next. I also can’t stand when an author I finally decide I can read anything by, changes his tune or writing style. David Sedaris was my FAVORITE author…and then all of a sudden his books became less funny, and then his last was flat out horrible. I am actually in the market for a new book. Hmm…

11. A hot bath. I can take a bath any time of day, for any reason. I love to sit in the hot water, close my eyes and just relax. Relaxing is hard for me, and besides reading, this is the only other activity that allows me to do so. Bath salts or Epsom salts are AMAZING if you have access to them. I know they sell Epsom salts for $1.99 at a drug store. I highly suggest picking some up. It’s like a miracle soak. Epsom salts help with sore joints, bruising, stress, etc. If you can find a salt with a eucalyptus or jasmine scent- heaven.

Well, that is all I can think of for right now. I’m sure I will think of more and add to this, but everything on this list has my highest respect- and best of all- gives me a smile. Have you ever sat down and thought about things that make you happy? Thanks for the suggestion, Courtney, you put some sun into this very foggy Chicago day.

 

 

Working out and getting older…

Disclosure: I understand that what I am about to rant about makes absolutely no sense at all. It’s just me.

I like to believe that my body chemistry is unlike anyone else in the entire planet. By believing this, I can avoid listening to stereotypical advice on what to eat and not to eat, how much you should work out, and how much sleep a person needs.

Food/Eating

I have the pickiest eating habits of anyone else I know. Sometimes food that made me sick a week ago will be fine today, if I am in the mood for it, but then sick again in a day because I said so- and it really will. Shrimp was my favorite food growing up, and since age 25 I have been allergic to it (hey, ask the doctors at Mass General, if you don’t believe me). I am lactose intolerant, but LOVE cheese (especially paired with wine). I get a stomach ache from almost every meal (from even a salad)- yet my cravings ONLY consist of chocolate, puffy Cheetos and chicken wings…that of course my body digests perfectly. I feel sorry for my boyfriend, who will have to preview a menu to make sure there is something on it I will digest. He even researches the places I go for client lunches and will text message me the menu item that won’t kill me. It’s actually very sweet. Funny thing is, on our first date, I assured him that I was easy going and not picky about food. I guess it had never been pointed out to me before, as I only ate what I wanted- and didn’t realize that consisted of a very limited range. Hey- I’ll eat sushi!

Working out

Working out to me has been this enigma that I have been trying to solve since college. I can’t quite figure it out. Did people in the 1960s (or earlier) work out? I watch the show Mad Men- and there is an episode where the newly divorced woman in the neighborhood is seen “walking.” GASP! “Where is she walking to???” The other women cry. Her response- “I just like to walk.” The only other exercise I have seen on that show was of course the young school teacher, aka, Don Draper’s latest victim, running at 4am. So only young school teacher-types and divorced women work out, while the “normal” women smoke and drink red wine 24/7? YET…They are ALL thin and gorgeous. (Please note- I realize I am arguing with a television show, but if you look at pictures from that time- the women really were perfect looking!) I won’t argue much past the 1960s. I think we all know that the 1970s brought the leotard to us, for the purpose of exercise class. I’m just saying- there WAS a time when we didn’t need to think about all this so darn much. Red wine solved it all.

In college, I worked out so much that if my friends and I were getting ready to go out, and I felt kinda “fat,” I would go run a mile or two then continue the beautifying process. I tried diet pills- that only made me seem to be on speed 24/7. Lost a couple dates that way (I guess you’re supposed to let the other person talk too), yet never really got thin, until I STOPPED taking them. Strange.

Now that I am in my 30s, working out is like this chore I know I have to do, yet stall until it hits me like a deadline that it must be done. Other days, I crave to be on that treadmill. Neither situation would be possible without the use of my boyfriend’s extra Apple headphones (I plug them into those beautiful little TVs installed on top of the machines). At first, I could “borrow” them, but now they have slowly become my property and just as important for me to wear to the gym as my sneakers or sports bra. I also have the belief that if I work out 1 week prior to a special event or trip, that my body will be drastically better than it was the day I started. If a special event or trip is coming up, all of a sudden I LOVE working out and couldn’t image never loving this activity. When said event is over…give me my couch/remote back.

Sleep

I will never understand how one sleeps through an entire evening, without waking up. I have tried everything from counting sheep, melatonin to benedryl- nothing works. I will say, at the suggestion of a colleague, I bought some vitamin B1 and (when I remember) it works like a charm to ease my mind and let me sleep, at least until 3am. I can fall asleep in a car in about 2 minutes, or when laying on something warm. Once awake, I can never figure out how to stay up without being exhausted. Caffeine makes me tired and coffee gives me a headache. If someone puts a movie on, 10 minutes (sometimes less) into it, I am sound asleep. When it ends- like the second it is over-I am wide awake. I will say this- there is nothing more victorious than when, from the hours of tossing and turning, you find that perfect sweet-spot and your eyes finally close.

I think I need a vacation. 🙂

 

Frustration continues.

Ok, even I am starting to sound whiny in my own head- but I have to say it…

WHY DON’T PEOPLE EVER DO WHAT THEY SAY THEY ARE GOING TO?

I swear there is nothing in the world that drives me more insane than a broken word or promise. Wait- lying, yes lying drives me pretty mad, as well. I spend more time being pissed off at the fact that someone- more or less- lied to me, or broke a promise, then I do smiling at the finished product of the truth or met deadline. I wish I could be more easy going, in instances like this, but then it wouldn’t really match my character. I just think somewhere along the line people failed to respect the idea of the truth, deadline or the plan. It’s not just with me either- I see it all the time; people let down or left behind. It’s pathetic and weak.

Don’t the liars/breakers-of-plans in the world understand it is these untruths that cause us normal people to go insane? Of course not. To you, we need to “relax.”

Jerry Mcguire had EVERY right to be upset by Cushman’s deal with Bob Sugar! “I’m still sort of moved by your “My word is stronger than oak” thing” is stated perfectly. Good for you Jerry! Say it out-loud because people need to know when they lie- it was wrong! But of course, Jerry comes off like the crazy person (and failure) from this scene.

I guess Cameron Crowe understands what’s right and wrong, in the end. I love when Rod Tidwell states, in tears, “You’re my ambassador of quawn, man.” You know what? Jerry was honest, stuck to his word and worked his ass off- and in the end he not only won “the money,” he won the respect he deserved! Hooray!

Just to remind everyone:

in·teg·ri·ty –noun

1. adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.
2. the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished: to preserve the integrity of the empire.
3. a sound, unimpaired, or perfect condition: the integrity of a ship’s hull.

 

 

Starting on the right foot…hello world.

This quote pretty much describes my view on life:

When you reach for the stars, you may not quite get one, but you won’t come up with a handful of mud either. -Leo Burnett.

Leo Burnett started off with criticism, both from the NY market and the Chicago media. A journalist stated he would fail miserably, and end up selling apples on the street. His ambition fought back, and soon he was laughing at the world- giving away those apples for free.

I have never understood the perma-waitress or clerk, who stays in the small town and accepts the hand dealt to her, without complaint. I supposed it would make up for a less stressful life, but what fun is life without challenges? I’m not knocking the service industry. In fact, I admire one who takes pride in their work. I’m more or less questioning the lack of wanting something more. Shouldn’t we all want more? If you want to make yourself a better person, I certainly don’t think that would classify as greed. Ambition, to me, is the sexiest attribute in a person.

As I sat in my car the other day, singing at the top of my lungs to my Taylor Swift CD, I couldn’t help but start to analyze the life choices I have made up until now. I guess it’s normal to judge yourself- mildly. I can’t help but be a little confused as to whether I am truly happy, or if I am faking it in order to deal with some things I seem to have missed out on. I have always felt a little different, but never like this… I am speaking of course about the fact that MOST of my friends are now married, engaged, pregnant, or new mothers. Shouldn’t I want that at 33? Could ambition come in different forms? I think the engaged/married part would be really fun- but I couldn’t even conceive the notion that I am ready to be fully responsible for someone (meaning a baby) other than my golden retriever. Does that make me a selfish person?

Does a career count as something to cherish? I have always certainly thought so.

Frustrated and happy. Is that possible?