Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Oprah Finale Taping + An Unexpected Today Show Interview = one of the most memorable days of my life

the last couple of days have been an absolute whirlwind- to say the very least.

so there i was, going about my usual sunday routine, when out of the clear blue i got an email from the oprah show indicating that i was selected to be part of a one-time Standing Room Only audience for the taping of her final show to air on Wednesday, May 25!!

um. i was shellshocked (under-statement) because i have no idea how/why they got my name. well, whatever, no time to QUESTION IT. i got right on replying exactly 52 minutes after receiving the initial email and was confirmed to be on the show shortly thereafter.

i had no idea WHAT to expect, but i was picturing it to somewhat resemble the chaos that can only have been like my experience at the Oprah show when she shut down michigan avenue (refer to http://maliyacular.blogspot.com/2009/10/oprah-gone-ghetto-fabulous-just.html for... well, an experience like no other, if you will).

i was SO pleasantly surprised to realize that the crowds standing in line this morning were SO THE OPPOSITE. everyone was so HAPPY and so NICE and just so GRATEFUL TO BE THERE! it can only be described as a delightful start to the day, really.

and you better believe that there were all KINDS of newscamera crews ready and waiting to document the spectacle that could only be oprah's final taping. so there were all these ladies being interviewed and i was impatiently standing there, waiting for MY turn to be interviewed (love that camera, you know it! hahahaha). well, whatever- i ended up just pretty much asking one of the roving reporters if she needed someone to interview and she said yes! i was delighted to share my wisdom/insight/excitement/etc etc with the world. HA. so there i was, trying to exude my overexcitement (today would be like me on a normal day x 100) in a slightly contained fashion (composure is my middle name)...

at the end of the interview, i asked who the reporter was with. she gave me a slightly funny look (i dont know, was i supposed to know her?) and she was like "nbc" and i was like "oh! okay" and she gave me another slightly questioning look before she clarified "we're with the today show".

and. well, i think someone picked my jaw up off the ground at that point.

of course the one reporter that i decide to accost isn't one of the local news stations... it just happens to be the TODAY SHOW!!! weeeelkjdsfl! i was giddy. but MAN, that camera is DECEIVING! you really DO feel like you are just having a simple one-on-one chat with the reporter... when in fact, your footage may be blasted for all the world to SEE!!!

so, we finally get into the oprah studio and GOD the EXCITEMENT WAS RIDICULOUS!! i couldnt STAND IT!!! and Standing Room Only turned out to be PRETTY DAMN SOLID!!!! we were in this balcony-type area that had been opened up to allow some more of oprah's fans into the studio for her last taping EVER. anyway, so we were all standing like in the top corner, looking down on oprah's stage. (im the indian girl wearing a springtime green dress! find me on tv!)

it. was. phenom.

and oprah. MY GOD. she looks unreal. she looks EXACTLY like she does on TV (even better than on TV, in fact!) and her last show was done with such grace and poise... everything that would emblemize The Oprah herself. i dont want to go into too much detail, because im STILL not sure what im allowed to publicly say versus not before it airs tomorrow, but i was so happy just to be in the presence of such GREATNESS. un-believable.

also in the audience were gayle, stedman, maria shriver, bob greene, and tyler perry (among others)!

well, okay, so then we all leave the taping (it was REALLY sad, but i have to say, a bit anti-climactic), and there are all KINDS of reporters ready and waiting. and so, who do i run into but my new best friend, that today show correspondent?!?!?! it was so funny, she actually came up and was like "hey! remember me?!" and i was like "UMM... i cant believe you remember ME!" hahahah. anyway, so we chat informally for a little bit, and it turns out her name is Mara Schiavocampo. per googling her a bit later i realize... yeah, she's like an emmy award winning journalist.

awesome, christie. way to do your research and all that. sigh.

so ANYWAY, she totally asked for me to do a follow up interview to the show's taping and ummmm... you think you have to tell me TWICE?! i even jokingly mentioned how much i LOVE that CAMERA! hahahaha. shameless, i know. but again, since i didnt really know how much of the oprah taping should remain confidential since it was so hyped up as being a huge secret, i feel like i came across as rather vague and not super coherent. oprah privacy supporter to the very end. big fat SIGH.

anyway, mara was SO nice so im happy i got to meet her, albeit rather briefly. but then it was funny, because i was walking down the sidewalk and of course, i see another reporter and i shamelessly bound on up and am like "oh! do you need people to interview??" and he was like "yeah! but we need to interview this lady first, so just hang tight"... so i hung tight for like two minutes, after which i tactfully pulled one of them aside and was like "excuse me, who are you with?" and they were like "inside edition". and... well, after that, i just flounced off. hahaha. such a tv snob, i KNOW. but in my DEFENSE, i was more concerned about how they would potentially "edit" my interview to their liking... whereas with the today show, i feel a bit more comfortable with their "editing" tactics... hello, if you cant trust people like meredith vieira and matt lauer, who CAN you trust?? hahaha

so. in conclusion. another day for the books, my friends. i canNOT believe that today actually happened. there really is something to be said about karmic forces, because my ability to FINALLY get tickets to the oprah show (her LAST SHOW, no doubt) was nothing but good luck... no, scratch that... good KARMA just coming right back full circle (learned that from the oprah herself, just today!).

thank you, oprah! thank you, mara schiavocampo!! thank you, thank you, thank you for making this one of the most memorable days ever!

hmm. after all this, watch me not be on tv at ALL tomorrow. haha. sigh. oh well. it's all about the experience, right? well...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Couponing Caribou Christie... at your SERVICE!

so, yet again, the saga continues. how can i get better at saving money in my life? well, after talking to my sister yesterday, i realized just how ridiculous it sounds that i tend to not only buy coffee every single morning when i don't even like the taste of coffee, but i tend to buy STARBUCKS coffee of all things. i mean, if i don't even like the taste of coffee but for some subconscious reason "HAVE" to drink it every single morning, i might as well at least opt for the cheap stuff.

but alas. here i am. still choking down coffee even though i don't really like the taste (in my defense, i just like having something warm in the morning!) and still buying it from starbucks because it's like right across the street.

well, after my conversation with my sister yesterday, she totally convinced me just how nonsensical i am (in this regard... in every other regard, i TOTALLY make sense. obvi. haha yeah right) and made me realize just how MUCH money i was actually wasting. so i woke up this morning with new resolve to just nix the morning coffee habit altogether.

until i realized... it's monday! and you know what mondays are??

that's right, my friends. caribou coffee totally has this monday special that has TOTALLY become a bright spot in my week. so i figured that i would start my new nixing of the coffee habit... tomorrow. because today was totally caribou specialty beverage day!

AND i TOTALLY didn't feel guilty at all BECAUSE...

you guessed it! not only did i get the special for $3 BUT i ALSO remembered to bring in a reusable mug... thus saving me an extra $0.50! i was so proud of myself!

in fact, the cashier even rang me up incorrectly initially (she added in the reusable mug deal, but forgot the monday special), but you better believe i was all quick to jump on THAT one (in a polite, well-mannered fashion... obvi).

so, omg, i wish i had taken a picture of the final amount to really fully capture the moment and come full circle. but whatever... including the ridiculous chicago 10-11% tax thing we've got going on here, i totally saved TWO FULL DOLLARS on my morning coffee this morning... from the "normal" $4.76 to my double-discounted $2.78!!!

yess!!! it totally was the grandest start to my day! you can totally just start calling me Couponing Christie from here on out... thanks in advance :) and HAPPY MONDAY TO YOU AND YOURS!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Trader Joe's Grand Opening Day!

welcome to the neighborhood, trader joes!!

now, don't get confused when you all start google mapping this new trader joes. yes, i live in lincoln park, and yes, there has been a trader joes in lincoln park for years. however, this NEW trader joes is located literally a mere half mile from my place.

i couldn't be happier. Trader Joes Grand Opening Day (TJGOD) totally felt like the start of a new national holiday to me. i'd marked it on my calendar at the beginning of the week and totally had a pop-up reminder counting down the days... sadly, very sadly, THIS is what i was most excited about for my friday night. not happy hour, not dinner, not eyebrow threading (and if you know me, VERY little gets in the way of me and my eyebrow threading... another blog post for another time).

so you better BELIEVE that i traipsed on over to MY new trader joes right after work yesterday... and, OH how it so did NOT disappoint. umm... any place that has colorful welcome signs to make you feel all warm and cozy as soon as you walk into the place is MY kinda PLACE!

and that (obvi) was just the beginning. you walk in and it's so VAST, so open, so brightly lit... GOD how i love grocery stores, but there's something about tj's that just does it RIGHT. and i don't know if different trader joes holds different food items, but i CERTAINLY saw some food items that i had never seen before at my other trader joes (hmmph). it was like christiemas yesterday! i mean, come on... ice cream SMORES?! wtf?! okay, so i cant really eat ice cream but STILL... just the THOUGHT that something so perfect and delicious can actually exist in my very own neighborhood trader joes is beyond my realm of understanding.

okay, so i didn't exactly NEED a ton of groceries... i mean, i was perfectly happy just meandering the aisles, scrutinizing its shelves' beautiful contents, but all in the name of neighborhood support and all that. so i ended up partially filling my basket with all kinds of goodies... trader joes branded guac, greek yogurt, pizza... all so colorfully labelled but most importantly, so DELISH! (well, i think. i haven't tried the pizza or yogurt before.) and those aren't even the items that i traditionally am obsessed with. have you HAD trader joes' orange chicken? or trader joes' peppermint jo-jos (they're pretty much like mint oreos... only better)? or trader joes' green tea mochi? OMG, i really just don't know what else to say other than trader joes totally just does it all so RIGHT.

clearly, i was not the only person super excited to celebrate the next soon-to-be national holiday of TJGOD. it was PACKEDaslkdjflskdj!

even after the neverending passage of customers and the miles-long lines awaiting them, the trader joes cashiers were still so upBEAT, so friendly, so... well, everything i would expect of the fine trader joes brand. i mean, look at trevor's beam over my trader joes lemon heart cookies (okay, so i had a little impulse buy at the counter)... could he BE any happier? (and yes, my trader joes cashier and i were totally on a first name basis, after the whole asking if i can take his picture conversation that went down)

so! all in all, a success. such a fantastic way to celebrate friday... i mean, it's not every day that one can create their very own new national holiday. Happy TJGOD to you and yours!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

At Least I'll Be All Pimped Out for my Half Marathon...

i dont know why im doing this to myself again. after last year's failed attempt to train for the Chicago Half Marathon, i vowed never again to attempt this whole running thing... i didnt enjoy it, i was in unnecessary pain and i am NOT a natural runner. how people can just pick up and run five miles after not having run in months is beyond any remote realm of understanding.

but then i added it to my bucket list (like how im tying together my blog posts here...?). and well, hello. if it's on the bucket list, it MUST get done. right? right. therefore, i made a resolute decision to attempt this yet again... but i am proud to say that i have learned from my mistakes and am approaching this year's half marathon training with enhanced positivity and enhanced attention to my physical limitations.

so last year, when i started training, i was happy enough to have gotten up to about 6.75 miles before flat-out quitting. but i was in some SERIOUS pain... my wide feet's pinky toes were encountering some SERIOUS blistering- blistering that was unusual for the mileage i was running, apparently (advice c/o some runner friends that i had, not medical professionals). soo, learning from my mistakes and all that... i decided to really take that into consideration before starting some intensive training...

so, off to Fleet Feet i went. i'd heard amazing things about how Fleet Feet will fit your feet to shoes that meet your needs (ie: based on running stance, etc.) and so i figured i might as well give it a shot...

and OMG, Fleet Feet SO DOES NOT FAIL TO IMPRESS!! i felt so well-EDUCATED after getting fitted for some shoes. for instance, did you know that you're supposed to go a shoe size or two bigger than your normal size because your feet expand when they are warm (ie: when you are running extensively)?? call me ignorant, but this was like the biggest revelation EVER!

not only that, but the Fleet Feet lady totally watched me run on a treadmill and was able to determine "how" my feet were hitting the ground, because i guess a lot of people run more on the insides or outsides of their feet (pronation or something?)... thankfully, i was pretty "neutral" according to her.

with all this scientific examination, the Fleet Feet lady brought out three different types of shoes, all with wider tips, thanks to my unnecessary pinky toe blistering experience... after a few more test runs, i finally settled on some Pumas... i guess it helps that i have a soft spot in my heart for Pumas anyway, but whatever.

unfortunately, Pumas come in some pretty outrageous colors (i know, i know, i shouldn't be seriously considering colors when determining "proper" running shoes)... and sadly, i had a choice between a dark purple or a hot pink. and... please, if you really think im going for hot pink, you are so mistaken it's not even funny. so check out my snazzy new purple shoes!! im a little embarassed by how outrageously purple they are but oh well. all in the name of medical necessity, i guess.

alright, so shoes... done. i was all set to march on outta Fleet Feet with my purchase in hand... but then, the Fleet Feet lady started talking about how my feet could probably use a little more support c/o some inserts that they can fit in the shoe... and, well, i forget all her selling points but, long story short... well, it's all in the name of medical necessity right? the last thing i want is to dislocate/sprain my knee AGAIN this year , so i went ahead and totally added these ridiculous neon green inserts to my little purchase pile.

again... i was all proud of my purchases, totally experiencing renewed motivation for my half marathon training... when the Fleet Feet lady totally commented on how the socks i was wearing (cotton socks) are so not good for running feet because they'll absorb sweat and cause blistering (i mean, im telling you- total education session for me!) so... well, okay, so i tacked on a couple of pairs of new non-cotton running socks.

well, WHAT? i dont know! any/all of these purchases could be the maker or breaker for completing my half marathon! hello! and this year, nothing is getting in my way... short of my knee blowing out again...

which leads me to yet another instance of Fleet Feet's amazingness... did you KNOW that every first monday of the month, they have a free physical examination to check out any potential concerns you may have?? and talk about perfect TIMING... you better believe i totally signed myself on up for my free exam last night! at this point... why not, really?

and huzzah!! i got the seal of approval from this physiologist (or whatever they are)! her only advice was that if it starts hurting, just go a little easy on it... which i guess could be construed as common sense but whatever, better safe than sorry at this point.

so, with renewed comfort and appreciation for the art of running... i totes started my half marathon training this week! hip hip hooray! i love training plans that start with a day of "rest"... hahahaha. my kinda PLAN, baby!

but that was yesterday. TODAY, i totally ran for the first time in like seven months and ran 1.5 miles without TOO much difficulty... granted it was so embarassingly slow im not even going to go into the details but STILL. 1.5 miles!! i was pumped!! (and yes, don't laugh but you saw right... i totally have to start with a 5K training plan since the half marathon training plans assumes you can run 3 miles "comfortably"... and i don't think "comfortably" equates to "experiencing heart palpitations and shortness of breath".)

i know, i know... but small victories, right? rome wasn't built in a day and all that, after all...