Sunday, April 13, 2014

Love That Dirty Water

The first hints of spring and autumn always make me miss New England. Since 2007 I've spent a few summers in Massachusetts, but I effectively moved away when I was eighteen. While Michigan does have beautiful landscapes and Chicago has a lakefront, these seasons make me wish I was back on the beach in Ipswich, debating between fried clams or fish and chips for lunch. It's one of the many reasons I hesitate when answering the question "Where are you from?" when it comes up overseas. "Well, I live in Chicago, but I grew up outside Boston..."

A Dunkin Donuts ad? I must be in Boston.
With that, I give you the top five reasons I will pretty much always identify as a New Englander:

Thursday, March 27, 2014

New Pieces

After a long hiatus from writing, I've finally gotten back on the wagon!  Main Street just published two pieces of mine about wedding planning. 

Wedding Budget Relativity
Because after two years of planning a wedding, I've stopped flinching when someone tells me that a bouquet costs upwards of $150. For this, I got to interview Elizabeth Clayton, a Bay Area wedding planner whose Get Sh*t Done articles on A Practical Wedding have contributed significantly to my sanity in planning this whole thing.

Financially Illogical Wedding Traditions That I Still Can't Avoid
I got to interview Meg Keene, the founder and editor-in-chief of my favorite wedding blog.  I'm hoping it wasn't too obvious that I was ridiculously excited.


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Wedding Planning vs. Backpacking

I have been planning our wedding since March 2012, so it's been a while.  In that time, I have managed to find my way through many, many wedding blogs.  Since this will be the most expensive event I've ever planned, I usually click through websites that include advice on how to save money.  Some are great - did you know you can dress up a grocery store cake into something pretty fancy?  Even though picking our bakery (maybe five months too early?) has been one of my favorite parts of planning so far, I love reading through posts like this.

Making our cake tasting even better, we got samples to take home.
Other websites quickly leave me feeling inadequate.  For every gorgeous featured wedding, there's another wedding that was just as beautiful and cost half the price.  On a post about a $10,000 wedding for 100 people, there's an internet commenter saying, "$10,000?  My 200 person wedding only cost $5,000 and we served a seven-course meal with fresh-caught lobster."  For every $5,000 lobster-filled wedding, there's an internet commenter saying, "You spent that much on one day, you idiot?  I fed my 300-guest wedding with $20 and a box of saltines!  And they all said it was the best wedding they'd ever been to!"  This race to the bottom leaves me with the constant fear that I am behind on my research.  Clearly if one vendor's prices look good, I must have missed the other guy whose prices are even better, plus he'll throw in a puppy for the day.   

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Educational TV

Watching TV with Eric has been a learning experience.  Any program or movie we watch that has anything to do with law, legal issues, or lawyers results in a seminar-length lecture for me on what the show has done right or, more likely, completely made up.  Let me give you a few examples (plot spoilers ahead):

Eric got a mocha and saw Avengers on the same night in Malaysia. 
It was a big day.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Now what?

I've been slacking on posts recently.  Aside from the usual excuses of procrastination and stress baking, part of the reason for this has been my own uncertainty about what to do with this blog.  Do I keep it a travel blog?  Do I keep an urban theme and write about discovering Chicago?  Can I switch back to my pre-trip format and write about whatever I feel like?  Will my handful of regular readers be interested in my comments about the character development on How I Met Your Mother?  (As some unlucky friends have discovered, I have so many thoughts!)


Some things I've been up to instead of blogging
This blog started as an outlet for me to write down general thoughts, and I think that's where it's going to go for the time being.  I'll still chronicle any traveling adventures I have, but you'll also get to read about my latest farmer's market discovery, analyses of TV and movies, and experiences slowly becoming a real adult.  I hope you enjoy it.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Coffee! (And Some Tea!)

Recently we broke in our coffee grinder with coffee beans that Eric picked up to remind him of his recent trip to Sao Paulo.  He raved about the coffee he tasted there and when he got back, he picked up some Brazilian beans at the Coffee & Tea Exchange in our neighborhood.  Eric and I have put together a good coffee-making set-up.  We have a one-cup coffee maker (which was passed down from my sister Val to my brother Tim to me) and a cappuccino machine that Eric has mastered.  While we enjoy coffee, neither of us is what I would consider a connoisseur.  We like good coffee, but we also go through creamer at a steady rate.  


It's tough to take a photo in our apartment without some sort of Michigan gear in it.
While we traveled last year (this time in 2012 we were in the Cameron Highlands, Malaysia), we sampled local coffee everywhere we stopped.  Here's a round-up of some types of coffee or tea you might want to try on your travels or if you can find it at home.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Racing for the Train

The elevated trains in Chicago are both great and terrible. You can watch them come and go as you walk up to the stations that rattle a story above ground. It's a way to witness the motion of the city – traveling, transportation, energy, innovation, synergy! On the other hand, it means that each morning as I walk up to my station, I can watch my train arriving from a block away. 

I made the train that morning!