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

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Taking Things for Granted

All too often, we go through life taking things for granted. Friendships. Family. Material things. Life in general.

I won’t lie. I’m just as guilty of this as anyone else.

I thought of this as I was talking to my grandparents on the phone tonight. I took an hour out of my evening of working from home to call and catch up with them. I’m lucky enough to have all five (one pair is divorced and remarried) still alive and kicking, but I don’t get a chance to see them as much as I’d like to. I know they’re always just a phone call away, but it seems like every time I think about calling them it’s 9 or 10pm. With the Central/East Coast time difference, they’re usually in bed so it falls by the wayside and gets put on the back burner. They’re around, they’re all relatively cool, and they’re always only a phone call away. Other people don’t have this luxury, but it’s something I take for granted.

I’m guilty of this with friendships too. They say you come to discover who your true friends are when you move away. Continue reading

Planes, Trains, and Buses…They All Suck

I don’t know what it is about airports. It seems like they should all operate the same, but they never do.

I like to think of myself as a somewhat seasoned traveler. Am I one of those new-fangled “Trusted Traveler” things? Nope. Do I fly first class or frequently get bumped to an upgraded seat? Nope. Do I fly pretty often though and know my way around the airport bars? Why yes, yes I do.

When I moved to Nebraska, a bunch of people I met found it crazy that I’d traveled so much growing up and had been to a lot of places. Sorry that you don’t get out much, but traveling is something I grew up with and have come to appreciate. Between working jobs that require (and pay for – cha-ching!) traveling as well as having good friends who are scattered around the country like darts I attempt to throw at a dartboard, I take every opportunity to get out and see as many places as I can as often as possible.

This weekend was no different…until I got to O’Hare. Continue reading

Nobody On The Airplane Cares

Why yes, I have been missing in action. Thank you for noticing and caring. The holidays are a stressful time, what, with all the shopping and traveling and drinking to survive the whole thing, so no, I have not had time to document my ridiculousness-filled adventures…until now.

(insert evil laugh here)

So I recently made the trek back to Pennsylvania to visit my family for some pre-holiday festivities. Two weeks early, but at least I avoided all the annoying once-a-year holiday travelers. Well…almost all of them.

There’s always that one annoying traveler that you wish had conveniently gotten stuck in traffic or overslept or just had one more cocktail so they’d pass out in a booze-induced coma on the flight so you don’t have to listen to them. Perhaps it’s karma, but I always seem to get stuck in the seat next to them, behind them, or just in their general vicinity where I’m too close to block them out with an veritable dance party in my ear buds…even at max volume…but oh wait, I’d accidentally packed them in my checked luggage. Screwed. Continue reading

Lessons in Being (im)Polite: The CTA Edition

Since I’m sure you have a deep-seated passion to become as impolite and rude as a lot of people on the CTA who drive me (and most likely secretly you too) up a wall on a daily basis, I’ve put together some tips on how to achieve such role-model-public-transit-relient-citizen status. Follow these quick and simple tips and you’ll be on your way to contributing to the annoyed state of the Often-Annoyed Designer.

To make it simple, I’ve listed out the following annoyances as they typically occur on my commute. From stepping foot into a CTA station to finally escaping the veritable hell that can be my morning/afternoon commute to any given ride to Target, Michigan Avenue, or any destination really…behavior like this consistently drives me nuts.

  • Form a bottleneck at the turnstiles. If a train has just arrived and a ton of people are coming through, by all means, feel free to form a football line or play Red Rover and not let anyone through. Clearly you’re the most important person in the station and everyone should step aside to let you through. If they refuse to let you play Moses, grunt like a caveman in disgust. See how many people care.
  • Crowd the doors to the train as they open. Everyone knows this is how you’ll get on quicker. Don’t worry about the people trying to get off either. They can shove past you just as you’re trying to do to them. Continue reading

My Very Own Personal Travel Agent

I swear my mother missed her calling as a personal travel agent. For as much shit as I give her, she deserves a gold medal for putting up with me and making my travel arrangements on a whim…especially considering the fact that I call her at all hours of day and night – including right now since it’s currently closing in on midnight on the East Coast where she lives and I’m in the process of having her book my flight home for the holidays.

She’s phenomenal. Especially when she talks herself through every step of the process. She’s quite the ham to listen to on the phone.

“Okay. United confirmation! You are confirmed! Traveler Mr. ___________. Cool! And because I’m using rewards travel, okay, your first bag is free! Well no, wait, you know why it’s free? It’s because I’m using my United rewards card!”

And yes, this is all her talking to herself through the booking process. Now I know where I get the whole talking-to-myself thing from. Continue reading

Not All Grindr Dates Are Bad Dates

I’m sure I’ve given the impression so far that I’ve only met creepers thanks to the modern day marvels of location-based apps like Grindr. Such is not the case. I’ve surprisingly made some great friends and professional connections through there – never underestimate the “Networking” aspect of these apps.

I’m a firm believer in apps only being as good or as useful as you make them. Sure, most guys are on there looking to turn a quick trick, but most does not mean all. Some people are genuinely looking for friends, dates, and networking. I’ve used apps like these countless times when traveling for work to find out where to go and what to do from the locals and occasionally ended up with a new friend in the process…all without setting foot in a bedroom or exchanging a not-so-G-rated picture or two.

When I first moved to Nebraska, I didn’t know a single person there. No friends, no family, no one at all. So what do I do? Hop on Grindr to find out where the hot spot is on a Friday. Little did I know that one of the guys I talked to would end up becoming one of my closest friends and roommates (yet now we don’t talk) who would introduce me to the Mean Girls of Lincoln of which I’d quickly become the Cady Heron.  Continue reading