Goal #25: My Makeup Routine

i posted on friday about how i was able to check off goal #25 on my 101 in 1001 list.  it boiled down to picking my favorite products and figuring out a fast makeup routine so i can speed up the process in the mornings.  i'm not a beauty blogger by any means, but i love snooping on other blogs to see what they use, so i thought i'd share mine too.  here's what works for me, which i've found through a trial and error process.




1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8

the basics
face: for the work day, i just use bb cream.  it's much lighter on my skin, and i don't need heavy coverage.  i stick to urban decay naked skin bb cream because it doesn't make me feel shiny or greasy.  i use benefit erase paste concealer in light for under eye circles.  mine are pretty dark and i think this stuff works great, especially since i don't need to use much.  i top that with rimmel stay matte powder (cheap and works wonderfully!).  i spend more on blush, using the nars blush in orgasm.  but this lasts me forever and i haven't found anything comparable in a cheaper brand, so nars it is.

eyes: for eye shadow, i use the urban decay naked 2 palette.  doesn't everyone adore this?  it's pricey but i won't have to purchase shadow again for a long time.  i use it daily and it looks like i've barely touched it.  (i also adore the stila 'in the light' palette.)  i use urban decay 24/7 eyeliner in ... bourbon.  i wanted a brown and i picked that solely for the name but i swear it's a great color.  these liners glide on smooth and fast.  top that with covergirl professionals super thick lash mascara and i'm done with eyes.

lips: and lastly, revlon color burst lip butter in peach parfait.  don't let the tube color fool you.  these go on sheer and the peach is perfect on every skin tone.  very natural.  and it's super hydrating, it goes on like chap stick.  i carry it everywhere.  i also have a more pink tone and a red, but the peach is my go-to.


i'll be honest, i don't have time for all that highlighting business and such on the week day mornings before work.  i like my sleep.  so when i have more time (like... when i'm going out on the weekends!) i use a few additional/different products.




1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8


the extras
face: i take the time to start with primer, two faced primed and poreless.  it really does make a difference and i should use it daily, but that just ain't happening.  i use makeup forever mat velvet+ as foundation instead of the bb cream.  it lasts longer, doesn't make me shiny, and looks nice in pictures.  i use the same concealer, powder, blush, and eye shadow palette, but i add the urban decay eye shadow primer.  it makes the shadows stay longer and i think it makes the color deeper even with less product.  could i just use the face primer on my lids?  probably.  but the ud eye primer was free and i really like it.

usually i also take the time for bronzer and highlighter.  i'm of the opinion that bronzer is bronzer so i stick with the elf version.  for highlighter i use benefit high beam and i love this stuff.  if i remembered i'd probably wear it daily, but usually i forget.  i'm not a morning person, ok?!  and a little goes a long way, so this is another pricey up front but lasts forever product.

eyes: for nights out, i switch to liquid liner.  i use l'oreal intense eyeliner in black which i recommend for beginners because the tip is thin so it's easy to work with.  i also switch to mac false lash mascara.  i love the way it makes my lashes look but i don't love the price tag for everyday wear.  also, i find it takes longer to put on because you can get clumps if you aren't careful (and at 7 a.m., i'm not careful) and doesn't wash off as easily.  great for all night dancing, not necessary for sitting in an office.  and i'm already fairly lazy about makeup removal at night, i don't need extra difficult mascara every day no matter how great my lashes look (and the cg stuff looks fab for every day anyway, in my opinion.)

lips: and finally, gloss.  i have a few kinds, as i prefer gloss to wear gloss over lipstick.  i never reapply, i just don't think about it much.  the best one for non-sticky and long lasting is nars.  and i get it in orgasm cause i dunno it matches my blush.  it's a neutral shimmer, i like it.  i've also been known to use mac gloss and milani gloss, so i'm clearly not brand preferential nor high end preferential.  if it works, it works, no matter the price point.


i should mention that i don't tan so no, my makeup doesn't change by season.  i'm pasty white year round.  my skin type is pretty normal, oily in the t zone so if i put on nothing in the mornings, i'll be t-zone shiny by around noon.  i hate being shiny.  i don't give a crap if 'dewy' looks are in, my face will always be matte as long as i can help it.  hence, mattifying makeup.  so all of this works well for acne prone skin.  i also wear contacts, none of this bothers my eyes.  oh and i get asked about the red lips in my photo to the right - it's makeup forever in moulin rouge, the only bright red i will wear.

any other questions?  do we use any of the same products?!


(none of these are affiliate links and nothing was sent for free.  this is just what i use.)

26

September Goals Update

the end of september is upon us.  i can hardly believe it, because usually i don't think summer goes by very quickly.  you know me, i'm a huge winter/snow fan, so summer seems to drag for me.  but not this year.  i really feel like tara and i just began our 101 in 1001 lists yesterday.  granted it was only july 4th that we started, but in 3 months i've accomplished 27 out of my 101 things, and i have so many more in progress.

it gives me a heck of a lot of insight into my personality too, because my 'organization' goals are almost completely done while my 'financial' goals are barely touched.  touche, stephanie procrastination techniques.  touche.

you can see my complete 101 in 1001 list here.  and here's my september progress: (bold = completed, italics = in progress)


organize 
get the apartment on a realistic cleaning schedule - my place stays pretty well clean, i've got a good system going and it hasn't been a problem in a few months.  i think if i can keep it up another month, i'll be ready to check this off.

learn 
learn a quick makeup routine using favorite products - i have picked my favorites of everything.  once i find what i love, i really don't change.  so i have favorite day time versus evening makeup staples and i've perfected getting it all done in just a few minutes. i was showered, hair dried, dressed, makeup, everything done in under 40 minutes just a few weekends ago. and probably 20 of that was drying my dang thick hair.  but it's safe to cross this off now, i can do it in just mere minutes.  i'm by no means a beauty blogger, but if you're interested in my favorite products, i'll definitely share!

personal 
figure out a skincare routine - i got all my favorite products down to a science.  my skin isn't sensitive, but i like to stick with what i know and see results from.  if i can stick to this more often in the next month or so, i'll be confident in crossing it off.  like the makeup, if you want to know what i use, i'll be happy to share.
make my own mini happiness project

relationships 
take photos in a photo booth with john - at navy pier!  so fun.


(let her find out i'm dating her brother and then) be civil with julie - well she found out in august, and she's totally fine with me.  at least, to my face.  she gets a little dramatic about it with john occasionally by asking the pointed "how's stephanie?", but when he had to break a date night because of a sudden change in his work hours, she told him "why can't you just go any way? she's a nice girl."  i consider that a win.  he may never be civil with his own sister, but at least i am.

finances 
pay off student loans - one is paid off!  that's 4 out of 5 paid off.  and i made a big dent on the last one.  so close i can taste it, it's about $5,000 left at a 3% interest rate.

quirky 
decide if i really want that tattoo, once and for all, and get it if i do - i made a decision.  no tattoos for me.  yeah, that decision took at least 5 years to make.  i wanted a hawkeye, like the tiger hawk iowa symbol.  i thought i did at least, but i finally decided that tattoos are just not my thing.  tara's are fun and they look cool.  i know i'd always love the tiger hawk.  but tattoos just aren't 'me'.  oh well.  decision made!
make awesome matching halloween costumes with tara - my pinata costume!  it's more than half finished, you can check it out on instagram.  tara is (or should be...) working on hers, we're going to look hilarious.  and we're going to throw candy at people all night, so it's a win all around.  next month, this will be checked off the list!  october is going to be a big 'check it off' month, i can tell.

so that's 4 more things accomplished this month and a lot more in progress.  i also read a ton and watched a bunch of movies/tv series so there's big dents in those goals too.  i really want to hit 50 by the end of december.  i think it would be so fun to have half my list done in just 6 months, when i have 2.75 years.


if you want to link up your posts on your goals, please do! your posts can be anything related to your goals - 101 lists, bucket lists, 30 before 30 lists, anything you're working on or planning to work on soon. i love seeing other people's ideas and progress!


18

A Helpful Chicago Map

i'm getting this here blog on a blog schedule.  everything needs to be on schedules.  i like order.  and planning.  since i already decluttered and completely organized my home, i decided to turn my attentions to my online activities.  starting here, naturally.  (because i already keep an inbox zero.  you can be jealous.)

i live in a really great city, and i don't talk about it nearly enough.  people visit here from all over the world, and i actually live here.  you can even see the sears tower (stop trying to make willis happen. it's not going to happen.) from my apartment window and i think that's pretty cool.  in my old place, you could see navy pier.  and i get e-mail requests fairly regularly from bloggers about to visit chicago asking for my recommendations, so of course i thought 'heck, i might as well make some blog posts out of these ideas.'

there's a lot of guides you can find on all the tourist-y things to do.  but i've lived in chicago almost my whole life so i wanted to take some time to tell you about the not so tourist-y yet awesome things to do.  places i love to eat, the best places to shop.  and maybe some insider secrets about those tourist places, like the best days and times to visit the shedd aquarium.  i don't have all the details worked out yet, but i am going to do a chicago post once a month.  (the third thursday of every month, in case you're interested.  that's how detailed my little ocd blog schedule is.)

probably starting with the best dive bars, let's be honest here.  write what you know, right?

this will all be starting in october, but i thought i'd take today to offer a map of the chicago area.  it might give you a better idea of where i am and where the different neighborhoods are that people often mention.  this is a map of chicago from best chicago properties.  i thank them for providing it, because it was the best 'basic' one i could find.  chicago does extend slightly further west and south than this map shows, but this is the area i'd be talking about.  i added some helpful notes to orient you, of course.  cause y'all care so much where i live, right?  there should also be large spots over wrigley, lincoln park, and river north that say 'this is where i drink' if you want to imagine the full picture.




got that? any questions? if you want to know where something is specifically, just ask, i'll be happy to point it out. is this what you pictured when you thought of chicago neighborhoods?

did you know this is the map of panem? blew my mind. always thought it was a straight line.
17

A to Z of Little Life Wins: D is for Deals

am i the only one who just won't pay full price for anything anymore?  there is just nothing i love more than getting a good deal.  half off, buy one get one free, finding your size in the clearance section, too many groupons to count.  all of those deals where you pay half or less of the purchase price make me dance with joy.  even though i know it's all marketing schemes, i still feel an overwhelming sense of accomplishment.  like i just won something.  as if somehow paying a discounted price makes me better than everyone who paid full price.  it does.  i don't know how, but it does.


and i actually love getting any kind of deal.  i do a lot of online shopping, and before i purchase anything i search for promo codes online.  every store has them.  i don't care if it's 10% off (which only covers tax in chicago) or free shipping.  it's something.  it's such a fun rush to find a coupon code for your purchase.

the trick, though, is finding the coupon code.  not having it sent to you.  i have signed up for more e-mail lists than i care to admit.  and they are constantly bombarding you with deals and sales to entice you to check out the new merchandise.  this was my downfall.  every single e-mail from express or victoria's secret sucked me in.  do not sign up for these e-mails (or send them to a spam e-mail account.)  if you already are, unsubscribe!  i had to, desperately.  now i only shop when i remember i want or need something.  that's when i go searching for the code.  like a treasure hunt for adults.  adults addicted to online shopping.

as far as sales, you know my go-to is target.  there is always. always. something in the clearance or sales sections that i want.  clothes go on sale so fast, i never pay full price there for anything.  and for coupon hunting, i usually have the best luck with a site called retail me not.  i'm far too lazy to cut coupons in a mailer to use in store.  but online codes are too good to pass up.

i may or may not be on kohls.com as we speak...

where do you find the best sales?  and where do you hunt for those coupon codes?!
23

This.

some days, i just have nothing worthwhile to say.  and you can't force a blog post.  so instead, i leave you with these words of wisdom, which may just offer a little insight into the female psyche.



at least it makes sense to me.


and congrats to the winner of the lauren conrad books giveaway - ty of arkansassy!

10

I Request the Highest of Fives

1. don't forget to enter this giveaway, (originally posted here)  i'll be picking a winner on sunday.



2. these boots happened.  oh yes they did.  only $20 from justfab.com and i cannot wait to receive them.  i think this is acceptable because (a) only $20, (b) i honestly have no boots that aren't cowboy in nature, and (c) i've been wanting ones exactly like this since i posted them on my blog last year around this time.  because lauren conrad has them (fine, she has the expensive chloe ones, but i don't have my own tv show so $20 it is.)  told you she's my style icon.



3. i know i just talked about clutter free gifts, and for my friends, that's going to happen.  but not for the animal loves in my life.  like my best friend's cat, royal, and yes, i buy royal christmas and birthday presents, deal with it.  i found this perfect box tree contraption for cats, he's going to go bonkers.  the day meredith threw out the giant box her table came in was hands down the saddest day of royal's little life.  and i'm basically bringing it back, but better.  so maybe i haven't found perfect gifts for the humans in my life, but animals are way easier to shop for.


p.s. for the record, 'meow mow mow-mow' means 'i love you' in cat.  we've proven it scientifically.  and by scientifically i mean the world's meanest farm cat in kentucky lets me, and only me, touch her.  because i'm the only one that tells her i love you in cat.  true story.


4. whoa new iphone software update.  i was not mentally prepared for all these updates.  although i quickly figured out new alarm and text sounds (happy me, i hated the old ones), i'm still learning everything else.  it really is like having a brand new phone without spending the money.  my poor fingers were used to the old keyboard and now all my texts are screwed up and i'm not even drinking.  hashtag first world problems.  which may or may not be exactly what i texted tara, because some times we're obnoxious enough to hashtag our text messages.  don't worry.  i'm judging myself.



5. speaking of which, tara's coming in to town.  we're planning on going to watch the iowa game at a bar in wrigleyville at 11 a.m. on saturday... and then we're going to stay out.  in wrigley.  for the rest of the day and night.  i'm not great at math, but i at least know that's over 12 hours of drinking.  what could go wrong?



i hope i shall see you monday.  fingers crossed.

 photo H54Fbutton-1_zpsa7aaa665.png

17

5 Super Powers I Wish I Had

i don't want any of those comic book super powers.  i mean, i guess flying would be cool.  then i wouldn't be afraid of planes and heights, since i could fly and therefore not crash down to earth.  and you always think reading minds would be fun, but then you watch the episode of buffy where it almost kills her because she can't tune anyone out.  but i think i have much better ideas of what i'd like my super power to be.

first and foremost, let's be honest, the power to eat taco bell and chocolate all day and not get fat or sick.



the power to make my pinterest dreams a reality.  i'd like my pinterest closet.  and my pinterest house.  what more would i ever need in life if i got everything i pinned?  i'd pin healthy food and skinny bodies and kate spade shoes and poof, they'd appear.  i'd have to stop pinning horses and foxes and puppies though, that'd get awkward real quick.

the power to resist hangovers.  i am no longer the 20 year old balla i thought i was back in college.  hangovers actually hit me now.  gone are the days of 5 nights out a week and still making it to my 8:30 a.m. classes.  but really, even in college i had a few close calls.  i would love the power to never have hangovers.  (yes i realize i could just not drink and achieve this, but i don't want that.  i actually like the taste of beer, and wine, and most cocktails.)  i want to play 5 hours of flip cup and go on my merry way the next day without the hit by a truck feeling.

the power to snap clean laundry back in to my closet.  i don't even mind washing and drying, it's the putting away of clothes that really gets me.  folding, hanging, whatever, it's not fun.  i'd like to just snap it back into it's proper place.  like mary poppins.

the power to pause time.  i don't really need to go back and forth in time, but i'd love to just pause it.  pause it in the middle of an exam to have more time to write an answer.  pause time on weekends to get done the lame things like cleaning without missing the fun things like having time to hang out with friends and watch football.  pause right after my alarm goes off to sleep a few extra hours minutes.


what would you want your super power to be?

19

Uncluttered Gift Giving

i can admit that i'm a little crazy when it comes to christmas.  i love it, and yes, i'm already planning for it.  despite the fact that both my favorite holiday (halloween) and my birthday are between now and december 25, i've still got christmas on the brain.  this starts every year around... january 31st so i'm surprised i've kept it off the blog this long.  guess what monday was? 100 days til christmas.  which i'm almost positive is the first time i mentioned it on the blog last year too.  100 days out some how makes it okay to start talking about.

well this is the year of clutter free gift giving (something that's on my 101 list).  as you might know, i love de-cluttering.  i guess you could call me a minimalist, but i'm not very extreme or even that good at it yet.  i still have tv (cable is included in my rent, sue me), i still have over 20 pairs of shoes and an equal number of dresses.  but i'm getting there.  i love living with less stuff, it's surprisingly satisfying.

anyway, the point is that i'm not giving gifts this year for the holidays that can possibly end up being "clutter."  the holidays are just the time to make sure the people you love and appreciate all year long know that you love and appreciate them.  but 'clutter,' like random un-personalized knick knacks, doesn't convey that feeling.  i don't want to be the one that brings extra stuff into someone else's house.  this means no jewelry, no candles, no bake-ware, no books, no sweaters, no blankets, no photos.  just good old-fashioned time, gift certificates (for events or dinners, not for shopping!), or edible gifts because trust me, my friends would never let a bottle of vodka be 'clutter' for long.

kind of like the coupon books i made for my parents as a child.  which, in my opinion, were hilarious, because i gave my dad ones like "watch a whole day of football with stephanie" and "take stephanie on a shopping spree."  and by "as a child" i mean "for the last 28 years."  i promise this year's gifts will be less self-serving.

while my list of people to give gifts to isn't long, it does seem more difficult when the standby gifts aren't an option.  luckily, two of my friends, tara and betsy, have 101 in 1001 lists posted to their blogs that i can get ideas from (i.e. for betsy's birthday, i got her a gift certificate for the architecture boat tour so she could check that off her list.)  i won't ruin the surprise for them, but i do know what to do.  

but what about the people who don't have these lists?  meredith and i have made a no gifts plan - we're going to adopt a family together, which is her favorite thing to do at christmas.  a family in need posts their wish list and you go buy the things on it, including basics like towels as well as the barbie the daughter wants.  which i suppose is still buying 'stuff' but it's stuff for people who need it and not for meredith.  it's just something we can do together without spending more money on each other (which, when you've been best friends for 18 years, adds up to a lot of stuff.)

i'm also thinking of gifting my time - helping people organize who have said they want it, pet sitting, and as much as it pains me maybe babysitting for my cousin's kid.  that's a lie.  i'll buy her a gift certificate for a babysitter.

do you have any clutter-free gift ideas for me?  what would you most like to receive?

22

Life Lessons I Learned From My Parents

people will still love you even if you aren't current on every fad.  a conversation with my dad: "did you hear about the super bowl?  who is bruce morris, do you like him?  is he part of that first dimension band?"  (in case you don't speak 74 year old father, he meant bruno mars and one direction, respectively.)  and he's a pediatrician.  the kids still love him, even if he has no clue what songs they're listening to. 


always buy at least somewhat see-through shower curtains.  when i was getting my first shower curtain in college for my apartment, i was all about some pretty patterned something, probably in hot pink.  but then my mother reminded me about 'psycho' and convinced me that i wouldn't be murdered, or i'd at least see them coming, with a shower curtain either clear or thin enough to see through.  i'm still terrified of showering in hotels with opaque curtains.  seriously.  but since then i've always had a transparent shower curtain, and it does make the bathroom look bigger.  and i haven't been murdered yet.  (specifically, i have this one.)


sandwiches made with nothing but cream cheese and cucumbers are perfectly acceptable, even desirable, lunches.  as are cut up hot dogs in baked beans, dinosaur shaped mac and cheese, and grilled cheese and tomato soup.


dogs behave until you do something to bother them.  "moooooom, crystal bit me!"  "well what'd you do?"  fair.  i teased her with her treats and she didn't actually bite so much as lunge for the bone i was taunting her with.  the dog is always right.  respect the dog.


work hard, play hard.






you can pick your family.  adopted right here, holla.  in addition to picking me, they picked their family or at least who to be close to.  everyone says you can pick your friends but not your family, but my family, on both parents' sides, has some real loons.  as every family does.  but my parents decided long ago that they don't need those toxic relationships in their lives or mine.  and they picked family for me that isn't family at all.  like my 'uncle carmie' betsy met last weekend - guess what betsy?  he's not actually related at all.  bet you didn't know!


not my grandparents.  but he taught me to drive.

not really my uncle uncle carmie


nothing good happens on the road after midnight.  i never had a curfew.  it was never even discussed; it was never an issue.  i didn't even want to be anywhere late, i never snuck out, and when my friends and i started driving, my dad just said 'nothing good happens on the road after midnight, so if you're still some place at midnight, stay there.'  he's right, the horrible accidents teens get in to, even if they were the victim of a drunk driver, always happen after midnight, particularly in the suburbs with less cabs and public transportation options.


but lots of good things happen at noon.  so always go tailgating with your kid.  try not to be horrified at the idea of keg stands, the fact that a frat boy just drank straight from the bottle of belvedere you brought for your bloody marys, that the fruit is not just 'fruit', or the fact that your daughter might not be 21 yet.



thanks for all that wonderful guidance and more, mom and dad!

----------

enter the giveaway to win hardcover copies of lauren conrad's style and beauty books.

24

My Style Icon // Giveaway

i adore lauren conrad.  i want to be her.  i'm not following her down her path of getting bangs, because years of childhood cowlick induced meltdowns have taught me that's a bad plan.  but other than that, i copy her hairstyles, buy her line at kohl's, i look for images of her when planning new years or other fancy outfits, we even once had the same halloween costume, though i didn't plan that.  i like to think great minds think alike.  i just always think she looks put together and classically pretty, without being over the top, too trendy, or worse, trashy (like say... kristen cavalleri cutler.  not that she isn't a wonderfully nice person, but i don't envy her style.)

well the point of that love fest is this - here's your chance to win hard cover copies of two of her books - lauren conrad style and lauren conrad beauty.  between the two you get all her hair, makeup, and clothing ideas, from how to do her cat eye to what timeless pieces to invest in.





i do want to point out that her books discuss what she does and also what's best for everyone.  so even if you don't have blonde hair and green eyes, her books will still apply.

(this month's sponsors didn't know i was including them.  but i think they're really great and wanted to encourage you to check them out.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*enter via rafflecopter. winner chosen randomly by rafflecopter.  i will verify the winning entry.  open to all u.s. and international residents.  open for 1 week, winner will be chosen and contacted 9/29/13, and will have 72 hours to respond with their mailing address before a new winner is chosen.  odds of winning determined by number of entries.  approximate retail value $34.00.  prize is supplied directly by me, lauren conrad and her team don't know about the giveaway, and my sponsors and i hold no liability for anything further after receiving your prize.  any taxes on the prize will be paid by the winner.  i retain the right to publish the winners name.  any social media sites included have no liability or knowledge of the giveaway. no purchase necessary.  void where prohibited by law.  sorry you had to read all that crap, but people are crazy, and i encourage you to use the same language on your giveaways.


36

Save a Horse, Ride a ... Camel

fall is coming, slowly but surely.  surprisingly, it's not fall yet in chicago.  i think tuesday it was 96 degrees, which is possibly hotter than it has been all summer.  in case you haven't noticed, i don't ever discuss spring/ summer/ wanting warmer weather on this blog.  because i don't.  if i could live in siberia, i would.  i love snow, i love winter, nothing would make me happier than snow and cold every single day.  i was born at the end of november, on a freezing cold but sunny day, and i've liked winter ever since.

so i do get excited for fall.  not because of all the boots, sweaters, and pumpkin flavored things that most people look forward to, but because it's one season closer to winter and my snow.  i certainly participate in all the fall related activities though.  halloween is my favorite holiday, so i love costume shopping, going to haunted houses, decorating my apartment, carving pumpkins.

let me tell you how to really pick pumpkins.  you go to goebbert's farm in the northern suburbs of chicago.  because yes you get your apple cider and your giant pumpkin, but it's also a freaking zoo.  literally.  like, you get to feed the giraffes and watch pig races.

and pony rides?  please.  camel rides is where it's at.  in case you were thinking camel rides are contained to egypt, i can assure you, they are not.




and if 28 is too old to ride a camel, well that's just too damn bad.  elida and i don't care.  i can't wait to go back, even if the camel ride line is full of 8 year olds.  (and if you live in the area and do have kids you can take here, go ahead and let them ride a camel and call yourself the coolest mom/aunt/nanny ever.)

for you chicagoans - goebbert's has their 'preview' weekend of limited activities this weekend, and opens officially next weekend.  you can find them here.  they have no idea i wrote this, i just love it there.  and isn't that a better endorsement than someone paying me to tell you to go there?  mid-day, understandably, gets crowded.  go early or late.
20

A to Z of Annoyances: D is for Delays

i was going to wait and make this post m is for metra but i'm currently too annoyed to wait that long.  i hate delays, 5 minutes, 50 minutes, nothing annoys me more since i am always on time.  my parents struggle with being on time for anything, which i think made me so mad over the years that i went the complete opposite way and am now on time if not early for absolutely everything.  i don't even believe in being fashionably late for parties, i'll be there an hour early to help you set up.  obviously, delays make me crazy.  lateness is extremely noticeable to me, especially when there's no real reason for it and it just keeps happening.

so chicago metra, this goes out to you - change. your. effing. schedule.  i take the train fairly often.  not every day, and i've heard that it's decently on time during rush hour.  but i at least take it every weekend, and have been doing so since i was in high school.  that's 10 years times 48 times a year of the metra being late.  i have never, not one single time, taken a weekend metra train that has been on time.  480 times (and 960 if we count the ride back, and that's late too) at least you've been late, metra.  are you kidding me?!

and what annoys me even more is that it's not just late but consistently late timing-wise.  like it's regularly the same amount of minutes late.  it's never a large number, nothing like an hour delay, but come on.  if you claim to get somewhere by 3:30 but it's always 3:39, then change the damn schedule to say 3:39!!

one that irks me so much is taking the train from downtown to my parents house, which is approximately 6 stops away.  and it is 4 minutes past the time it claims it will arrive at my parents house every time.  4 minutes should not be a big deal and in the grand scheme of things, it's not.  but trust me, when it's exactly 4 minutes late 300 times in a row, you get more annoyed than the situation warrants.  the train almost always leaves the station on time.  and there's not many stops between downtown and my parents house, so it's not a lot of passenger delay that could be holding up the train, especially the first one on saturday morning.  no one's on it.  it's just that metra is assuming the train moves at a certain speed and it so obviously does not.  it moves 4 minutes slower than you think it does, metra, and why you can't figure that out after at least 10 years baffles me.  get your shit together.

the most annoying part though, by far, is that every time i take the train, it passes metra signage over the highway that says "we're on time, are you?"  this makes me beyond ragey, because i've stared at the sign while running late over 500 times.  you've got to be kidding me metra.  being chronically late is one thing, but then the false advertising you place on top of that?  i hate you.

i hate that i have to use you.  true, those 4 minutes aren't a big deal but when you add it up - you've wasted at least 32 hours of my life.  and it's actually significantly more because the return trips are late too.  and for that i hate you.  i want my days back.

bite me.

12

Life Skills I Learned From Blogging

i happen to know a good chunk of my regular readers are not bloggers.  (i make all my friends read this blog and i get borderline hostile when they don't know something about my life that i mentioned here.  because i think my friends have nothing better to do than read my blog every day, clearly.)  i think a lot of them are confused by my desire to write silly things on the internet, but they've come to just accept it over the last year.  i've encouraged a lot of them to start blogs of their own, like betsy and tara, and there's some that are still considering it.  because i happen to think that blogging, if you enjoy writing, is beneficial.  not just for the obvious reasons but because i think blogging has helped me in real life as well.  'life skills,' i like to call them, that i don't think i was very good at before running a blog for a year.

taking criticism.  i actually majored in english in college, was briefly on newspaper in high school (ditched it for being yearbook editor.  the power that comes with yearbook editor is unparalleled.) and spent all six semesters of law school in a legal writing class, so i'm used to taking criticism on my writing.  but as an only child, the extent of my acceptance of criticism stopped there.  i've always had a 'my way or the highway' attitude, but blogging puts you in your place.  everything gets criticized when you put it out there essentially, well, to be criticized.  your clothes, your drinking habits, your parenting style, your job, your relationships.  i won't lie to you - it's still 'my way or the highway.'  i'm just more aware of how people perceive what i publish.  as translated into real life, it's made me better realizing how people look at my actions and what i say, and that sometimes i may need to tone that overly opinionated attitude down a notch.



enjoying my own thing.  bloggers post things that look so cute on them, or things they use that look like they would be so helpful or time saving.  even post photos of themselves doing some activity that looks fun.  but here's the thing - it's not fun for me.  this is probably against every blogger's internal ideals but i'll tell you what - i hate j. crew.  hate it.  it looks so cute on other people but i never find anything actually in store that looks cute.  it's overpriced and it fits me terribly.  bloggers make me want to give it another chance, but i know i'm wasting my time.  same with cute high heels, beach vacations, happy hour martinis, diy projects - they look great, but none of that is 'me.'  so in real life, when someone says "volleyball is fun, join our league" i can pause and then accept the fact that i have 28 years of anecdotal proof that i do, in fact, hate volleyball.

tolerating stupidity.  just as some people criticize what i write, i too criticize what other people put out there.  silently usually, because they can write whatever they want.  but some people post the most ridiculous things.  evil, racist, nasty, or discriminatory things usually in the name of jesus and sometimes i just cannot keep my mouth shut.  two blogs in particular i just hate.  occasionally i do leave a 'well that was rude and judgmental' comment, but you really won't accomplish anything by engaging in battle with them.  they will still be stupid and you'll just have wasted your time.  even though i might have broken my own rule yesterday.  in real life, there will always be ignorant people.  ignore them.  or correct them once and then drop it, a debate will get you nowhere.



accepting imperfection.  i have never been able to accept being less than perfect.  i always have to be the best at something.  i thrive on being the best and usually without much effort.  which sounds terrible but i was always naturally good in school, it's just that no one knew it.  when my psat score was as high as the smartest girls in the class, everyone was shocked.  not that they thought i was dumb, but i was what my best friend sarah referred to as 'closet smart.'  i just didn't have to try as hard as everyone else.  this is no longer the case post law school.  now that the world isn't all test taking, i'm not the best.  i want to be the best at blogging, but guess what?  i never will be.  someone will always be wittier, be better at taking photos, have more interesting things to say, have more followers.  i've been better at accepting that i'm not a perfect blogger and better at accepting that i'm not perfect in real life either.  (except to my parents, of course, i'm still a perfect daughter, right mom?)

and obviously i've learned a flair for well placed gifs.  not that that translates into real life skill.  yet.


what has blogging taught you about the real world?


29

A to Z of Little Life Wins: C is for Cooking

eating healthy is hard.  i am not a fan of this 'no fast food or ordering in' month, i really really want chipotle and possibly a milkshake.  and definitely pizza.  but i am being better about walking across the street to the grocery store and actually cooking things for myself, and that, my friends, is a little life win in my book.  progress is progress and i'll take what i can get.

i think some people over estimate the difficulty of home cooked things.  (alright, myself included.)  i will admit that spaghetti sauce and pesto sauce in a jar is obviously easier than making it from scratch, but they are the two things i will always make instead of buy.  and i have no real kitchen skills at all.  but spaghetti sauce in a jar is too sweet for my taste and pesto is insanely expensive for a little bitty jar.  so while i was cooking, or what i consider cooking, i thought i'd quickly post my recipe for making these things at home.  try it!  so easy, much cheaper.  and they freeze great, so you can make huge portions at a time.

spaghetti sauce
1 finely chopped small onion (and tiny amount of oil)
3 28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes in puree
2 12 ounce cans tomato paste
2 cups water
4 bay leaves
1 tablespoon oregano
4 teaspoons minced garlic
4 teaspons dry basil
2 teaspoons sea salt

saute onion in a little oil in a large pot until golden.  add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  reduce heat, cover and simmer for at least 2 hours.  use an immersion blender to thin.  yeah, that's it.  and you can just eyeball the dry ingredients, it's really just adjust to taste!  and it doesn't have the added sugar that i hate in jar sauces.

pesto
1 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper to taste

combine basil and nuts in a food processor and pulse a few times.  (yes, my magic bullet is my best friend.) add cheese, oil and garlic and process until well combined.  and salt and pepper to taste and pulse again. 

now i just have to figure out how to make spaghetti squash spaghetti instead of regular noodles.  i'm still learning that...

oh and for dessert, cheesecake! it's soft set, so it's not like cheesecake factory cake but it's soft and creamy and delicious.  think similar to very thick yogurt, or melting ice cream.  and there's no oven involved.  and it's ready in an hour.

no bake cheesecake
11 ounces cream cheese, softened
14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup lemon juice
19" graham cracker or chocolate cookie pie crust (store bought is the way to go on this one)

beat cream cheese until smooth and fluffy.  gradually add half of the sweetened condensed milk, beating constantly.  add the lemon juice and beat until smooth.  add the remaining milk and beat until smooth.  pour into crust and chill at least 1 hour.


so fine, maybe cheesecake doesn't fit into my diet plan, but hey, it could be worse, right?  i add veggies to the pasta sauce, i feel like that counts for something.

got any easy recipes for me to try?
18

Excited for... Nothing

do i need another weekend after my extended one?  no.  am i glad it's here?  yes.  it hasn't been a very long or busy week, but there's been a long list of tiny annoyances i've had to attend to.  work things, events (dad's birthday!  while fabulous of course, still takes planning and reservations and card and donut buying), cable installation, lease issues, the end of summer hours meaning i have to stay past 4 pm on fridays, etc. etc.  but it's okay because the weekend has arrived and i can officially ignore everyone and everything and do nothing until monday if i don't want to.  and i don't.  is it weird that i'm excited about having zero weekend plans?  it's true.  i'm excited for nothing.



but the week wasn't all annoying.  there were some key highlights i can't overlook:

1. celebrated my dad's birthday!  he turned 74.  i don't think anyone believes he's actually 74.  happy birthday dad.

(ok, this picture is july 2011 but close enough.)


2. navy pier and braving the ferris wheel.  for real though, that thing is high.  too high, just look.  but it was still nice to enjoy the pier on an off day.  i even got to eat at margaritaville and take photos in a photo booth.  and almost convinced john to make me a build a bear but decided that (a) that shit is too hard, (b) i have no room for such clutter and (c) i have no need to form yet another overly sentimental attachment to expensive stuffing with eyes.  so we skipped it.  i got a frozen daquiri instead which was a way more satisfying decision on my part.





3. one more of my student loans is paid off! (yeah, one more out of 5 total) which brings me down to having only one loan left, which hopefully can be paid off within this next year? two years?  whatever, one more down, one to go.  whoo!


and michelle was proud.  she's so good with money, i'm jealous.  i learn things from her though!

4. i've made progress on my 101 in 1001 list.  i didn't do much in august with the move and everything, but i'm back on track this week.  pay off the loans is on the list so that's obviously in progress, but i also got to try a new restaurant for dad's birthday, shanghai terrace.  and i'm hoping to get one more goal checked off on saturday.  wouldn't it be awesome to have half the list completed within the first 6 months?!

5. i moved units in the same building, which obviously means the same lady signs for my packages. guys, she knew.  i went down there for the first time after moving and she said "oh stepanee, 1208, you move! 601 now, i see your name, i know it you.  what you buy now?" (she has a very thick accent)  she knows how much i love my online shopping.  pipe down woman, i needed cleaning supplies!  i swear this time, not like the time i told john that "mac" was a cleaning supply store.  regardless of her calling me out, i have to admit it was pretty hilarious.  she reserves a little area for my packages because she knows i come get them right away, 5:15 the day they arrive.  because i stalk tracking numbers obviously.  i don't have a problem.  there's only 2 waiting for me right now, and i only forgot what 1 of them is.


 photo H54Fbutton-1_zpsa7aaa665.png

22

Is That a Hobby?

i don't have legitimate hobbies, i don't think.  a hobby is what you choose to work on when you have free time.  the things i choose to do?  uh... watch reality television. go happy hour. online shop.  see cover bands at street fests.  i don't play sports, i don't do crafts or diy projects (except making costumes for bar crawls).  i'm not a photographer or a cook.  i don't even discuss work outside of work.  julie and i often extensively discuss the finer points of the appetizer and wine menus at our favor happy hour establishments, but never work.  because i'm too much of an ocd perfectionist and since i'm not good at any of those things, i choose not to do them.  but also, to me those things suck and i find them incredibly boring.  i need a hobby that i don't find painfully dull.

looking at my post yesterday, i wonder - is cleaning and organizing a hobby?  can it be?  that's what i do when i get home from work.  and on my weekends.  it's what i do when i'm at home alone and bored, it's what i do to hang out with my friends.  (i helped betsy organize her house.  i helped tara declutter before moving.)  honestly, i was so excited about organizing my mother's house over the long weekend because i find that fun.  even when i read, which admittedly hasn't been often, i read e-books on decluttering, simplifying, organizing, cleaning.  have you seen my home pinterest board?  it's all about organization and cleanly decorated homes.  yes all of this probably makes me insane, but organization gives me a sense of control, and i do so love control.

this is my goal.  i'm almost there, wouldn't you say?!


technically, they sell organizational supplies at hobby lobby.  and if they sell it at a store that has hobby in the title, then it has to be a hobby, right?  kind of like how you can't put anything on the internet that isn't true... so i'm going with that.  when someone asks me my hobbies and interests, i'm going with organizing and cleaning.  that doesn't make me sound crazy at all.  now all i have to do is turn organizing into a viable business that pays me a living wage so i can organize all day e'ry day.




the point is, i suppose, that my house is completely and totally decluttered and organized.  at all times.  can i come do yours now?
18

A Quick Apartment Tour

i finally took a couple photos of my new place.  mostly my closet, i feel like i made it so pretty.  and yes, i got all of my clothes, shoes, jewelry, purses, etc in there.  everything.  i don't keep things under my bed or "switch out" winter versus summer clothes.  this, this is all of my clothes.











that little model likes to sneak in.


basically, organization makes me really, really happy.  i'm still working on the kitchen and front hall closet but for some strange reason i find that fun.  i might be crazy.  but organizing things is what i love to do with my free time.

27

Don't Let Perfect be the Enemy of Good

one of my biggest struggles is definitely letting perfect be the enemy of good, or even 'good enough'.  (a concept started by voltaire, i don't just make quotes up, thought i'd like to let you believe i'm just that creative.)  i've always had the mindset of "if it can't be done perfectly, why bother doing it at all?" and i generally just don't start anything i know i can't finish perfectly or master 100% on the first try.  if i can't answer all my e-mails, i don't even get to any of them.  if i can't get all the cleaning done in one day, i won't even start.  if i can't completely follow a budget, i don't make one at all.  it's a very all or nothing approach that i seem to have adopted.



and this fact is becoming increasingly apparent as i've decided to eat better and work out more.  (i want my rewards! and to win the diet bet!)  i'm absolutely terrible when it comes to this.  yes, i should buy fresh vegetables and cook them myself.  but i won't, so instead of just getting frozen vegetables, i order pizza.  i should work out every day, some sort of cardio down in the gym, but when i don't, i figure i might as well get a cab to work instead of walking.  it's some weird anti-motivation thing going on in my brain - that if i ruined part of the day, i may as well go whole hog for the rest of it.  if the day can't be flawless, it might as well be downright awful and ending with a bowl of ice cream sitting on the couch watching a netflix marathon.  again.

letting perfect be the enemy of good.

i'm really determined to change that; to accept 'good enough' and not just perfect.  (not entirely perfect?  ha, i'm so funny.)  i'm trying to make september my 'no fast food or ordering in' month.  and it's already a struggle and it's day 2.  obviously perfect would be getting all fresh items weekly or bi-weekly at the grocery store that is 20 feet from my front door and cooking well rounded meals every night with only healthy ingredients.  but for me, it's just not realistic.  i have to keep reminding myself that while i may not be making perfect sautéed, salt and preservative free paleo approved vegetables every night, at least heating up frozen broccoli and using a little butter is better than stopping at taco bell on the way home.  i'm not sure why it's so hard for my brain to grasp that concept, but i do this regularly.  there's a lot of excuse making going on in my head.  i can convince myself of anything, i'm really an excellent arguer.

but eating partially healthy is better than not trying at all.  working out occasionally is better than just sitting on the couch.  even if it's not the absolutely best i'm capable of, something is better than nothing.

now, if only my real life would catch up to my blog wisdom.

23
Back to Top