Sunday, June 30, 2013

Pride Parade 2013!

It's finally time to say it-- summer is here! The weather in Chicago has not been the most cooperative, but at this point it's almost July, and we're going to start acting like it's summer no matter what the temperature is outside. I have lots of blog updates I need to share-- my birthday, one fabulous night from our trip to London, and our California vacation last month. But for today, I'm going to settle for a quick and fun post. Pride Parade 2013! 

Today was supposed to be a somewhat productive day. Plans included lovely Sunday activities like grocery shopping, working out, and going to church. But this morning we got the idea that we needed to go show our support at the Pride Parade in Boystown, and it was a hard idea to shake. So we went with it! We grabbed our bikes, headed east towards the lake, and spent the afternoon embracing the chaos and excitement at this huge gay pride event. It was a blast!

We rode our bikes there-- a great decision, because the crowds were crazy!

It's hard to see, but these rainbow balloons spelled out LOVE. 

Episcopal Diocese of Chicago representing!

We found a prime spot on the patio of Kit Kat Lounge, and got to enjoy the rest of the parade with drinks and a smaller crowd. Perfect!

A calm and easy bike ride home

Joe and I agreed that this was an exciting year to be at the Pride Parade! There has been a lot of progress towards equality recently, and we believe more progress is coming soon. There is still a lot that the LGBT community (and their friends/allies/supporters) are fighting towards, but hopefully there will be a parade soon where there is purely celebrating, because the fight will be over. In the meantime, I'll enjoy showing my support on this sunny, love filled summer day!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Countdown to 30: {A decade of wanderlust}

I'm 12 6 days away from 3 days past a big birthday. I'm actually totally ok with turning 30, and have a feeling my 30's are going to be a pretty fabulous decade. But I sure did have fun in my 20's, regardless of the stress and trials that come with figuring out who you are. I figured I'd do a little series about what my 20's were all about, for a fun little trip down memory lane.

I got bit by the travel bug at a pretty young age. Within months of my birth I was on my first airplane, traveling from California to New York to meet my grandparents. My parents were from both coasts, which meant there was always somewhere to visit. And a few years before I was born, my parents had first connected over their own travels, as they shared experiences of their study abroad experiences during college (Dad: Paris, Mom: Rome). We moved around a few times as I was growing up, and my parents made it a point to travel with us as often as they could. When I was 14, they really showed us the importance of exploring different corners of the globe as we took our first family trip to Europe. By the time I graduated from high school, I'd been on three trips to Europe with my crazy family.

As anyone would hope, my opportunities to travel have only gotten better during my 20's. I spent my 21st birthday in the Champagne region of France, and then closed out the decade with our fantastic trip to London and Barcelona. I have been so. damn. lucky. But I've also committed with Joe to making it happen, especially knowing that our 20's would be the best time to take advantage of travel opportunities. I hope to continue to travel throughout my life, but I'll always look back fondly on the carefree and frequent travel that I enjoyed during my 20's. 

How about a photo montage of my favorite travel experiences during the last decade? Here ya go!

Christmas Market in the Netherlands
Visiting the President
(Don't knock a segway tour until you do one!)

A trip back to Colorado

The trip to Chicago that started it all!
Spring Break 2005

Springtime in Germany, visiting my family

Our first trip to Paris!

Getty Museum in Los Angeles

Will Travel for Beer
Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee

Playa del Carmen, Mexico

In the Wild West town of Rapid City, SD

Spanish Cava, fresh from the source.
Penedes Wine Region, Spain

Seafood doesn't get much fresher than this!
Wilmington, NC

After a decade of threatening, I finally visited my friend Michelle.
Seattle, WA

Newsies on Broadway!

I only have a few specific goals for the next decade, and a big one revolves around travel. We're already planning to celebrate our 10 year anniversary on a romantic trip to Italy, but it's also about time for me to expand my horizons further. I'm promising myself that in the next ten years, I will visit another continent. There are so many places to go, but I think I'm putting Asia or South America as my top choices. Any suggestions for where I should go? Wanna come?

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Countdown to 30: {Places I've called Home}

I'm 12 6 days away from a big birthday. I'm actually totally ok with turning 30, and have a feeling my 30's are going to be a pretty fabulous decade. But I sure did have fun in my 20's, regardless of the stress and trials that come with figuring out who you are. I figured I'd do a little series about what my 20's were all about, for a fun little trip down memory lane. 

As was the case with my first two decades, I made sure to keep moving during the third decade of my life. Really I did settle down for the second half of my 20's but I can still claim two states, three cities, and 8 apartments during that time. Each of these places helped form me into the person I've become, and I'll take a bit of them with me as I continue through life.

My 20's started in Columbia, Missouri, where I went to college at the University of Missouri. Those four years were the most formative of my life, and I made some lifelong friends. I only lived in Columbia until I was 22, but I can say that is the city where I met some of my best friends, and also where I met my husband. College truly was where I started to become the person that I am today. Oh, Columbia, I still miss you all these years later!

Best Friends and Roommates, at the end of Senior Year

This was a football game senior year, which means we'd been dating for a month at the most.
I don't know if either of us would have believed the story of where we've been since then!

All but one of these people were my roommates at one point or another
during college, and I'd still call each of them among my best friends.
We don't all talk as much these days, but I'd drop everything in an instant if
one of them needed me.  Thank God I thought I wanted to be a journalist as a
freshman, or I never would have met them!
These are the people that made Columbia "home".

All too quickly, graduation day arrived and we all had to go out into the real world. I'd been dating a cute guy named Joe for a few months at this point, and we both casually agreed that we might be interested in living in Kansas City after graduation. Thankfully, we both found jobs and apartments, and made the move (separately, we swore!) to Kansas City. That didn't last too long, and by the middle of my 22nd year, we were engaged. 

Kansas City was a weird time in our lives. In some ways, it was so so good. Joe and I decided we wanted to spend our lives together while living in KC, and ended up having our wedding at the beautiful Catholic Cathedral downtown. We both started our professional lives there, even if we've both transitioned into completely different careers at this point. We made some good friends, and had some fantastic, memorable nights out. 

In the end, though, Kansas City didn't really "fit" us. We didn't have much family in the area, and did not feel the draw to settling down in the suburbs, as many of our friends were starting to do. We wanted a bigger city, full of people, events, and adventure. We didn't hate Kansas City, but feared it would get to that point if we didn't make a move sometime soon. We started looking for jobs, trusting our guts and hoping it would all work out. 

My first few races were in Kansas City, back when I swore I hated running.

Post-dinner party at our first apartment.

When we were first dating, Joe and I took a trip to Chicago and were completely charmed by the Windy City. We had a few friends in the area, and Joe's parents were about 90 minutes outside of the city.  It felt like the perfect place to begin the next chapter in our lives. In April 2007, a few months after our wedding, Joe accepted a new job and moved northeast. I followed about six weeks later, and we began our love affair with Chicago.

I could go on and on about our time in Chicago-- but the last few years of this blog have done just that. I'll just say this... at this point in our lives, Chicago is home. From age 24 to 30, I've soaked up the busy streets, friendly people, great food, and community feeling of this city. I'm not sure I'm willing to put down roots here forever; but I'm not really sure there is anywhere that I'll be able to say that about. But it has been home to me, and a great home at that. My 20's have been a FUN time in my life, and I won't every look back on Chicago and not remember all these good times!

Our original neighborhood in Andersonville.

Our first home-- a condo on Chicago's north side.

We connected with this crew of Mizzou friends at the beginning of our time
in Chicago, and have called them good friends every since.
I sometimes wonder what it would be like to live in the same place for your whole life. It would be nice to know your neighbors for years, and to feel so rooted in your community. But I love my slightly nomadic life, even if we've managed to settle down for the last few years. I hope the next decade gives me the opportunity to call a couple more cities home... who knows where we'll end up! New York, London, Los Angeles? Maybe somewhere in Ohio? Ha! Just kidding, I do know a few places where I will NOT end up!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Follow me on Bloglovin!

I've been putting it off, but it's finally time to admit that Google Reader is going away. So I've switched my feeds that I follow on to Bloglovin, and I've gone ahead and put my blog on there, too.

Want to follow me? Click below!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Monday, June 10, 2013

Countdown to 30: {the soundtrack}

I'm 12 days away from a big birthday. I'm actually totally ok with turning 30, and have a feeling my 30's are going to be a pretty fabulous decade. But I sure did have fun in my 20's, regardless of the stress and trials that come with figuring out who you are. I figured I'd do a little series about what my 20's were all about, for a fun little trip down memory lane. 

Music seems like a good place to start, because it's always been important to me. No, I'm not actually musical, in terms of playing instruments or singing (besides in the shower). But I love discovering new bands, seeing shows, and enjoying music with friends. Lately I seem to be regressing, though, and enjoying pop music a little too much for someone who's always associated herself with more of the indie scene. So let's reflect back on some of my favorites from the last 10 years.

In college I had an indie streak, with some random country mixed in. I can't think about college and not remember the countless Pat Green concerts, in Columbia, Kansas City, and even down in Austin on one memorable 4th of July trip. I haven't listened to this song in YEARS, but Three Days is still so.damn.good.

Really, though, I was all about music that you might call pop punk, emo, and just generally independent. I had some friends in a ska band, including the cute guy that would become my husband. By my 20th birthday I'd left some of the early favorites behind (Dashboard Confessional! Hey Mercedes! Rascal Flatts!), and was still rocking along to mostly indie stuff. I distinctly remember Spring Break of my Junior year, and listening to Modest Mouse and the Get up Kids on repeat as I drove around Columbia. Here's a favorite from that era...

After college we spent a little time in Kansas City, where we listened to plenty of Ben Folds and Decemberists. There were some great shows at the Uptown Theatre, and even a few drives out to Lawrence, KS for bands that were a little more under the radar. Right after we moved to Chicago (the summer I turned 24) there was a FREE Decemberists show at Millennium Park, and it was one of those moments that solidly cemented my love for this city. Chicago has spoiled us with music, for sure.  Here's a favorite Decemberists track from around that time...

From about year 25 on, some of my favorite music memories are tied to festivals. Some are small neighborhood festivals, where we've gotten to see bands like the Old 97's or the Get Up Kids for free (my favorite kind of music!). We've also done a few bigger festivals, making Pitchfork an annual experience, and even squeezing in Lollapalloza last year. This summer is going to be a good one for music, because I won't only get to see some bands that I've never seen live (like Band of Horses after Lolla!), but I also get to relive some of my favorite memories from about a decade ago, with Belle and Sebastian at Pitchfork and Postal Service at Lollapalloza. Let's do this!

From Logan Square to Uptown, we've seen shows at major venues all around Chicago. Overall, some of my favorite memories from my 20's involve live music or finding a new band to love, and I hope this love of music stays with me for many years to come!

I'll keep it going tomorrow, because we have tickets to see the Japandroids at the Metro!  I'm prepared for a kick ass show, hopefully even better than Pitchfork last year. Work on Wednesday morning might be a bit rough... but check out how good they are.

Old 97's at Navy Pier

Girltalk at Congress, maybe 2009 or 2010?  A crazy good time!

Any bands that bring you back to your younger years? Any bands you think this almost 30 year old should check out?

Sunday, June 2, 2013

West Coast Weekend

{This post was supposed to go up Friday... and it ended up sitting in my drafts. So, here ya go, a few days late!}

We've left Chicago for a few days, for my cousin's wedding in California. Since I love LA far more than I should, we had to come out a day early. Yesterday was spent riding beach cruisers from Malibu to Venice, and it was pretty much the perfect beachy day. We started with brunch at Huckelberry cafe, spent the day cruising around the beach, and ended with pizza and great drinks with my cousins. I threaten every time, but this might be the trip where I refuse to go home. It's going to be a good weekend!