Sunday, September 25, 2011

Shamelessness Meets... My CNN iReport!

I'm a fairly shameless person. I have been for most of my life (since high school, at least). And for the most part, it's gotten me some legit opportunities. Here are some of the top moments where my shamelessness TOTALLY paid off in terms of life-defining moments (ordered by importance, of course):

1. Meeting Will Smithlkfjaslkfjsl!!
2. Meeting Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clintonlkajdslkfajdslkfj!
3. Going to the last Oprah showlaksjfdlksajfdl!
4. Getting my picture posted on one of the Times Square Digitron screenslkasjflkdsj!
5. Getting some legit airtime on MTV's TRL
6. Getting interviewed for the Lakers Fan Cam

Well. I can now add:

#7. Shamelessly plucking random individuals from a crowd to interview for a CNN iReport.

Let me back up. So Social Media Week was taking place in Chicago all week long, and I was helping out by blogging for a few of the events. I'd received an email a few weeks ago, detailing the opportunity to submit a CNN iReport on social media, since CNN iReport was one of the sponsors of Social Media Week.

You better BELIEVE I got right ON that opportunity. I'm in love with CNN (I've wanted to be a news anchor since I was about... four years old) and I love all things social media (follow me @maliyacular on Twitter! Shameless, again. I know.)... how much more perfect an opportunity could it GET?!

That said, I figured I couldn't just interview MYSELF about social media... I'm not exactly the most impartial person, in case you couldn't tell. Instead, I just went right ahead and plucked three individuals from the crowd (at one of Social Media Week's panel discussions) to interview for... my very first CNN iReport! Shameless, I know. But hey, they agreed.

All in a day's work, really :)

Therefore... in all things good and shameless, I present to you... my very first CNN iReport! (Apologies in advance for the background noise. I'm a rookie, what can I say?)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I Met Tucker Max!

And I was impressed!

Trust me. I surprise myself sometimes. When I first learned of this opportunity to blog for Social Media Week Chicago, I was thrilled to bits. You know me and my (slight) love for blogging... now on a grand scale and everything?! Sign me UP!

When we got our blogging assignments for the week, I eagerly perused the spreadsheet for my name. There were so MANY (80+) events going on this week, that I couldn't WAIT to see where I'd been placed.

Let's just say that when I saw my name listed to blog for "A Conversation with Tucker Max", I rolled my eyes pretty much instantaneously. I mean, Tucker Max? Come ON. Sure, I've read his blog and parts of his book (and, okay, I've laughed... aloud and everything... even at the degrading parts about women, I'll admit it), but that doesn't necessarily mean I was all ready, set, pumped to have to listen to him for an hour.

God, I was just envisioning his arrogance, his ego, his... partying/womanizing ways.

But boy, was I wrong. Okay, sure, he may be all of the above (he has to be... read his stuff) but he is also impressively insightful, analytical, candid and... who would have guessed it? NICE!

I'm working on a post for Social Media Week Chicago regarding the content of the talk, so I will post that link here (when it gets reviewed/approved) in case you are interested. HOWEVER, I just wanted to gush here (on the "filterless blog", if you will ;)) about his PERSONALITY! He was not only so obviously intelligent and well-spoken, but I honestly cannot believe how FRIENDLY he was! He didn't even blink an eye when I basically accosted him for a picture (Duh. Did you think I would do anything else?)!

Total winner in my book. Well, ALMOST. I mean, I still know what kind of lifestyle he leads...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Road Trip in the Name of Alllll Things Good and Fallll!

I'm baaaack!! After traveling for five weeks, I am back where I belong... CHICAGO!!!! Needless to say, I was so ready, set, PUMPED to be back home. What better way to really express my renewed appreciation for the grand city of Chicago than... to peace outta Chicago and head to Milwaukee the day after my grand return? Oh, the irony.

For good reason though! A couple of friends (Emily and Jay) and I had planned a road trip this weekend to visit another couple of good friends (Scott and Missy) who live in Milwaukee... and were gracious enough to host us during only like the grandest weekend of all time... the weekend of the local FALL FESTIVAL!!!!

OMGDSfkjjdsflaksjfdlkj!!! If you know me at ALL, you KNOW that Fall is my FAVORITE FAVORITE FAVORITE TIME OF YEAR!!!! The crisp, cool air, the beautiful foliage colors, the flavors of PUMPKIN and APPLE... dude, seriously. It canNOT get any BETTER. So you better BELIEVE I basically LEAPED on this opportunity to celebrate Fallll in allll its grandeur at this Fall Festival.

And, BOY, did it SO not disappoint.

The road trip started off... well, kind of anticlimactically. Of course, there were hugs GALORE when I first reunited with Emily... I mean, who are we kidding? It was like giddiness central. We made a quick pit stop at Walgreens since Emily wanted to pick up some iced tea and chips...

Then, we picked up Jay (reunion central again!) and were all ready, set to get on our WAY...

Except that I decided that I now wanted some water and chips as well... so we stopped at our second Walgreens in the course of... well, about ten minutes.

But THEN, we were ready, set and on our WAY! Milwaukee, here we come!!

After nothing short of a FABULOUS reunion with Missy and Scott (GOD, they are some of the best people ever invented), you better believe we wasted NO time in heading STRAIGHT for that Fall Festival! (I initially was doing my best to maintain a somewhat reserved, laid-back demeanor when Missy was asking us about thoughts on the afternoon's activities but... well, that lasted about five minutes. Hello!! A Fall Festival was a'CALLING! There was no TIME for beating around the bush, here!)

As soon as we arrived, I just knew, knew, KNEW I was not going to be disappointed.

And the FLAVORS of Fall!! GOD, it's been so long since I've had anything pumpkin flavored... well, minus the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte I had last week. But whatever. I haven't experienced total and complete pumpkin OVERLOAD just yet... and BOY, was I ready for it.

From pumpkin gelato...

To pumpkin beer...

To pumpkin pancakes...

To, well, pumpkins THEMSELVES...

Sigh. Let's just have a moment here, people. Let's just have a moment to rela-

Oh, screw it. lakjroewijulfkddjsajflksjdflkjlkJ!lkjlksjdflksjdf lkjfalksjfoiewrlkj! lskdjfoieurlwkjlkj! lkjkfasdjowielrkjlkjsdlkfhoiyvidhvlwkjl!jlkjfsaoiewlkjflksjd!! The grandest season of ALL is REALLY AND TRULY UPON US ONCE AGAIN!!!!!!lkfjdslkfjasdlkj!J!lkjlkajfdlkdsj! Seriously, just LOOKING at those pictures and RELIVING THE EXPERIENCE OF ALL THINGS GOOD AND PUMPKIN is making me so squeal-worthy HAPPY, I can barely STAND IT!!!!

You would think that would be the end of it, but I mean, please. It's just plain not. Amidst all the pumpkin-y goodness, we were also graced with the delight of only the second grandest flavor of alllll the season of Fallll... APPLE!!!

What better way to doll up this fine fruit than to... well, dump it in a bunch of chocolatey/caramely/sugary GOODNESS? I mean, will you LOOK at these things?!

God, can life really get any better? Really?

Well, I guess it can. Because, quite frankly, the best part about this weekend was just hanging out with some of my favorite people.

(Unfortunately, I didn't snap a photo of Missy and Scott, but that would OBVIOUSLY have gone here as well.)

After all the (mostly self-inflicted) chaos and delightfulness of the Fall Festival, Saturday night ended up being pretty chill, with a visit to a ping-pong bar:

And eating lots (and lots and lots) of good FOOD. For heaven's sake, Missy and Scott just do things so RIGHT. It had been a while since I've had a nice, home-cooked meal (let alone any fruits or veggies, in general)...

And quite frankly, Scott is a LEGIT master chef. Homemade pizza? I will TAKE it.

(The pancakes Scott whipped up the next morning only further corroborated the aforementioned FACT that he is a legit master chef.)

Add that to the SIXTY* donuts we consumed after the ping-pong bar on Saturday night, and I can safely say our bellies left the grand state of Wisconsin MORE than satisfied.

All in all, I can safely say that this weekend road trip was nothing short of a sweet success. Missy and Scott, THANK YOU for yet another pretty darn perfect weekend in Wisconsin. :)

*Yes. That's right. Sixty donuts. This is what happens when Scott rolls through a drive-thru donut stand (Sil's) at midnight and orders... not one donut per person, not half a dozen donuts, not even a dozen donuts. No, no. This is what happens when Scott orders... an OFFICE PACK of donuts. 60 donuts... for 5 people. Oh whatever, you better be keeping your judgmental thoughts to yourselves until you actually TRY these things. Melt. In your. MOUTH. DELICIOUSNESS. (I wish I'd snapped a picture but, quite frankly, we devoured those things before my camera even had a chance.)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Christie Meets... The County Fair

Well. That title pretty much just says it all, now doesn't it?

I've been pretty much MIA for the past few weeks, because I've been staffed on a project in a small, northern Ohio town. Sigh, Ohio.

I've always dreamed about leaving the big city and moving to a cozy small town (and, ultimately, owning a cupcakery and bookstore... but I digress). So I figured I might as well see what small town cultural experiences are actually like... especially considering how much BUZZ I'd heard about the Stark County Fair. I simply HAD to take advantage! When in Rome and all that.

Yeah, well, that was before I realized that "Rome" cost eight bucks to get into! EIGHT BUCKS for the county fair?? I was a bit appalled. Even more appalled considering it was FREE on Tuesdays and Wednesdays- I'd just missed the deal by a day. Big fat boo.

It was hard to stay in a bummed mood- I'm a little kid at heart, what can I say? Upon entering the fairgrounds, my heart gave a little leap when I saw all the lights and the rides and the games... oh my!

I started meandering about, and started to feel a bit out of place. I didn't know a single person at this fair and, well, I don't know. I felt like people were looking at me funny. Maybe it was in my head, but whatever. Just as I was thinking of turning around and heading back to my car, my eyes caught sight of a beacon in this sea of strangers...

Can you make it out?! Ohio State! Ohio State!

Sigh. That's pretty much all it took for me to feel nicely comforted in my own skin again. Soo... let the wandering around continue. Man, for such a small town, this fair kind of goes all OUT! There was a concert going on in one area, some kind of animal showcasing event going on in another area... and even "farms" for goats, sheep, and horses!

There was even...

Well, okay. You can pretty much imagine how much understanding and use I would have for tractors, but still. It's certainly NOT something that I would see everyday! All about immersion and stuff.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I guess all of the above would constitute part of the "cultural" experience of the fair. But let's get to the good stuff. I mean, who are we kidding? As soon as you enter the fairgrounds, you are INUNDATED with food, food and more food!

Yum-O. Unfortunately, I wasn't all too hungry so I figured I'd just stock up on something sweet. Can't go wrong with that, now can you? From funnel cakes to sweet waffles to ice cream galore, I had my choice of it all! It was only as I was wandering, mentally complaining about WHY this fair wasn't carrying any darn fried ice cream (yes, this is what my life has come to) when...

Yeehaw! (<--When in Rome, remember?) Check it OUT!!! Just what I was looking for... fried Snickers, Reeses, cookie dough... and on and on. I ended up going with a fried Twinkie (hey, when you're going to go, go all out) and eagerly devoured my first bite.

And nearly burned the roof of my mouth OFF. This thing was PIPING! (I wish I could have snapped a picture of me eating my fried Twinkie, but I felt a little uncomfortable asking someone at the fair to take a picture for me... trust me on this one.)

Sadly, I only ate about 1/4 of the fried Twinkie. I don't know what I was thinking, really. I don't even like Twinkies all that much to begin with. (Hello! It's like eating chemicals!) I guess I just figured frying that sucker would make all things right in the world again.

It. Did. Not. If anything, I feel like the frying just brought out that chemical-y flavor even more.

YUCK. Oh well. You win some, you lose some. Next time, I'm just going to stick with the fried Snickers. Stick with what I know best (have YOU had a fried Snickers before? O.M.G.)

Ah, the county fair. Ah, culture.