It's official!

It's official!
David Stubbs Photography

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The meaning behind "Bright Lights, Sweaty Armpits"

I have a huge fear of driving in Chicago. I learned how to drive in the metropolitan city of Cheyenne, Wyoming, population=50,000. On any given day, there are that many people driving along Michigan Avenue.

If you've ever wondered why the name of this blog is "Bright Lights, Sweaty Armpits," it's because that's exactly what I get when I have to drive or use public transportation. I thought city life would be so glamorous, but there's nothing charming about my constant sweat rings.

Today, Mike came back from a winter getaway to Florida. I decided if there was ever a time to conquer my fear of driving to Midway Airport, a Sunday morning is just the ticket.

I actually did pretty well! Only a couple of problems: I had to swerve into another lane to avoid getting hit by a huge red truck, and I missed the entrance to the airport and I had to do a U-turn. When I did the U-turn, I realized I was driving the wrong way down a one-way street. Oops! Thank goodness I still have Wyoming license plates. I think that's the only way I avoided getting a honk and the middle finger.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

This one is for all my ladies...

First of all, Pops--please don't read this post.

Okay, now I can be candid. I had the best shopping experience this week! I went to the new 2-story Victoria's Secret flagship store on Michigan Avenue. This store is amazing. They have every kind of bra and panty you'll ever need (or don't need but you buy anyway thinking someday you'll be daring), and upstairs they have darling clothes.

The staff is amazing and so friendly. This was the best customer service I've ever had in Chicago! I had a private fitting, and just like Oprah says, I've been wearing the wrong bra size for years. Then I went back to their dressing rooms where a worker brought me all sorts of bras to try on. This one (see picture-like you haven't been staring at it anyway) is called the Miraculous, and oh lordy, is it ever! It makes you 2 bra sizes bigger, and it's just the kind of "boost" you need during a crappy cold winter. The sales girl was so cute. She said, "I'm not going to tell you what it does, but try it on. You'll love it."

So ladies, if you don't listen to anything else I say, listen to this: You have to get this bra.

Back to my Pops--I was just talking about my volunteering and recycling efforts. No need to worry.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Why you should never move--ever

I lived in Indiana for the first 3 weeks of 2009.  I can't say there was anything great about that time considering I lost my job, had to sell my house, and I never got a glossy photo of WISH TV's David Barras. (Inside joke!) But of course since I was there for 3 short weeks, I have to file Indiana taxes.

Luckily Wyoming doesn't have a state income tax, so I don't have to worry about that.  Only this year I do...come to find out my employer there "accidentally" took out Colorado taxes from my paychecks, so now I have to file for that state, trying to explain that I never lived or worked there.  So in other words, this tax season is a huge pain in the butt.

I use Turbo Tax for my federal taxes which is great.  It's easy and quick, and I can do everything on-line.   I couldn't do the Colorado portion because there's no box to check, "I worked for total idiots who accidentally took out the wrong state taxes."  I thought I was able to do Indiana though because I filled everything out, and it said Indiana owed me $15.  Then as I clicked finish it said, "Unfortunately, since you are filing non-resident status, you can't do this on-line."

I went to Indiana's website, and I realize now that filing taxes there is perhaps the most complicated thing in the world.  Before I can even fill out the main form, I have to fill out forms A-H which are all at least 2 pages long.  Really Indiana, really?  I'll understand the whole history of the Indianapolis 500 before I understand this!  Thank god I'm getting $15 back though.  That makes it all worth it.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Brides taking this too far?

I recently hired a wedding coordinator which I always thought was a silly expense, but when you're planning a wedding a 1,000 miles away, it helps a lot.  She sent me a ton of information from past weddings to help me in my planning.  When I was going through one particular wedding, I had to giggle reading what the bride requested of her bridesmaids.  It said...
* Please wear open toed off-white shoes with your dress
* Please have your fingernails painted in a French manicure
* Please have your toenails painted in a red/berry
* Please wear your hair in an up 'do.  If you aren't able to, please explain why

Are you kidding?  Please explain why your hair isn't in an up 'do?
Bridesmaid: "I'm so sorry Jeannie, but my hair isn't long enough." 
Me: "I don't care!  Get extensions then!"

And you thought Bridezillas didn't exist...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Perhaps my favorite dog pic of all-time

Are you done laughing yet?  That's exactly why I'm posting this picture.  I found it on-line yesterday when I googled "Chihuahuas".  I thought it was funny and adorable, so I posted it  on my Facebook page.  I've gotten so many funny comments and thumbs up...some people said it gave them the laugh they needed for the day.   Let's face it, it's been a long winter, and sometimes we just need a good chuckle.                                   

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ever slept with a Chihuahua?

Almost every night around 2 a.m., either Mike or I head to the couch to sleep.  Why you ask... problems in the relationship?  Nope.  Bad gas?  Sometimes, but nope.  The answer--two Chihuahuas.

If you've ever considered adopting one of these cute creatures, you must know that all Chihuahuas insist on sleeping with you under the covers.
What they don't tell you in doggie books--even though they are tiny, they think they are mighty, and therefore, take up more space than you thought possible.  Along those same lines, they put off more body heat than a fat man in the Florida Everglades.  Buckeye actually gets sweaty armpits.  Weird, right?
And when their little bodies get too hot at night,  they'll steal your pillow and become dead weight so you can't move them.
For the wedding, I signed us up for King sheets and a comforter even though we only have room for a Queen bed right now.  Wishful thinking, I guess.
By the way-I didn't fall asleep until 4 a.m.  All the while, the doggies were snoring as happy as can be.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Tiger's been a bad kitty

I pledge allegiance, to the flag...oh wait, what is Tiger doing?
I know, I know, this is like WAY old news in our constantly changing society, but I was sick, remember?
Did you watch Tiger's apology? If so, did you feel just as awkward as I did?
That day, TV stations around the country scrambled to have the best analysis of the press conference. I was watching Access Hollywood, and I heard them tease, "Coming up, we'll have our body-language expert weigh in on what Tiger's mom was thinking." What?? They are going so far as to guess what's going through his mom's mind during his confession? Who cares? She's probably wondering if she breast-fed him too much/not enough when he was a baby.

It's weird to me how far this story has gone. He plays golf, people. Perhaps one of the most boring sports ever. I mean it's fun to play, but to watch? Nah.

Why is he making headlines? Sure it's strange that he cheated on his super hot wife, but is anyone really surprised when an athlete making millions thinks he can do anything he wants?

If I ever hear another story about Tiger Woods, or his mom's reaction, it will be too soon.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I'm baaacccckkkkkk!

I've got good news and bad news.
The good news: on Thursday and Friday we had two days in a row of sunny skies and mild temps around 40 degrees.
The bad news: I was like the bubble boy holed up in the apartment because I was sick. I felt like a little kid with strep throat on my birthday. I had to watch all the people playing with their kids and dogs outside while I watched another sad movie on the Lifetime channel. (Which scares me because every man on the channel starts off really nice and then ends up 1) cheating 2) beating or 3) killing his girlfriend/fiancee/ wife).

As Mike told me yesterday, "You're always sick!" Translating that from a man's perception to reality, yes, I've had 2 colds since I moved here in October. I'm not trying to be all Howard Hughes, but in a city of millions with millions of germs, are we bound to get sick more often?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

I hate not feeling well

Ugh, I'm sick. I've been in bed for a couple of days, so sorry I haven't blogged.

Don't worry though--I'll be back soon and sassier than ever.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

We're on our way!

Do you know what this picture is?
* A picture of Chicago-yes.
* More specifically a picture of the South Loop-yes.
* Most importantly, this picture was taken at 5 p.m. last night.

Do you know what that means??? It's now light out at that time! According to our local weather guys, we'll gain an hour of daylight this month. That means it will be light 11 hours a day versus 9 hours in December, and we're working up to 15 hours in June.

This is great news and means we're well on our way to using our rooftop pool we've only seen from a distance :)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Snoop Dogg Concert: A bust!

Mike texted me yesterday afternoon and asked if I wanted to go to a Snoop Dogg concert in Wrigleyville. I said sure, thinking that would be fun. One problem: the closest I got to seeing the Snoop is walking by this poster.

We waited for 3 1/2 hours, and nothing. By 11:30 p.m., the little theatre was getting even more sweaty and crowded, and people were booing, so we thought we should probably get out of there before there was a fight.

The night started at 8 p.m. with a terrible opening band from Atlanta. I guess you could say they were an alternative rock group. The group consisted of about 10 crazy people on stage dancing and thrashing about. Since in this economy everyone is looking to make cuts, I have some suggestions for them.
--Axe the two women dancing around and playing tambourines, because let's face it, are those ever needed?

--Get rid of the a crazy guy hitting a cowbell with a drumstick because let's be honest, it's funny when Will Ferrell does it, not so much when you do it.

--Axe the guy occasionally playing the 80's-style keyboard. I've seen my nephew's and it plays by itself with the push of a button.

Finally to you Snoop Dogg, sure you're talented and we wanted to see you perform, but please don't keep us waiting for 3 1/2 hours, especially on a Tuesday night. I'm sure the gansta' rapper lifestyle is more forgiving, but most of your fans had to get up early this morning and work.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Ebay is oh-so-fun

Ebay may be my new favorite website.  As I mentioned last week, I decided to pare down and I put 3 Coach purses up for auction.  I put them up for 99 cents, but I set a reserve price on each one so they couldn't sell for just $1.  At first, things were moving slowly.  I was getting $3 and $4 dollar bids.

Then I think my bidders got excited by the whole process, because suddenly my prices were jumping leaps and bounds.  One purse that held at $14.87 forever quickly jumped to $159!  On another purse, I literally left the computer for a few minutes to go get coffee, and it jumped $70!

I say God Bless America.  This recession may be ending after all.

Monday, February 15, 2010

What would you do with an extra $55,000?

The lease on our apartment goes until November, and then Mike and I want to buy a home.  We're thinking about Lincoln Park which offers more space and grass than the city, but you still have a city view and it's a far cry from the dreaded 'burbs.  (By dreaded I mean he thinks they'd be terrible, I think they'd be filled with oh-so-fun Super Target's and Carrabba's).

I started looking at homes last week, and found that we can actually buy!  I did a mortgage calculator and figured that we could own for about $500 a month less than what we pay for rent.  The homes are super cute too...they're basically brick-stone townhomes with little yards and large roof-top decks.

But then I read the fine print.

I realized to park at our beautiful home, keep in mind I'm talking about ONE parking spot, that's an extra $25,000.  Yeah, and I'm not kidding.

This is apparently a bargain too.  In our workout facility, I saw that someone is selling a parking spot downtown.  It's either $290 a month, or $55,000 to buy the thing!  Can you imagine if your car leaked oil, you'd be like, "Noooooo!  I paid $55,000 for can't have stains!"

Welcome to city life....

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!  Sure it's a holiday that some describe as a "Hallmark Holiday", meaning it's retailer-driven to sell flowers, candies and cards, but let's face it, it's still fun.

If you're still looking for a gift, I can't sing the praises enough for Norman Love Chocolates.  It's a chocolate-making company in Fort Myers, Florida.  I did live shots there every Valentine's Day.  Their chocolate is not only the best, it's also the most beautiful candy you'll ever see.  When you open a box, you feel like you're opening a beautiful gift made with hard work and love, Norman Love that is. (No I'm not getting paid for this, but I should!)

On Facebook this week, everyone is supposed to post pics of you and your better half and describe how you met.
Here's a picture of Mike and I on our second Valentine's Day together, February 14, 2005.  He surprised me with a boat trip to the Florida Keys.  Most of you know by now the story of how we met: We worked together in Fort Myers, Florida and I stalked him until he finally relented and decided to go out with me.  So the moral of our love story: Don't give up until you have what you want!  (Please make it legal though).

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Chicago bars impress me.  Not because of their drinks (although my Hot Apple Martini last night was oh-so-delicious), and not because of their ambiance (although I thought having Valentine's Day candy was a nice touch).  It's the fact that they offer fun things to do.  No longer are the days of sitting around and consuming calories.  I feel like bars are moving towards active fun.

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you know a few weeks ago we played Whirlyball which is a combination of bumper cars, lacrosse and basketball.  You also know that we played Dirty Bingo at a fun Lincoln Park bar. (No, my Pops wasn't happy to hear that one.  I promise it's not as bad as it sounds!)

Last night we went to Blue Line in Bucktown, and had a blast playing Connect Four, UNO, and Sorry!  They had all sorts of fun games to choose from.  We finished the night with a highly competitive game of Jenga.  What a great idea!  I love not just plopping my behind on a bar stool and calling it good.  These are creative ways to keep your mind and body active, and makes you feel less guilty about the 800 calories you're consuming.

Have a great weekend everybody! 

Friday, February 12, 2010

Chicago-Home of the Super Friendly

I feel like I'm a good judge of character, but when it came to figuring out how Chicagoans would behave, I was way off. When I moved here, I automatically assumed everyone in this city of millions would be super rude and act like I was in their way. Hence why my first day here I was called a "Bitchy White Woman." Ha, remember that post?

I couldn't have been more wrong. I was just getting on the elevator, and our doorman greeted me with a big smile and a "How are you doing?", and one of our maintenance guys wished me a "Happy Valentine's Day!" Are you kidding? Could they be any nicer? Earlier this morning I had a gentleman hold a door open for me. Certainly not the slamming the door in my face like I expected.

Sure, occasionally a cab driver almost plows me down, or an old crazy woman channeling her inner Hans Solo nearly knocks me out with her cane, but all-in-all, I have to say Chicago is one of the friendliest cities in this country. Sure the weather isn't always great, but the people's warm smiles make up for it.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Let's hope our priorities change

I saw a man on the news that other night that made me so angry.  He bought his home during the housing boom, but now he owes more than what it's worth.  His solution?  Stop paying his mortgage and file for bankruptcy.  He was literally quoted as saying, "Why would I pay this much on a house each month when I can pay less for rent?"  That attitude is exactly what got us into trouble in the first place.

My mom said something last night that I thought was profound.  She said she hoped my generation would learn from all those stupid mistakes and change our attitudes.  She hopes we will become more like our grandparents who lived through the depression, and then worked hard all their lives and didn't take anything for granted.  I hope my generation realizes now that it doesn't matter if you drive the fanciest car or have the biggest home, all that means nothing if you can't sleep at night.

What brought this up is the fact that I'm selling 3 Coach purses on EBay right now.  Sure, it will be nice to get some extra spending cash, but I also find it hard to carry around a $400 purse and not feel like it's a little silly.  My priorities have changed.  (But I sure hope the women bidding on them aren't reading this. The purses truly are beautiful and will look great on your shoulder! :)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Do men really change their last names when they get married?

Good morning everybody.  I'm sure you probably noticed I changed the look of the blog today.  This is the layout I have for our wedding blog, and I think it's easier to read and navigate.  I know people hate change though, as evidenced on Facebook this week.  They changed the layout, and everyone is posting, "What the heck, Facebook?" Or "Change it back Facebook!"  Hopefully I don't receive any hate mail for this.  I know how you relatives can be!

So in planning for the wedding, I have a lot of books I look through to get ideas.  A girlfriend of mine also gave me these cute little cards (almost like playing cards), and I'm supposed to read one a day for wedding help.  Today's card is ideas for changing your name.  I haven't really thought much about it.  I knew if I were still working in TV, I wouldn't change it professionally, partly for security reasons.  But the recession solved that problem!

So their first recommendation is 1) Using my last name as my new middle name.  Hmmm, does Jeannie Crofts Evanchan have a ring to it?  I don't think that will fit when I'm filling out forms.

Their second recommendation is 2) Blending the two names in an innovative way.  Michael and Jeannie Crovanchan anyone?

Their third 3) Have Mike take my last name.  Michael CroftsI suppose this would be an option if it was 1977 and I didn't shave my 'pits.

Finally, 4) Create a new name!  This is a fun game!  I always liked the last name Carmichael.  Or we could really throw people off, we'll be Michael and Jeannie Sanchez or Michael and Jeannie Chan

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Are we getting closer??

The picture on top is our beautiful view of Lake Michigan and Lake Shore Drive.  This is what it looked like on Sunday when the sun was shining and the lake was thawing.  I thought, yes! We're finally getting closer to spring.

Then overnight and all day today it's been snowing.  In Chicago it snows sideways because of the wind.  So the picture below is our view today.  Clearly the lake is frozen solid again, and spring is still several weeks away.

February is tough in most parts of this country, but just remember the days are getting longer and we're getting closer to beautiful flowers and days with plenty of sun.  Until then, we should all just stay inside and drink a lot of wine.  Shalom!

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Winner of the Super Bowl is....E*TRADE!

So what if you're not a huge football fan, you have to admit last night's game was pretty amazing.  The pass interception caught by Tracy Porter who ran 74 yards for a touchdown was amazing football.  (Ooh, do I sound like I know what I'm talking about? :)

Even though I lived in Indy for three years, I have to admit I was cheering on the Saints because I think everyone deserves a chance at winning the Lombardi trophy, and I also think a Super Bowl win is just what New Orleans needs right now.  So congrats to the Saints and Drew Brees.  I laugh every time I hear his name, because I remember pronouncing it "Breezy" when I was anchoring because I didn't know who the heck he was.

Last night's commercials were pretty great too.  In my opinion, E*TRADE stands out as a leader in the best Super Bowl commercials.  The way they use adorable babies acting in adult situations is hilarious!  The fact that they've made their company a household name is brilliant marketing.  Here are my two favs...the first one makes me laugh out loud every time I see it.
E*TRADE Baby Commercial 
E*TRADE Baby on Airplane

Have a great Monday everyone!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Why oh why do we do it?

What do you think when you see these shoes?  If you're a girl, you're probably thinking, "Oh, those are cute!"  If you're a guy, you're probably thinking, "Why do women wear such uncomfortable looking torture devices?"
We went to Snowball at Navy Pier last night and had a great time.  It's fun to have an excuse to dress up.  The only problem: with every step I took in these size 7.5 White House Black Market pumps, it felt like knives were stabbing my feet.  With every dance move, it felt like I was walking over hot coal.  Every time I had to walk across the long ballroom to go to the bathroom, it felt like little men were inside my shoes cutting me and laughing about it.  Let's face it, it had to be little men, because only a man could invent such torture for a woman. 
Why do we do this ladies?  It's like thong what if you have a panty line?  It sure beats flossing your behind all night long.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

If you're a man and you go to the gym-read this please.

Here's a random question for the day: Why do a lot of men groan when they're working out?  I never hear women making bedroom sounds when they're lifting weights.  There was a guy right next to me at the gym today groaning so loudly I felt like I was in a hotel and I was going to have to pay $9.99 for the show I saw.

Here's an idea-if you're trying to lift something that's too heavy for you, don't do it!  If it's going to make you look and/or sound like an idiot, it's probably not the right weight.  Stop showing off, because trust me, no woman I know wants to date a guy that looks like this.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Have you ever played Dirty Bingo?

Last night I did something I can say with 100% certainly I've never done anything like it before.  I played Dirty Bingo.

Considering my grandmother, Mama Mays, reads this blog daily, I'm going to try and explain this as cleanly as possible.

Every other Thursday, a bar in Lincoln Park called Victory Liquors, plays Dirty Bingo in a back room.  People pay $10 for a Bingo card, and then work to fulfill dirty phrases on their board with the numbers called out.  It is actually a lot of fun!  There were 20, 30 and 40 something's there, clearly all career people who just like to have a good laugh.

I had an embarrassing moment though.  When you get down to having just one square left until winning, you have to yell out a dirty expression to the foul-mouthed woman who's calling out the numbers.  That expression ends with you calling her a bit**.  It came to my turn, and I yelled out the expression that seemed loud in my head, but was apparently nothing more than a whisper.  Miss Foul Mouth looked up at me, and said, "What was that?"  I said it again, but it wasn't much louder than before.  She laughed and said, "Well, I guess we have a shy one here!"  Everyone laughed and I turned bright red.  I was forced to yell the dirty expression one more time.  Phew, who knew yelling dirty expressions in front of strangers was so tough.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Mel Gibson is back, and crazier than ever!

Mel Gibson really is a weird man. In the past several years he's made headlines for his anti-semantic comments, divorce from his long-time wife, his drinking problem and the fact that he has like 97 children. This week in Chicago he's making headlines again. He did an interview with a reporter from WGN, and the whole time I'm thinking, is he drunk? He seemed spacey and a little combative. Then the reporter asked about his sorted past, and wow, let's just say Mel grew even angrier. Check out this clip...unlike his movies, the ending is the best part.

Mel Gibson Nutso Clip Side note: I will not be seeing this movie because let's face it, I don't want to help pay his child support/scotch bills.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Going Down?

The elevators in our building are very fast, which is great when you live 31 floors up.  But there is one thing that slows it down nearly everyday....lazy people.

Today I was cruising up when my elevator stopped on the 12th floor.  A guy wearing workout clothes and an IPod got on, and it was clear he was going to the workout facility on the 16th floor.  Really?  You can't walk down 4 flights of stairs to then run 2 miles?

The other day I was almost all the way down when we stopped on the 3rd floor.  Again, really?  No one in our building appears to be over 35 years old, so we all should certainly be able to walk a few flights of stairs.

But my favorite so far?  A woman who got on at the 17th floor and off at the 16th.  No one children in this country are obese.  It seems we're teaching them to use elevators, escalators and ride in cars before they learn how to walk.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Sing it: "I'm going to the Chapel, and I'm going to sleep on 600 thread count sheets...."

What do you think is the best part of getting married....the shiny diamond?  No.  The tall, dark and handsome future husband?  Nope.  Joining in holy matrimony?  Nope again.  It's the wedding registry!

I went to Chicago's very large, and oh-so-wonderful Macy's on State Street today.  There are 8 floors of fun that took nearly 3 hours of my time.  We are now officially signed up for everything we've always wanted but couldn't afford like a 65-piece flatware set with caddy--check!  A cuisinart round waffle maker--check!  600-thread count sheets to lay my head on--check again!

Mike decided to opt of out the registry, which I can understand, and since my mother and mother-in-law are in Wyoming and Ohio, I am all by myself to pick out what we just can't live without.  As the Macy's sales clerk said, "How nice is it that you don't have your mother, mother-in-law and maid of honor bugging you." 

It's really cool because you sign up and get a cool little scanner to pick out your items.  The only downfall?  People think you work there, so you'll get asked where the sale sheets are.  I pointed one man in the wrong direction just for fun.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The winner of the Grammy is: Awkward!

Did you watch the Grammy's last night?  I feel like awards shows are like car accidents that you don't want to look at, and know you shouldn't, yet there is something compelling about them.  There are always awkward live moments watching stars sing out of sync or nervously introducing something or someone.

For last night's show, I must have missed the memo that we needed 3D glasses for the Michael Jackson tribute.  There was a 4 or 5 minute (seemed like 15 minute), Michael Jackson performance featuring Carrie Underwood, Celine Dion, Usher, Smokey Robinson and Jennifer Hudson.  For the millions of us who didn't save our 3D glasses from Avatar (theater workers told us we had to recycle them!), all we saw were blurry red and green images.  Weird!  Oh well, somehow I'm guessing seeing Celine Dion up close doesn't have the same effect as Pandora.