Sunday, February 26, 2012

Australia!!! The Dream Continues to Evolve...

I swear, this trip is becoming the most haphazard thing ever. It dawned on me last weekend that I really ought to start nailing down some of the finer details of my quickly approaching trip to Australia in the middle of March. I mean, all I'd done was book my flight there... and quite frankly, that wasn't enough. I still had to book my flights from Melbourne to Cairns, from Cairns to Sydney... not to mention my lodging in all of these places.

This is not my fault. I simply haven't had time to plan appropriately. Even this weekend, I tried to buckle down and really cement my plans but GOD... it all seems like it's done in such a chaotic, frenzied fashion because I have too many other things to do, that this is the least of my immediate priorities. Thankfully, my Australia guidebook is like my new little happy place. Seriously, as I start sifting through what could be a slightly overwhelmingly thick guidebook (after all, Australia is one HUGE country!), I don't get as overwhelmed as I originally brace myself to be... rather, I just get more and more excited!! I mean, seriously, I know it's not going to be summertime when I go down there, but I still can FEEL the sunshine and warmth emanating from its pages!!!

I keep joking with people about this, but I can't help but wonder how much truth lies in the fact that I very well may just park it in Australia, rather than returning to the United States. I just have this FEELING that I'm. Going. To LOVE IT THEREKLjflkdsjfalkdsj!!!!

Thankfully, today was a little more productive. I finally bit it and booked my flights from Melbourne to Cairns and Cairns back to Sydney. I don't know what has happened to me! I used to be the most frugal traveller EVER (think: my European summer where I literally was starving myself during my unpaid internship so I could have enough money to travel... with trains and hostels, mind you). Now? Well, now, I guess I just don't feel like I have the TIME or PATIENCE to be a frugal traveller. I guess that explains why I paid a whole boatload more for these damn flights than was likely necessary... but what? Virgin Australia looks so sleek! And I've had great experiences on Virgin AMERICA flights... how different can Virgin Australia really be? Let's be honest here. As far as lodging is concerned... I stopped myself short of just booking hotels in Melbourne and Cairns, just because they came "highly recommended" by my travel book. I mean, I felt a little faint when I started adding up those hotel costs plus the local Australian flights I'd just booked. I clearly need to be doing the bookings in staggered fashions, to eliminate one ginormous hit to my darn credit card... and my personal heart health.

Weeellkajfljdsflkj! I'm getting so excited!!! I'm already starting to brainstorm ideas of how I can use my blog as a platform when I'm in the land down under. Maybe I could start interviewing locals about their thoughts on Americans? Lord, maybe not... don't want to be responsible for opening up a whole can of worms... I mean, it's a potentially dangerous topic! And, quite frankly, as much as I gripe about America from time to time, I do love this country. Sigh. God bless it. Hahaha. President Christie, that's me...

Anyway, obvi I'll have to keep brainstorming... the aforementioned idea isn't exactly a reflection of the creative genius needed to become an Internet viral sensation (always the ultimate goal, in my mind).

Speaking of viral Internet sensations... time to go practice some Nicki Minaj to appropriately prep for my work team's karaoke team event this upcoming week... klasjflajdsflkj!!! I. CANNOT. WAIT. I am SO. GOOD. AT RAP KARAOKE!!!!! And Nicki Minaj? Please- signed, sealed and delivered. Just you wait.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Brunching, Threading and Mother Nature Taking Her Own Sweet Time

It's another one of those clusters of a blog title, huh? What can I say- since I've (only) been blogging about once a week lately, I've gotta cram certain key activities into singular blog posts, no matter how unrelated...

This weekend started out not looking so hot. It all started last Wednesday night, when I started feeling incredibly sick. Initially, I thought it was just the general fatigue my body's been experiencing for the past couple of months, thanks to my perpetual inability to sleep while on the road for work. Nope- Thursday morning I woke up with a full fledged stuffy nose, sore throat, cough, etc. etc. Because I tend to frown on Western medicine, I refuse to take anything, since I'm a fan of that whole letting Mother Nature take her course.

Yeah, Mother Nature's sure been taking her own sweet time. That hasn't stopped me from enjoying my weekend, however. You better believe that I'm not going to let some stuffiness and fever get in my way (well. To an extent.). I mean, I have my priorities and obligations...

And quite frankly, I HAD to get my eyebrows done this weekend! While I've been trying to upkeep with some standard tweeze-ing, it simply just does NOT compare to threading. Anyone who knows me at all knows I am slightly OB-SESSED with 1) eyebrow shaping and 2) threading. I feel like the obsession has only skyrocketed over the past year or so, since I've discovered one of THE best threaders in all the land (and trust me, coming from me, that is saying a LOT).

"My threading lady" in Lincoln Park only charges $7 for eyebrows!! Now do you see why I go as frequently as I do? I mean, I'm used to eyebrow waxing services that charge upwards of $20 per visit! You can clearly see why I feel NO guilt about taking full advantage of these $7 services on a regular basis (that's right- I go every 2-3 weeks... if you're an Indian girl, you'll understand why this frequency is needed... ah, sisterhood. Hahaha.).

This Saturday, I met up with a friend for brunch at Orange, right next door to my place (I picked the place... the fact that it happened to be right next door to my place was not exactly coincidental). You can't really go wrong with brunch at Orange- it's just so simply delicious. And talk about some fun brunching... Alma and I decided to splurge on Orange's signature "Frushi" to start off the brunching experience.

Have you heard of frushi? It's pretty obvious what it is from the pictures, right? Fruity flavored sushi (the purple one is blueberry flavored). Unique, right? It was actually quite tasty, I must admit. And who doesn't appreciate a unique component of a dining experience, really?

Anyway, as we were finishing up brunch, I mentioned that my afternoon plans consisted of, among other things, eyebrow threading. Needless to say, I was more than pleasantly surprised when Alma indicated she'd love to join in the merriment... I mean, you don't have to tell me TWICE. I advertise my threading lady to ALL the WORLD, and the fact that I now had a buddy to accompany me?? Well... you better believe I capitalized on Alma's photog abilities to snap some pictures of the whole threading experience if you will...

Doesn't it look so fun?!?!? So SIMPLE!! And my threading lady is just so AWESOME!!! She is the sweetest person EVER and always apologizes when she sees me tearing up (which, trust me, is natural). Seriously, getting my eyebrows threaded is one of my FAVORITE things EVER- I really think it's one of those things that can make any bad day all the better. It just opens your face on up and makes you just look so much more well-KEMPT, if you will!

Honestly, I wouldn't actively advertise this place if it wasn't so DARN GOOD. This lady is consistently AMAZING and I think my eyebrows could not look any better if they tried (if I do say so myself)... even random people at stores have complimented me on them!! And trust me, you KNOW that's all it takes to get me sailing to cloud nine and all that. Haha. Seriously, if you are in the Lincoln Park area (or hell, even if you're not, make the TRIP up- it's totally worth it!), you should visit the Century Mall and just look for an "eyebrow threading" shop. It's on the second floor right by Victoria's Secret.

I can 100% assure you- you will NOT be DISAPPOINTED.

Oh. That's all I've got. Hope it sufficed for this week!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Super Bowl... Not So Much the Snoozefest I Was Expecting

Let's be real here- me and football do not exactly go hand in hand. I know this is highly ironic, considering I hail from the one and only THE Ohio State University BUT, as I am VERY quick to point out to any/everyone whose eyes alight when I share that I went to OSU... I may have a whole lotta school pride, but I could NOT care less when it comes to that whole football thing.

Hey, at least I'm honest right?

Given all that, it really should come as no surprise that I kept on forgetting that today was Super Bowl Sunday. Honestly, throughout the week, as people would start telling me about their weekend plans and inevitably bring up the Super Bowl, I would literally have to consciously filter my immediate thoughts of "Oh, that thing's this weekend? Didn't we just have one last year?". Since I can understand others' appreciation for this seemingly barbaric sport, I decided to keep such thoughts to myself (empathy personified, I know).

So when my friend, Joyce, texted me about a Super Bowl viewing at another friends' apartment, I was pretty indifferent to the whole idea. I mean, who are we kidding here, the only thing I really cared about was the halftime show (and the commercials, but that just goes without saying).

I was pretty much anticipating what always happens when I have to partake in some sort of football viewing party. I'll go, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to socialize and make merry... and people will just turn out to be GLUED to the television, hooting and hollering at random intervals when Player A tackles Player B. Over. And over. And over...

You get the idea. Honestly, watching a football game is like experiencing that movie, Groundhog's Day. I mean, it all just looks about the same after a while, right? Like... how many downs and tackles and throws and catches can one REALLY keep track of in the course of one game? I mean, football games are L-O-N-G, people!

So you can imagine my surprise with how this evening shaped out to be. Sure, Joyce and I ended up arriving about an hour and a half into the game (just in time for that halftime show... strategy is our middle name), but I have to admit- right from where I picked up the game, I was actually QUITE intrigued. I'm not going to lie... before I got to the party, I wasn't quite positive about who was ACTUALLY playing. I had an inkling that it was the New England Patriots but I couldn't be positive about the Giants... after all, when I think of Giants, I think of SF Giants and come on... even I know they're a baseball team.

Sigh. Baby steps, I know. It didn't take all too long for me to catch on that it was the New York Giants... and I even figured out the team uniform colors pretty quickly, so it was easier for me to track who was doing what to whom. I was actually quite proud of myself, really. Additionally, I FINALLY got to see this whole Eli Manning/Tom Brady saga unfold... I mean, I'd heard so MUCH about EACH of these players, but I finally got to see what they're made of. To be honest, most of what I saw of Eli Manning was him just watching from the sidelines (I guess they didn't need him??), but let's face it- he is just so wholesome and adorable, it's hard not to be completely smitten by him... sidelines and all.

Tom Brady in action? Eh. I mean, I guess he can throw the ball really well (especially during that last minute of the game when he needed to get the ball thrown past that yellow line AND outta bounds? Wtf), but he wasn't all that exciting for me to watch. I think he was just overhyped to me. But then again, what do I really know? (I bet some people reading this thing are literally just cringing. Oh well.)

Overall, though- I did find the game really interesting! I mean, it's really not ALL that hard to follow if you've got that yellow line to keep track of throughout the game! (I'm being completely facetious here... I know there's a lot more to the game than just the little yellow line but... well, baby steps, here, people!) In any event, as the game progressed, I quickly moved from not really knowing who was playing to becoming an AVID Patriots fan... for SEVERAL reasons:

1. I love, love, LOVED how the team had the owner's deceased wife's initials sewn onto their jerseys. Touching, really. Tugged at my heartstrings, to be honest. I love how that one player who used to always give that deceased wife a kiss on the cheek for good luck before the game now gave the owner himself a kiss on the cheek. Seriously, heartstring tugger.

2. I think my favorite part of the game was when that Hernandez player made that touchdown and did his little "make it rain" dance... seriously- it was SO elaborate (like, did he practice that as much, if not more, than he practiced the sport of football??) and so... just plain awesome. I could watch that over and over again.

3. And... well, that's pretty much it. Doesn't take much to make me a fan, apparently...

Sigh. Needless to say, I was pretty heartbroken by the end of the game. I mean, it was so CLOSE... and the Patriots were doing just FINE until the very last minute here. But oh well- it happens, right? Riiiight. I should try using that line of reasoning with that Patriots coach... he looked like he was on FIRE after the game... I certainly would've been running and hiding if I were any of those 200+ pound players. Seriously, did you see him?? Terr-ifying.

Anyway. So, there you hav-

OMG!! After all of the above, I nearly forgot to discuss the two things that were initially my sole purposes for watching the game!! Wow, I really AM a changed person!! In short... I thought the commercials were mediocre (nothing stood out to me as amazing, although there were a couple of laugh out loud ones) but I thought the halftime show was seriously Le-git. For a 50+ year old woman, Madonna never ceases to AMAZE me as a performer! Seriously. Le-git.

All in all... a sweet success of a Super Bowl... despite the downfall of my beloved Patriots. Is it possible to reach "beloved" status in the course of four hours? Apparently, in my book... why yes, yes it is.