Friday, January 18, 2013


For Christmas, I received a bottle of Veuve Clicquot (yellow label) as a gift from my boss (bless her sweet heart) and my team received a bottle of Dom from one of our vendors (thank you Austin!) I probably haven't talked about it before but Melissa (my co-worker) and I LOVE champagne (it must be the Libra in us). Melissa admittedly LOVES Andre and while I can and will drink it, who doesn't love a little bit of really expensive champagne?

Melissa lives 30+ miles to the north of work and Kalen lives in Lincoln Park to the south and I'm somewhere in the middle but still 15 miles south of our office. How would we ever crack this bottle of Dom open with that much distance between us? Melissa and Kalen were all about drinking it in the parking lot after work but I dunno .... Veuve and Dom in the Chrysler, Dodge or Toyota? Too trailer park. But the Andre.....ah, well ..... we didn't only have Andre to drink!

I decided I would cook my boursin cheese stuffed chicken breasts wrapped in bacon and have the girls over for a girls evening. Aren't they pretty? Kalen snapped this pic, with a little cropping work, she might have a future in food photography, huh? Kalen suggested we watch Season 1, Episode 1 of Girls although I countered that with Season 1, Episode 1 of Shameless. We agreed to duke that out later. In true Melissa form, she suggested she pick up a bottle of Andre Brut and bring it along for a blind taste test to make it a little fun.

So here they are ... the contestants! I grabbed my sleep mask (yes, I sometimes wear one) and we used that to blind the taster and we went one at a time. If you try this at home, we recommend that all tasters be blinded at once and that you grab a random individual (but we advise against letting strangers into your house, especially ones that might make off with your champagne or want to drink it with you) to pour the champagne in an orderly fashion. Here are the tasters (left to right: Melissa, Denyse and Kalen):

Kalen poured this round and Melissa went first. She tasted the first and commented several times how much she liked it. She tasted the second and at first didn't like that at all and then she tasted the third and made a horrible face and insisted that was probably the Andre. I don't know why she thought the worst tasting one was Andre, she likes it. Anyway, she identified all three incorrectly .... she said that the first one was her very favorite and thought for sure it was Veuve when in fact it was Andre! She predicted the second was Dom but it was in fact Veuve and she thought the last and worst tasting one was Andre but it was actually Dom. We love our little ghetto fabulous Melissa. She countered our teasing by saying that she had cheap taste so she didn't have to spend a lot of money drinking what she loves. God love my little Kenosha girl.

I was up next. Kalen took this very unflattering picture of me tasting. Her people picture taking abilities are not as good as her ability to take food pictures but I'll be a good sport and go with this. Now, I hate to brag, but I know my champagne and I knew right away that the first one I tasted was Andre ---- more wine not enough bubbles. The second was Dom, had it many times and I like it, but it isn't my favorite. And ahhhhhh, last, the Veuve. Always a winner. Yum. I learned years ago not to fight the fact that I am only attracted to the most expensive things. It's a curse. I fall in love with a purse from afar, it's the $450 purse and all the purses surrounding it on the rack are $39.95. I see shoes I love and they are the $110 shoes when all those surrounding them are $50. I see a blazer I love and have to have and it's $220 when everyone to the left and right is $30. Yep, can't win so why fight it?

Turns out Kalen can identify Dom in a crowd ... yep, she guessed her third taste on the head....good ol' Dom. Her first taste was her favorite, she doubted herself and assumed it was Andre when in fact it was Veuve. See, her taste is actually better than she thought!

After dinner, we flipped on the fireplace and settled into the living room to watch Season 1, Episode 1 of Girls on HBO. Surprisingly funny and now I will have yet another series to follow (thanks, Kalen) and then in fair turn we also watched Season 1, Episode 1 of Shameless. Kalen liked it because it had raunchy sex scenes (she lives for that). We then got sucked into watching the second episode of Girls which was funnier than the first, I'll definitely be following that when Private Practice ends next week!

Fun times! Love my girls!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Chivalry Is NOT Dead!

On a trip downtown yesterday on my new adventures of commuting via the Metra, I was pleasantly surprised and I immediately knew it was something I was going to blog about.

If you don't regularly ride public transportation, you don't know about all the things you can experience! The things you will see might impress you, it will likely amuse you, it will often times surprise you and on occasion, it might shock you. There is a lot of writing material during a public commuting experience. I suggested to my co-worker that to capture it all, I would have to be blogging as I was commuting.

So anyway, back to yesterday. I was on my way downtown in the early morning rush hour commute and of course, I got on a train car with all seats filled with the exception of a few openings where you'd have to crawl over the inconsiderate person who affixed themselves to the aisle as a way of saying "don't sit with me." On some other morning I may have messed with this person but today, standing was really fine with me. I opted to stand across from the "priority seats" which are for the elderly and disabled. In the morning they are always filled with regular people and I've not yet had the occasion to test that to see if one of those "regular people" would give up their seat to the elderly or disabled. I noticed the sign said you must do this "if requested." I'm not sure many people are going to request that someone get up to give them the priority seat. Again, getting off track..... back to the "experience."

As I set down my briefcase between my legs and perched myself against the wall facing the "priority seating" commuters, a professional man between the age of 30-35 noticed me and quickly stood up and asked me to take his seat. I was stunned for a moment. Now, he could have thought I was elderly or disabled, I realize that, but I think he was actually being a chivalrous young man and giving up his seat to a woman who was standing. I immediately wondered if this was something my son would do...... I would expect him to but I'm not sure if I remembered to teach him that when he was growing up. Note to self: check with son as soon as possible on this scenario to gauge what he would do and immediately correct him if he doesn't answer correctly in the hopes that he will do it in the future. I politely declined the gentleman's offer for his seat but I was taken aback by his gesture. It was so old-fashioned and it restored my faith in the fact that men still open doors and offer up their seats for women! This young man's mother would be so proud!

So as we approached downtown and I gathered my things (I am not near capable of multi-tasking during my commute like some others I observed, i.e., the woman sitting with her cell phone on her knee using it as an e-reader and knitting at the same time) so I go into panic mode to put my book away and button up my coat, etc. a whole stop before we arrive at the station. I drop a quarter out of my pocket on to the floor and in a packed train, in heels (I'm a novice commuter) I am inclined to just push the quarter aside and forget about it but another young man lurches from his seat and picks up the quarter and hands it to me. TWO IN ONE DAY!!! I thanked him and just sort of smiled the rest of the way to the station.

One of the many things that prompted me to accept my husband's marriage proposal was the fact that he opened doors (car doors included) and was chivalrous. I don't know why these gentlemen's actions surprised me but it was such a pleasant surprise to encounter young men that have the social grace to know that it's very classy to make these sort of gestures.

When we arrive at Union Station, I feel like Carrie from Sex in the City as I walk with a purpose in my business suit, my Louis Vuitton scarf adorning my very practical but professionally stylish winter coat and toting along my briefcase with a big smile on my face. Ladies, I am here to tell you that good men still exist and chivalry is NOT dead!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I Got a Comment!

Hooray! Someone other than Melissa and Kalen is reading my blog! Thank you Tiffany for telling me your out there, it's very motivating to know that my words are reaching someone outside of my little trio! It might be only you Tiffany but the fact that you are reading means I've reached my goal! It's an exciting day! Doesn't it make you feel great to know you've made someone's day? Ha!

In all honesty, I hope you'll keep reading and I hope you'll tell others! :)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Social Aggravating

I'm always thinking about what I can share on my blog. There are things that I immediately want to write about and have to curtail my excitement because well, somethings are just inappropriate for public consumption. There are other things I want to write about that just simply no one would care about. But does anyone really read this? I never get any comments or replies ... my guess is that my two co-workers (who also blog and commit to be my followers) are the only real human beings who read this faithfully. If you're out there and you aren't Melissa or Kalen, I'd love to know.

So how many of you know someone who posts socially unacceptable, aggravating, negative or just plain old bullshit posts on a social networking site? You don't say anything because they are either a good friend, a friend of the family or someone you don't want to offend yet every time you see a post from them you just want to poke yourself in the eye with a fork. I confronted the person I know this weekend and it didn't turn out really well.

One of my closest friends lives with sort of a conspiracy theory. She's convinced the government is out to get us all ..... she quotes passages from the "Secret Government" and she believes that vaccines are made to kill us or cause cancer in all of us, she believes that our President is out to take away all of our American rights, she believes that the government will come knocking at your door someday and take away all of your guns, and that soon, you will be stripped of all of your rights. Every single post, every single day revolves around something like this.

Who knows if she is right, perhaps she knows something not everyone else does but really, if all of that is true, do we really want to live and breathe it every single minute of every single day? If eventually, we will all die because we were vaccinated with the very poison that will someday destroy our bodies, this world and all the life on it, do we really want to know that now?

This is my same friend who also has a survival kit in her closet for the day the world ends and she claims that I can make fun of her when I am searching high and low for her because she has a mobile water purification system in that kit. REALLY? Do I really want to live through the end of the world? Not really. I want to die as quickly and as painlessly as possible.

This weekend when she posted that the H1N1 vaccine has poisons in it that will cause cancer and all sorts of other stuff, I just lost it. I called her crazy and paranoid and told her I was worried for her. She got mad and lashed out and in some ways I don't blame her, after all, it is her Facebook page and she has the right to post whatever she wants on her own page but the negativity just sparked something in me and I had to voice my thoughts.

Turning on the news everyday is depressing enough ..... I am trying to live 2013 with as much positivity as I can. Thinking positive brings good things. I'm not going to worry about things I can't change and I'll work extra hard for the things that I can. Is it wrong that I just don't want to see negativity every time I sign on to my Facebook account? Perhaps I should unfriend her, I mean, it's her right and it's my right not to have to see that if I don't want to. If I unfriend her, I will either offend her (even though I have already) or I will lose a connection with her that is important to me.

I'm reading a lot lately that says to flush out the negative people in your life .... but I love her and I don't want to lose her in my life. Am I wrong for telling her that all she is projecting is negativity and that just once in awhile it would be nice to see something positive from her?

I'm curious to other's thoughts on this topic. Is anyone listening?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Stuff I Make

2012, enter Pinterest into my life. It made me crazy addicted. I am pinning everywhere .... in traffic, at work, while working out .... if I could figure out how, I'd do it in my sleep. I love it madly. When I'm cooking, I'm cooking something off Pinterest. My holiday cookies were from Pinterest. My holiday gifts were from Pinterest. Pinterest turned me into a jewelry designer .... a card maker ... a party planner .... in short, I don't have enough time for Pinterest now because I'm too busy pinning and creating.

I thought this would be a good time to share some of the things I've done on Pinterest (to validate to myself that this Pinterest stuff isn't a huge time suck) and that it might be adding a little bit of wonderfulness to my life.

I made baked french toast. was delish. My family loved it, including my husband who doesn't normally go for this stuff. The kids said it was a definite do over.

Made this fried cabbage and bacon. It was also delicious. The kids ate it right up .... even those that don't normally eat bacon. This is not something you can make a leftover out of though .... but it's good fresh from the pan.

Oh, this was a good one ... garlic chicken. Throw it all into a casserole dish, throw in brown sugar, garlic and ginger with the chicken and bake. Serve over rich. The kids went crazy for it.

Brought these to a party. Low carb! Greek salad bites. Awesome but not as pretty as they look!

I made this. Eggnog Poundcake ... supposed to be the best poundcake ever. It was good but it wasn't the best poundcake EVER.

I called this Christmas Crack ... it was to DIE for. Saltines smothered with butter, sugar and chocolate chips and baked in the oven. You would think you died.

This is just so easy it was crazy. Shrimps on a cookie sheet, cover with olive oil or butter and sprinkle on dry italian dressing mix and bake in the oven. Crazy good!

Button bracelet. Mine was wayyyyyyy prettier and I sold many in my Etsy store.

This is one of my favorite things I did ... a frame for pictures hanging from a curtain rod. I get more compliments than you could believe!

I made this for my fireplace mantel but instead of FALL I spelled out FAMILY. It was one of my very favorite projects.

For Halloween, I transformed my summer pots into an outdoor topiary with plastic pumpkins. Very cute!

I made these for Christmas gifts. OPI nail polish with a pair of cute fuzzy socks in a little bag. Who doesn't love a pedicure?

Do you Pinterest? What do you love about it?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Holy Detox Bath

I became intrigued by something I found on a fellow blogger's site intended to remove toxins from your body. I'm all about this witch doctor, alternative medicine kind of things. I just love it. After discovering Shea Terra Organics ( and using the Black Soap and realizing there is no greater facial cleanser on this earth that could make your skin feel so exfoliated, young and tight without all the chemicals and other shit you find in some of the most famous brands, I have been seeking this kind of stuff out ever since.

Anyway, I tried to do the bath on Monday night and got all excited and I dumped my stuff into the bath and then realized that my kids had used every single last bit of hot water in the house so I couldn't do the bath. Didn't work completely the way it was intended. So last night, I did it again and I do admit, pretty awesome. Don't expect this to be some crazy magical relaxing bath in which you'll enjoy a glass of wine. You gotta drink a glass of water before you do it, while you do it and chug a nice cool one after you do it. The bath itself is COMPLETELY exhausting. You will be tired and you will continue to sweat not just during the bath but after too. You will have one of the most delicious slumbers you have ever imagined. That part IS magical. The next day you really do feel revived. It will be interesting to see if I feel better after I do this for awhile.

Interestingly, I've been fighting a sinus cold for weeks now, waking up stuffy and have headaches and ear congestion and it appears today that those symptoms are now completely gone. Not sure if the bath helped, might just be a coincidence.

So I recommend you try it if you can go into it with a positive mind .... I find things always go better when you are open to the possibilities.


Thursday, January 3, 2013


Live in such a way that if anyone were to speak badly of you, no one would believe it.

There was a time several years ago when I let someone into my life that was malicious, self involved and mean spirited. She took a very tragic situation in my life and turned it into something that wasn't at all true. As a result of her lies, I lost several people in my life that meant a great deal to me. It was a very difficult time but I learned a lot about myself and other people from that experience. I also gained one of the greatest friendships I have ever known. I think the hardest part of this whole situation was that I couldn't believe that my so-called friends would believe the things this person was saying. If they really knew me, how could they think I would do something like this and why would they choose to believe her over me? I'll never know that answer and perhaps these were toxic friends that had served their purpose in my life and were meant to be discarded. Whatever the case, it caused me to really re-examine myself to ensure that I was the person I believed myself to be.

So, what's my point? We should all be living our lives with great integrity. If we treat others the way we would want to be treated and live our lives being true to the things we believe, even when we don't think anyone is watching, karma will pay back people like this woman who do things only to gain something themselves.

Recently, this person has lost her husband and all of the friends that stood by her at that time and her life has a great emptiness she will never be able to fill. As hard as it is, I try not to sit in judgement and I certainly don't relish in her pain. Instead, I'm trying to understand that karma really does exist. We'll eventually get what we bestow on to others.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2013, Dammit!

Happy New Year! The holidays overwhelm me but it's really self imposed. I am eternally guilty of making everything a project. I make everything more difficult than it has to be and then wind up disappointed when I can't get everything done to my expectations. I'm a little nuts, I admit it. I ran across this little blurb on Pinterest and it really resonated with me....
In a "life talk" with my co-worker and friend, Melissa, we talked about being okay with who we are and loving ourselves before expecting others to love us. I am going to start celebrating my idiosyncrasies instead of apologizing for them. They are what makes me...ME! I overdo just about everything I do so yes, I'm guilty of this but so what? It makes life interesting and colorful.


The hardest thing in life is to know which bridges to cross and which to burn.

How many of us have been there? Have you ever remained friends with someone simply because you were lonely or wanted someone to hang with? I, myself, am terrible at cutting ties. My husband is incredibly good at it and I often criticize him for it but I wonder if my heart would be less heavy if I could just let it go sometimes instead of trying to hold on to it. I can't count the times I have put more into a relationship then I was getting in return, not just with men but with friends as well. While there are a handful of friendships I have been able to let go of, I have a very hard time letting them go. I grieve a really big loss when I do.I feel somehow responsible even if in all honesty it had nothing really to do with me.

In 2013, I plan to ditch those in my life that zap my energy, encourage bad habits and judge me for who I may or may not be. I am more interested in putting the time and effort into friendships that are supportive and mutual with people that care enough to want to be my friend. I want to be surrounded by like-minded and positive people.

By nature I am competitive but the one place that I don't want to compete is in relationships with people I love, especially my friends. I want loving, supportive friendships not friendships where we are trying to constantly one up each other. I find that I flee the scene quickly if that occurs.

After an interaction with a friend in 2013 I will pay better attention to how I feel after hanging out with that person. More importantly, I will ask myself why I remain friends with this person. If the answer is something other than mutual support, love, motivation, inspiration, encouragement, laughter, or any other positive emotions or outcome, I will re-examine the relationship.

Are you holding on to relationships in your life that keep you from being happy? What will you do differently in 2013 to attain happiness?