Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
I feel like, as of late, I'm having a nationality identity crisis.
Here I was, going along my merry way, fully embracing my identity as "the most Americanized Indian girl you will ever meet". But then I meet a fellow coworker and somehow, we end up talking about nationalities. It was at the point when I offhandedly indicate that I'm Indian and he's like "Wait, you're Indian??", that I begin thinking about how we have just embarked on one interesting conversation, my friends.
Of course, instead of directly answering, I respond with "Wait! What did you think I was??" I actually love hearing what people have to say in response. Because, quite frankly, I have heard it all. I dare anyone to outdo my fourth grade experience, where some chick (read: classmate) asked me about my Chinese roots...
Trust me. I know.
OBVI, it's nothing against Chinese people (or anyone of East Asian descent, really), but seriously. Let's have a look at my profile picture once again... and, well, if YOU can find any rationale behind that comment, you go on ahead and let me know.
Anyway! Back to my coworker... whose response to my "Wait! What did you think I was?" question was something along the lines of: "Oh, I would say anything from Hispanic... to African-American... to Persian."
Yup- my thoughts exactly. WHAT kind of physical resemblance do these three nationalities have to one another?
Sigh. I guess that's better than a happy hour I was at earlier this month. When my nationality was brought up again (I don't know WHY this has been such a point for discussion as of late), someone's response to this fun little game involved the statement, "Oh... I have absolutely no idea."
This is quickly going from bad to worse. NO idea? Seriously? I mean, what in heaven's name do I come across like to people?! And why is there such confusion with ME? It seems that most of my Indian friends rarely, if ever, have a problem being pegged as Indian.
You know, I should probably be a bit more affronted by the fact that people have no idea "what" I am, but I'm really not because... who are we kidding? I LOVE this mysterious nationality thing I've got going on! I mean, I've always dreamed of being a Citizen of the World. And if having this whole "nationality enshrouded in mystery" leads to one more Citizen of the World (ME, just to clarify for that fourth grade classmate of mine who, well, apparently needs all the clarification she can get), well... so very darn well BE IT!
Come to think of it, you know what would be The Ultimate Goal? To have just one stranger guess that I am MIXED. OMHG (Oh, My Heavenly God), I literally think I would squeal, hug, swoon and faint (in that order) because, quite frankly... well, how about YOU go ahead and tell me where you've seen ONE mixed person that looks nothing short of perfection.
Sigh. Oh, the dreams. Oh, the... ridiculous dreams.
Monday, June 27, 2011
If that were the case, I would most certainly choose to be born into... hmm... the 50-60 year old age-span.
I know this sounds a little weird to want to shoot right on up into the golden years, but I really believe that, after the age of 18, I could have just bumped my way on up to the 50-60 year age-span and been perfectly content for the rest of my days.
With such a grandiose (not to mention completely off the wall) statement, I've taken the liberty of detailing exactly WHY I believe my 20s are lost on me. I narrowed it down to three primary points (all of which have the same general theme, let's face it), but trust me. The list could go on and on...
How on earth are people supposed to enjoy the art of conversation (I guess thinking that people WANT to enjoy the art of conversation when frolicking out and about is my first misstep here...) when people are jam PACKED into a club (to the point where one is more than likely partaking in a SIGNIFICANT fire hazard violation) where the music is so loud you really can't even hear the person next to whom you are jam-packed?
I mean, don't get me wrong. I do love me the merry little tune every now and then... but again, in MODERATION! I don't understand this whole "louder is better" theme that some of these clubs apparently seem to have going on.
I think this point is only further supported by the fact that the one bar that I am dying to try in Chicago is... well, a board game bar. WHAT? Who doesn't like a good board game?!
2. I am NOT a nightowl, so these wild and crazy nights out till 4 AM are few and far between (if not nonexistent, at this point). I swear, if I make it to midnight without a yawn, I am doing WELL for the evening. Let's just say that is more the anomaly than the norm.
I can't help it! I've NEVER been a nightowl... rather, I tend to be an extreme of a morning person! Who are we kidding, I likely awaken earlier than most 50-60 year olds... we can totally just forget about people who are in my ACTUAL age-span. But what can I say? I'm a sucker for the peace and quiet that only a luxurious early morning can bring.
3. This whole excessive alcohol consumption is NOT interesting to me anymore. I really don't understand how people my age are still going strong. I mean, for the most part, we've been doing this since we were in our teens... that's a DECADE PLUS, people! Having a story about how hung over we are the next day after a raging night out really does NOT provide the entertainment that it used to... in my opinion, of course. I'm sure there are plenty out there that beg to differ.
I think my whole thing with this topic is that I really have tried oh so many times to find alcoholic beverages that I actually ENJOY drinking. After a decade plus of experimentation, I have come to the conclusion... that there is none (for me).
I think I'm just super sensitive to the tase of alcohol or something. But honestly... when someone is like "This beer is JUST the dessert I was craving", I swear I have a VERY hard time holding back a somewhat judgmental stare. Seriously? Beer=dessert? I do NOT think so.
While I will not turn any beverage down (Can I help it that I succumb to societal socializing norms? Or that I take weird pride in how well I can take a shot?), I can 100% assure you that IF I had to choose ONE alcoholic beverage to down, it would be a mudslide... which, let's be honest, is pretty much a milkshake.
Trust me, while there are plenty of other reasons why I believe my 20s are truly lost on me, I think you pretty much get the gist of this, right? Right. And, let's be honest, this blog post has gone on long enough. (What? I like to fully SUPPORT my arguments, thank you very much!)
Off to knitting class! Hahaha... just KIDDING. Geeeeez.
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Except for the fact that it was Saturday. And quite frankly, while I do wake up earlier than an average individual on the weekends, 5:45 AM was still pretty darn early, even for me.
Oh well! Up and at 'em, I guess! Haha. Normally, I would have lazed around a little bit more, but after a week of thunderstormy gloomdoom CENTRAL, being greeted with THIS view was more than enough to get my day started RIGHT.
Anyway, Because of my abnormal sleeping patterns, I just gave up on my running routine for the week. A shame, too, considering it was supposed to be the very first week of my actual half marathon training. Sigh. I'm not going to let myself off easily, however. I missed a week, but I'm just going to have to start where I SHOULD have been... so four mile run it is!
God, I don't know why I even TRY to sound peppy. I was kind of dreading it, let's be real. And by "kind of", I mean "completely and totally".
But whatever- I got myself on out there... and it actually wasn't all too bad! I mean, it was no walk in the PARK, let's be honest, but it wasn't AS horrendous as I would have expected after having taken a week completely off. I guess when you envision the worst, you really can't be all too disappointed, now can you? Haha. The key to happiness, if you will. Yet another pearl of wisdom for the books, my friends.
Well, after THAT kind of a start to my Saturday, you KNOW those endorphins were all in high gear and I was ready to take on the world...
Except for the fact that it was still only about 7:15 AM on a Saturday... so the world is pretty much still sleeping.
Those avid farmers' market fans!! Yesss!! The Green City Market (located right in the heart of Lincoln Park) is one of the BEST farmers' markets EVER! It's huge, has a terrific selection, is centrally located and even has entertainment from time to time! It's SO my happy place, really. And, today was CERTAINLY no exception!
I mean, this place is enough to even almost make me want to eat fruits and veggies sometimes!
ALMOST. It doesn't help that like right next door is...
Well... things that are more along the lines of MY kind of basic food group, if you know what I mean.
I didn't end up purchasing anything at the market since I'm going on vacation this week, but don't you think that was the end of my early morning experience. Please. Last stop?
My favorite little coffee shop... Siena by Maria. It's so cute and cozy and, holy MOLY, I love the owners!! They are the most adorable couple EVER and the service they provide totally reminds me of the kind of down-home, friendly service you would receive in, like, Cape Cod or something. Well... not like I've ever BEEN to Cape Cod, but you get where I'm going... right? Right.
But I digress. Anyway, I had my book that to finish! So, armed with a pumpkin spice latte (that's right- Siena sells these puppies all year ROUND!alkfdsj!) and... well, a lemon cookie (I know, I know. Breakfast of champs, and all that), I settled in to continue Enjoying My Early Morning...
Sigh. SUCH a productive, fulfilling day so far! And it's not even 10 AM yet! Come on, world! Up and AT 'EM!
Thursday, June 23, 2011
All good and fine, really. BUT... it was only when I was walking back from the event, just chitchatting away with one of my coworkers when we stumbled across...
I ended up going with the Taffy Apple cupcake and, I have to say, it was pretty darn SPOT. ON. I totally felt healthy eating it and everything! What? All-natural ingredients... hello, people!
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
I'm normally a fairly focused individual- especially when it comes to my work. Nothing can really get in the way of it. Some may diagnose it as a mild form of workaholism... I prefer to think of it as just plain diligence- hmmph. (Hahaha- can you TOTALLY picture the kind of student I used to be? Ohh well!)
Today is one of those days where I am having the HARDEST time focusing. I think it's the past couple of slightly longer work days catching up to me, but quite frankly, I know when I need a break (lessons learned from In Praise of Slowness, by Carl Honore- SUCH a good read). What better way to take a break than with a good, old-fashioned COZY cup of chai.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Today was supposed to be the grand day to start my ACTUAL half marathon schedule. 3 miles, baby! It started out semi-promising, as I woke up this morning at 5:45 after a fitful night's sleep. Well, if I'm up at 5:45, I might as well get OUT of bed and get my workout over with, right?
Wrong-o. Sometimes, don't YOU just feel like laying around? This doesn't typically happen with me- I am such a morning person, I'm usually ready to hop on outta bed and get my day started... and then take a nap or two as the day progresses. But I digress. Anyway, today was one of those anomalous (for me) days, where I literally just lay there, pondering life and all that.
Until I got bored after like 15 minutes.
So I dragged myself out of bed and headed to work early (I had a deadline anyway, so that was the other reason why I didn't want to run this morning- because I knew I wanted to get into the office earlier than normal). Anyway, no big deal, I would just fit my running in after work, I figured.
Umm. Then I left my nice, frigidly air-conditioned office and walked out into what can only be described as HEAT and, worse yet, HUMIDITY. The air was THICK with it- it was all rather disgusting, in my opinion. But whatever, I can only complain so much- at least the sun was shining (which is more than can be said about MUCH of this summer... ahem, CHICAGO. Stamp of FOOT, here, people!).
Anyway, no bigs. It's just three miles. I can just hurry up and get it over with in the half hour when I get home. As a matter of fact, I contemplated the pros and cons of running my entire bus ride home. Gotta occupy my thoughts somehow, I guess. It didn't help that I was ready to fall asleep on the bus because I was so exhausted (I SWEAR, I don't know WHAT is going on with me and my exhaustion the past few weeks). But me and that training schedule of mine... I'm anal retentive about crossing things off that calendar, don't you forget it.
Well... clearly, not today. By the time my bus had reached my stop, I'd come to the conclusion that the pros totally outweighed the cons and I should just suck it up and get this run over with. But then I walked off the bus... and was greeted by yet another BLAST of humidity, if that's possible. At which point, I literally muttered aloud "I do NOT think so"... I got only one stare so I think my semblance of sanity was somewhat maintained. Whoops.
It was awful! But I'm just such a wimp in heat and humidity, that there was no turning back. Not to mention I had a full night ahead of me! I mean, if a night filled with phone dates, eating granola and yogurt, watching Obama's national address, and duh, BLOGGING (changing lives, one blog post at a time, if you will... ha) isn't enough justification to postpone the start of my half-marathon training, I just don't know what is.
Fine, fine, fine. I'm making IN-credibly lame-o excuses. Even I realize this fact, don't you worry. Therefore, I have made a pact with myself to get my lazy butt up EARLY tomorrow to go for my run.
Isn't it amazing how, rather than just getting this one activity over and done with before my day has started, I proceed to dwell on it for a solid fourteen hours? Good times.
Feel free to yell at me tomorrow if I haven't run yet. Because you KNOW otherwise, I'll just endlessly whine about it instead. Take your pick...
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Nope. Instead, I woke up about forty-five minutes before I was supposed to arrive at this group yoga on the beach dealio I'd signed up for and, quite frankly, was half-tempted to just skip it. But please. Me? Skip a free event?
Saturday, June 18, 2011
The ever-glam hostesses, Neha and Deepti, however, went above and beyond my expectations for this Cupcake-Off (and believe you me, when it comes to cupcakes, my expectations are SKY. HIGH).
The SPREAD! Check it OUT! Holy mother of all that is good and pure in the world- I was literally swooning. Partaking in the Cupcake-Off? Sprinkles, Sweet Mandy B's, Molly's, Crumbs, Alliance, and some bakery from the suburbs (haha. I really just forget the name of it! I'm not DISCOUNTING the suburbs by any means!).
Thursday, June 16, 2011
My friend, Neha, had the grandest idea in all the land a few weeks ago when, out of the clear blue, she just decided to have a cupcake-off. Have you guys ever heard of this? Because I sure hadn't. And yet, I think it should become the next best trend. After the trend of cupcakes, that is.
Anyway, so basically, each guest is to bring two cupcakes to the Cupcake-Off - one "basic" (ie: vanilla cake/chocolate frosting, chocolate cake/chocolate frosting, etc.) cupcake and one "specialty" cupcake (ie: a cupcake with some sort of filling in the middle). I'm assuming each cupcake will be cut into quarters and all can sample whichever ones at will.
If there's judging involved, well... I'll bring scorecards!
Dude, I don't think you understand how EXCITED I AM ABOUT THIS! Weeee!!! Much of my young adult life has been defined by cupcakes (pathetic, but true- I'm ob-SESSED) and umm... Chicago only has some of the BEST cupcake shops in the U.S. I never thought any cupcake would top Magnolia's cupcakes in New York but... man, I'm sorry. Molly's Cupcakes in Chicago supercedes Magnolia's by tenfold (or greater).
And that's just the beginning. Sweet Mandy B's, Crumbs, Sprinkles, Phoebe's, More... this city is LADEN with cupcake shops (and yes, I know some of them are in other cities outside of Chicago).
So much to prepare for! So little time! As with any big occasion which requires extensive planning, I've created...
Christie's Cupcake-Off Checklist!!
1. Verify dress code - well, I don't know! The hostess is from the South! Don't you get dressed up for monumental evening events in the South? If a Cupcake-Off doesn't count as a monumental evening event, I simply just don't know what does.
2. Go SHOPPING! - this is dependent on #1 above. I mean, if I need to buy a fancy schmancy summer dress for this extravaganza... well, twist my arm, really.
3. Print Groupon out - even though Molly's is my favorite cupcake shop in all the land, I signed up to bring Sweet Mandy B's because... well, I had a Groupon that I needed to use! So kill me.
4. Go to Molly's Cupcakes and pick up 2 cupcakes - it's pretty dangerous to live just a few blocks down from Molly's. It's also pretty AWE-some. My friend, Urmi, signed up to bring Molly's so I'm going to stop by and pick up her choice of cupcakes for her. Again, twist my arm, really.
5. Go to Sweet Mandy B's and pick up two cupcakes - sigh. SUCH an adorable bake shop in the heart of Lincoln Park. It's actually been aWHILE since I've been here so I'm more than a little excited to reacquaint myself with its coziness.
6. Map out Cupcake-Off strategy - well, I don't want to overload on sugar TOO quickly! I want to savor and appreciate every. last. bite.
6a. Cupcake-Off strategy
I. I'll likely avoid anything with chocolate, because why waste calories and richness on something that I don't really enjoy in the first place?
II. I plan to TRULY eat a quarter of each cupcake I choose and NOT get carried away with the ones I already love (and subsequently, eat the whole thing. Obvi).
III. Try out the cupcakes from those bakeries I haven't yet tried, so I can be as fair and impartial as possible (HA. I already KNOW that's not going to happen).
IV. Fourth, drink a fair amount of water between cupcakes. Cleanse that palate and all that.
7. Get those Spanx ready- you KNOW they'll be a necessity. Hey, at least I'm HONEST! (to fully understand my love of the Spanx, please reference my blog entry: Spanx and Fried Chicken http://bit.ly/jWOzwE)
8. Get to bed EARLY tonight! - I want to make sure I'm in tip-top shape for tomorrow's big day! (Well, that and I'm exhausted. Getting two hours of sleep two nights ago has OFFICIALLY caught up to me.)
Sooo... without further ado... good night! Happy Cupcake-Off Eve!!!!!
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
These people turned out to be like the NICEST people ever, and about ten minutes after talking to them, I'd somehow agreed to coming to their next "fun run" group session on June 14th at 6:30 PM. Twist my arm, really.
Now, if you know me at all, you know that I am pretty staunchly against running in groups- primarily because I am S.L.O.W. Not only that, but there is no way that I'm going to be making any conversation with my fellow runningmates because I'm too busy gasping my way through a run... and chitchatting is the LAST thing on my mind.
Needless to say, I was more than a little nervous about this first group run of mine, but a commitment is a commitment and, quite frankly, I was kind of curious about how this was going to turn out. Anyway, the bus ride home from work was spent mentally pumping myself up for this group run. By the time I got home, I was actually getting kind of excited...
And/or terrified. Whatever.
Big. Fat. Buzzkill. I mean, Stanley's is close enough but not SO close that I could get there in 7 minutes unless (irony of ironies) I ran there.
Monday, June 13, 2011
Anyway, there I was working away, pondering what I was going to blog about tonight (yes, that's what my life has come to), when good old Alma's Gchat message came my way. God, I love Gchat... I mean, I love EVERYthing Google, but Gchat is one of the most amaz- no, no. That shall be another blog post for another time, my friends. I know you'll be on the edge of your seats.
Back to the point... So! With that fleeting Gchat conversation, plans for Monday night's blog were set! Off to Hub 51 for some wine and apps, we go!
It also certainly didn't hurt that I had a $25 gift certificate to Hub 51 to redeem.
Hahaha. You know what? It's so funny because I feel like this blog is making me sound like Deal CENTRAL! But I'm really not! I just happen to have had a LOT of deals/coupons/Groupons/promotions to which to attend in the recent past. And come on, the blog's gotta have SOME substance/general themes! Hahah. It all comes back to the blog, doesn't it? Sigh.
Anyway! I ended up getting to Hub 51 a little earlier than Alma, so I quickly snagged an open table by the bar and did what any other girl at a nice (albeit slightly frattastic) bar would do while she waited...
Some topics included in the girl talk dishfest? Well... you would be VERY proud to hear that this whole Mavs/Heat game from last night made it into our conversation. For a whole two minutes and everything! But then... well, we had Pippa and Prince Harry to discuss (I mean, did you hear about how Pippa broke up with her boyfriend and was seen at a local pub with Prince Harry?!)... and Alma HAD to introduce me to the PopSugar app (which you better beLIEVE I will be downloading in the near future)... and, well, I don't know! The Mavs/Heat game can only be discussed for SO long, considering neither of us bothered watching it and were basing a fair amount of our conversation on... well, the Facebook status updates we'd seen dominating the news feeds during the game.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
The only thing with Groupon is that I get a little overeager and end up sitting on Groupons for things that, let's be honest, I really don't need. This is not my problem... it's this darn Groupon app. I mean, you literally just click BUY and all of a sudden you've purchased a massage, facial, personal trainer workout, movie tickets... well, whatever. I digress. And you probably just got way too much information.
Anyway, about six months ago, I purchased this Groupon for Bakin' and Eggs
Saturday, June 11, 2011
At first, I was a little put off. I mean, burgers for a $1.50? Alarm bells quickly went off in my head... especially with all those recent unknown E. Coli strains hurry scurrying about the world. What can I say? Health and safety is my middle name.
But of course, thanks to the tweet by good old @nbcchicago (GOD, I love Twitter!), a link was included which thoroughly detailed that this was Lettuce Entertain You's 40th anniversary. Lettuce Entertain You is a company that owns a ton of seriously legit restaurants primarily in Chicago (RJ Grunts is one of them), and in honor of their 40th anniversary, they were rolling back the prices of burgers to the prices of 40 years ago...
Well, in honor of this whole attempt at daily blogging bit, I knew I had my entry for the day all ready and set. The thought of any sort of wait was the only reason I was still half-minded about going to RJ Grunts...
But it CERTAINLY didn't hurt that Lettuce Entertain You TOTALLY RETWEETED ME!
They clearly know the way into my heart. Who are we kidding here?
I figured I might as well just stop by RJ Grunts (it's literally less than half a mile from my place) at an "off hour" so I could avoid any waits.
Wrong-o. Even at the off hour of 3:30 PM, there was a wait! Not to mention a BUMPIN' live DJ already in FULL swing... who would've thought? Sigh. I decided to settle down at the bar for my 40th anniversary burger experience.
I totally felt like a food critic... I never usually go out to eat on my own, but hey, I needed a liberating experience (or something like that) and hello, some serious blog research was at hand here, people! Hahah.
YUM-O! Check out RJ Grunts' MENU!! So many OPTIONS! I was delighted!
And ALL for a $1.50?? Yowza burger it is (sans the bacon... I mean, I didn't want to keel over from an ACTUAL coronary right in the bar)! You better believe the thought of saving NINE whole dollars put an actual smile on my face. It was all rather ridiculous. But WOWZA (no pun intended... hahah)! Check out this YOWZA of a burger!
Juicy, delicious, ketchupy... all kinds of heaven wrapped up in one burger, if you will. Ironically, my appetite quickly developed upon my first bite. And it was totally worth it... every. last. bite.
And all for...
Weeeee!!! A $1.50 (plus tax)!!!!! Best anniversary celebration EVER!!!
As I was savoring each and every bite of my Wowza of a Yowza (like that one? Just thought of it all on my own. Hahaha), I also ended up chatting with one of the other guys at the bar who was eating on his own. You know me, Chicago ambassador, that I am. But this is exactly what I mean about my love for Chicago... you can TOTALLY chat with the stranger sitting next to you and feel like you've made a new friend. Midwestern charm and all that.
Well... okay, so seven hours later (yeah, yeah, I know- the Chicago ambassador can get carried away at some points), my new male twin/self-designated BFF Reggie and I were STILL seated at our barstools at RJ Grunts, chatting away. I think they should dedicate those barstools to us, really. A little plaque wouldn't hurt. Just a thought!
I mean, neither of us really knows what happened. It's one thing to be able to chat with a random stranger, but this dude was like my new MALE TWIN! I mean, come ON. When the dude said he loved Christmas... UMM! It was at this conversational juncture that I knew the BFFness was totally signed, sealed and DELIVERED.
Granted... I proceeded to then introduce him to the ridiculousness that can only be ChristIEmas, but whatever. I've never really had a filter, WHY would one suddenly magically develop at this point?
All in all, SUCH a FESTIVE NIGHT! RJ Grunts was alive and HOPPING the ENTIRE time... only getting busier (and thus more festive!) as the night progressed. At one point, I turned to my right and seated at the bar was this little old lady (she had to be in her 70s/80s), and... well, you know me and old people. Pitter patter SO GOES MY HEART! I nearly swooned (and wish I'd shamelessly snapped a picture, of course)...
And then there were these two men (mid-60s, I would guess) totally rockin' out to some of the DJ's blasts from the past...
And THEN we met a couple of the Lettuce Entertain You folks... whom I totally thanked for retweeting me. Appreciation meets shamelessness, if you will. Haha.
At the end of the day, I guess who can really say no to $1.50 burgers, a live DJ or a seriously festive anniversary celebration, for that matter?
Happy 40th Anniversary, Lettuce Entertain You! Cheers!