Home Is Where You Make It And Not Just Where The Heart Is

No Place Like HomeGrowing up, I was taught that “home is where the heart is” – compliments of some hand-stitched needlepoint that my mom or grandma had done at some point and hung on the wall.  There’s the part in The Wizard of Oz where Dorothy clicks her ruby red heels together and chants ‘There’s no place like home’ three times then magically reappears there. Sometimes it’d be nice to be able to do this. Trust me – there have been times that I’ve wished I could click my glittery size 12 pumps (just kidding, those days are over) together and end up in my mom’s house with a home-cooked meal in the land of a lack of reliable cell phone service where the closest guy on Grindr is 4 miles away. Continue reading

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Adventures in Road Tripping Part 3: California Dreaming

In case you’ve somehow missed the first half of my road trip of a lifetime, here are the links to Part 1 and Part 2. If you’re caught up, behold….the light at the end of the tunnel!

Setting the cruise control for 85, we took off from Portland and set our GPS for the city of cable cars, hills, sourdough bread, and the Golden Gate Bridge…but more importantly: Full House and one of my all-time favorite movies…Mrs. Doubtfire.

Helloooooo, San Francisco!

Bonus points if you read that in the Mrs. Doubtfire voice where Robin Williams is spontaneously painted for filth (as drag queens say) in birthday cake realness.

Leave it to us to get distracted though and turn what could have been a quick 10-hour drive (or 8 hours with us at the helm) into a full two days of driving thanks to a state-line sunset and a trip through the Redwood Forest.

As we closed in on the Oregon/California state line, it was nearing time for sunset and what better way to welcome us to California than my first official California sunset?

Crescent City SunsetWe pulled off in a town called Crescent City and found a harbor where we could watch the sunset. Let’s just say that after seeing a California set I was officially sold. Nothing I’ve seen before compares.

Figuring it’d be fun to camp again, we called to reserve a campsite in the Redwood National Forest. Wrong.

“Sorry the campsites in the park are first-come first-serve. You need to book your campsite at least 48 hours in advance, and we don’t know which campsites have availability or not.” Continue reading

Adventures in Road Tripping Part 2: The Oregon Trail

Sorry for keeping you in suspense (yes mom, I’m talking about you – now stop harassing me for taking forever to post Part 2) with the second half of my now-not-so-recent roadtrip to the West Coast. If you’re reading this, the suspense has obviously not killed you so congratulations on surviving. So without any further ado…

(drumroll please)

Last we left off, we’d peaced out of Glacier National Park and were high-tailing it to Seattle. To the land of Starbucks and fish-tossers we went. Since my partner in crime had friends in Seattle there’d be no camping for us at this pit stop – sofa-surfing it was.

Several pit stops at Starbucks later, we were officially in Seattle and checked into the fancy Casa de Amiga for our two night stay in Starbucksville. Since we’d arrived just in time for Happy Hour, we were greeted by our friend with a “Hi, how are you!? Would you like some pot chocolate before we head out?”

I’m sorry, but did you say HOT chocolate, or POT chocolate?

I mean….since it’s legal in Washington….when in Rome! Continue reading

Live The Life You Love

One of my coworkers is an actor. I’d call him a “starving artist” type, but we work in a restaurant so there’s always food to eat. When the kitchen makes something extra on accident, it goes up for grabs. Therefore, neither he nor any of the rest of our staff is technically a “starving artist” despite the fact that it seems half of them are actors.

Anyways…he made a short film the other day that I’d like to share with you. The whole point it is to live the life you love. It’s about a guy named Rizzo who works in Corporate America and dreams of leaving his cubicle and whack-job boss behind to live the life he loves and pursue that which makes him happy. I couldn’t relate to this more. Take five minutes and watch it. Leave your thoughts in the comments below – I’m sure Dan would love to hear what you think of it.

Are you doing what you want to be doing with your life? Are you living the life you love?

Tapeworm Twins Take the World: A Tale of Two Gays and One Schabes

Once upon a time, two twins were separated at birth. They lived apart for nearly 24 years before being reunited in Nebraska. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the tale of my unofficial (however it could be proven official if we got Maury Povich involved) twin and our tapeworm-fueled shenanigans/future plans.

Here we were in the booming metropolis of Lincoln, Nebraska. As any quality friendship begins these days, we were introduced by a mutual friend at the bar and bonded over vodka-sodas, tequila shots, frog sperm, and the fact that we shared the same ex-boyfriend with a Dorito-tinged skin color that rivaled Snooki’s circa season one of MTV’s the Jersey Shore. It was love at first sight for the two of us twins – well, within reason because twincest…well, that’s just gross. Continue reading

Adventures in Unemployment

unemployed

I came across this quote this morning as I was Google’ing “things to do while unemployed in Chicago.” While it’s only Day 3 of my unemployment stint, I don’t think I’ve ever been more bored in my life. I know I’d been saying to myself a few weeks ago that I’d kill for another vacation (even though I’d just gotten back from Mexico), but being unemployed was not how I envisioned facilitating a few days off from the office.

While on my Google searching binge, I came across a great article on Forbes that was published about a year ago titled 10 Things to do While You’re Unemployed. While everything it suggests is great (and probably beneficial), I feel like I’ve already ticked off a good chunk of the list. For instance… Continue reading

Everything Happens for a Reason

tumblr_m5krq2B7o01r9s19zo1_500They always say everything happens for a reason. I’m a firm believer in this, and I’m sure I’m not alone in this. I find myself thinking to myself rather frequently (especially lately), “What if I hadn’t been in this place at that time? I wouldn’t have met so-and-so or experienced this.” It’s crazy when you think about it.

Seriously though…think about it.

I’ve been lucky enough in the past few years to meet some amazing people and have some great experiences and opportunities through being in the right place at the right time. There’s a few instances in particular that stick out in my mind… Continue reading

Beers, Brunch, and Blistering Sunburns: Welcome to the Weekend

Success! We’d officially made it to the weekend and only lost one wallet, two people, and gained three bruises and one legit battle scar. If you added in “See a dog get hit by a car right after you make friends with it and discover it only answers to ‘perro’ and not ‘dog’ since it only understands Spanish because you’re in Mexico” (long, sad story….we won’t go there), we’d checked off pretty much everything on our bucket list. We were off to a great start with our Mexican friendcation.

A couple of us decided to break off into smaller groups – some went hiking, some went to the beach, some stayed by the pool, and a few of us went downtown to explore. It was like that “Little Piggies” nursery rhyme. Because it was a Saturday morning, my group opted to head downtown….shocking, right?

1966698_10106060698353804_738660789_nAfter a late start thanks to the shenanigans the night before, we made our way down and wandered around for a while checking out some random shops. In no time at all, we found ourselves seated at the bar at Los Muertos Brewing, an awesome little corner brew pub that’s marketed as “Puerto Vallarta’s first craft brewery. We would soon come to discover that not only was their beer deliciously thirst-quenching, but their pizza was also phenomenal. We opted for a Lazaro Cardenas – topped with pesto sauce, chicken, spinach, onion, and goat cheese. Holy delicious, Batman! This place seriously needs to look into opening a second brewery/pizzeria in Chicago because I’d be there every week. Perhaps even multiple times a week. Forget Chicago-style deep dish…this is where it’s at guys. Yum.

One pizza later (and probably several pounds heavier), we made our way back to the street and continued on our exploration. Popping into random stores and gawking at the oftentimes odd and obscene artwork, we laughed our way through town then headed back to the house to get ready for the evening. With three birthdays occurring while we were south of the border, we were ready to get our fiesta on – especially since one was single and ready to mingle and would be turning 26 at midnight.

Continue reading

Losing Blood, People, Wallets, and Skin: The Adventure Continues

I’d left off before as we were about to enter a guacamole-induced coma while waiting for the rest of the group to get to the house. Need a recap? Check out The Real World: Puerto Vallarta. Needless to say, the other six arrived and were just as impressed with our new crib as we were. After a quick switch of bedrooms, we were all settled in and ready to hit up the convenience store and stock up on the essentials: bread, coffee, and booze.

There was only one thing standing between us and the store: a hill followed by a rope bridge guarded by an alligator.

Pretty ominous, right? But come, on…it’s just a hill. It’s nothing our parents hadn’t probably walked uphill both ways in the snow to get to school when they were our age, right?

Wrong.

This hill would prove to be either the devil or the world’s best lower body workout. Perhaps both. This hill would go on to claim more breath, skin, and bitching than anything else any of us had probably ever – and will probably ever will – experienced in our young adult lives. I equate conquering this hill to giving birth.  Continue reading

The Real World: Puerto Vallarta

Once again, I’ve been pretty much MIA. Go figure, right? It’s for good reason though because I was on vacation, and for the two weeks since I’ve been back I’ve been attempting to play catch-up at the office. You never realize just how many emails you get each day until you take six days plus a weekend off with no access to company email/voicemail. But yes, I know you find it hard to believe, but even I need a well-deserved break sometimes. So on that note, I’m going to also take a break from writing about things that annoy me and weave you the tale (or more appropriately a poncho) of my recent friendcation to Mexico. I’m sure those of you who know me in person are like “Oh god, we have to hear about Mexico AGAIN?! Can’t you just shut up and move there already?” but I don’t care. This isn’t about you. Deal with it.

So here we are last summer when a friend asked me what I was doing in February. Funny, right? Half the time I don’t even know what I’m doing for dinner. So naturally, the minute he said “We’re looking at getting a group of friends together and booking a house in Puerto Vallarta for a week, you in?” Of course I was all in. I mean, you’d have to be crazy to say no to a week away from the frigid tundra otherwise known as Chicago in the winter.

Fast forward six months and the daily photo countdown kicks off on Facebook.

28 days…

23 days…

12 days. ..

10000…and and all the way on down until one day left. I’m sure every single one of our friends (of all eight of us going) were sufficiently annoyed by this point and probably relieved that we’d be finally ending the daily countdown of photos showcasing the sand, palm trees, ocean, and all the other things that go along with a vacation on the beach that we’d be experiencing and they wouldn’t. Did we care though? Not in the least. So long, suckers. My passport was ready in a feisty yellow leather case (with orange leather lining). My rainbow Lacoste beach towel was packed inside my brand new (white) suitcase that was filled to the brim with tank tops, flip flops, shorts, and the obligatory blow dryer just in case there wasn’t one where we were staying. My weave was freshly cut, and my brows and back waxed (just to be proactive/paranoid). The day had come, and it was time for this homo to blow this popsicle stand and make a beeline to paradise for a week. Hasta la vista. Continue reading