Friday, June 24, 2011

Sweet Sixteen

My friend Teresa’s daughter, Chloe, is starting her own fashion magazine. Chloe is sixteen! Yup, ya heard me, she is only sixteen and has so much passion and drive and creativity. Teresa and I have always joked that Chloe is my little Leo daughter (Chloe and I are both Leos and hippie-ish).

I was lucky enough to be able to take Chloe’s pictures (and the other pictures) for the magazine’s first issue.

Look at Chloe in all of her gorgeous-ness. Ahhh, to be 16 again.
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Chloe and Teresa came by my place Saturday, and when Chloe and I stepped on the elevator, she remembered years ago when her and her little brother spent the night at my house, and I told them to “jump” in the elevator when it was going down. That was over ten years ago, and she still remembers. I love that.

Go get ‘em Chloe. The world is your oyster.
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p.s. I did have a couple of great/funny shots of Teresa, but she would have killed me if I posted them.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

It's better to look good than feel good, Dahling.

“It’s better to look good than feel good, dahling.”

I can’t remember where I heard that quote, but every now and then, I can hear it in my head in this affected ‘richie’ type accent. I love it.

So, I happened upon Jennifer’s blog: StyleYourLifeBlog. Jennifer is a stylist and a personal shopper. Her blog is fabulous, and I always see great outfit ideas there.

You see, I HATE shopping. Well, let me re-phrase. I hate shopping in stores. I detest the fitting room, and trying things on. I have a hard time finding things that go together if it isn’t right there in front of my face on the mannequin. I ride the short bus when it comes to shopping and style and fashion. I tend to go for comfort. And comfort is fine, it has its place, but Jennifer has changed my life!

With Jennifer, you can purchase these ‘virtual’ outfits and she will put together an outfit that will knock your socks off. She pulls everything together: the clothes, the jewelry, and even the handbag.

This is how it works:

You purchase a virtual outfit or five (oh yeah, I purchased five), then Jennifer sends you a questionnaire. You answer questions about your sizes, your favorite colors, your favorite stores, the occasions for the outfits, your budget, and even your body issues.
Then Jennifer emails you the outfits, and it’s up to you to hit the internet running to order all of the fabulousity.
You can ‘supersize’ your outfits as well, and Jennifer can make mix and match to make 15 outifits out of those original five.

So, when I got all of my outfits I had ordered, I really felt like a new woman. These clothes were especially picked for my body type and they looked great on me. And because I looked good on the outside, I felt better on the inside. WINNING!

Here are just a couple of my outfits:

So, you see, it may be better to look good, but then you end up feeling good as well.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

old friends

My friend since the 5th grade, Beth, came to town.  She's been living in LA for 15 years now, so Friday night, Beth, Sylvia (another friend from high school) and me ventured out for an evening of fun.  Our first stop was the rooftop at Epic.  We stayed there for a few hours and had a great time.
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While we were there, we were trying to figure out where to have dinner.  We finally came up with a plan to try to get into Naha.  After all, another high school friend of ours, Terry, is a waiter there.  We called to see if they could squeeze us in at one of Terry's tables, and we found out a great surprise:  Terry is now the restaurant's manager.  Terry made sure we had a great table with delicious champagne and way too much DELICIOUS food.  We ordered three dishes, and twice that much came out.
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Beth and Sylvia said the scallops were amazing, and I said that the gnocchi were the best I've ever had.  The halibut was great, the Mediterranean appetizer plate was delicious, and on and on and on.
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You'll never believe this, but I ordered the chocolate dessert.  Well, Terry came out with the chocolate and three more desserts.  Heaven!
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We sat and laughed and reminisced for over three and half hours.  It was so much fun catching up and also talking about our good old days at Thornridge High School.  It really was a magical evening.  Thanks Terry for taking such good care of us!

Friday, June 17, 2011

june girls dinner

Aimee chose Enoteca Roma for our June dinner.  For our summer dinners, we really make an effort to eat al fresco because our Chicago summers are much too short, yet beautifully awesome.  Enoteca Roma is on a great stretch of Division Street where there are tons of places to eat outside and enjoy the weather and the views.
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We were so 11 o's lucky that Thursday's special is Prosecco.  Three bottles of Prosecco later, and I really can't tell you if the food was good or not.  BOOYAH!
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There were five of us for dinner, and Aimee, Jodee, Beth, Nancy, and I sat outside for three hours enjoying the food, the weather, each other's company, and the PROSECCO!
We started the evening with an assortment of bruschettas and PROSECCO.
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Beth and I ordered the Dover sole (which I kept calling "Denver sole"...silly me), Jodee had the risotto, and Aimee and Nancy had chicken.
My creation
You'll never believe what happen, but my chocolate dessert arrived, and as usual, I scarfed that thing down before I was able to get a picture.  Seriously, chocolate has this power over me, and I just lose my damn mind.
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I recommend this restaurant, and especially if you can enjoy it al fresco.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I'm so Ra-motional!

So, last night, my friend Jodee and I headed on over to the wine shop. Yeah, I know, that is a frequent occurrence for the two of us, but just stay with me; last night was different.

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Umm yeah!!! That is *so* Ramona Singer from RHONY (Real Housewives of New York). This is something I would never do; I would never wait in line to meet a “celebrity”. But there I was, two bottles of Ramona Pinot Grigio in hand, waiting in line to meet Ramona. I was so Ra-motional! Not as Ra-motional as the guy behind us, though. Ramona had gotten up to stretch her legs, walked right past us and said ‘hello’, and I had to tell the guy behind me to pick his jaw up off the ground.
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Jodee and I both ended up asking Ramona the same question, “How did you like Girl and The Goat last night?” (We stalk follow Ramona on Twitter and Facebook so we were aware of what she was doing in Chicago). At least I didn’t say, “I’m a really big fan” like the last time I met a celebrity. I kind of pulled it off like I was a normal person, not like my real self who is afraid of people. Go me!

Now I have two bottles of Ramon Pinot Grigio signed by Ramona! I’ll have to save them for a special occasion.

I really need a special occasion!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

dreaming big

It’s that time again; time to dream big, bitches. Registration is now open for the next session of Mondo Beyondo.

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I took the class some time last year, and me thinks it’s time to re-enroll, and touch base with my dreams. I plan to dream bigger and I plan to make more magic happen. I mean, seriously, who couldn’t use some magic these days?
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I highly recommend dreaming big and Mondo Beyondo. Click the button above on the right and take the dive.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

JohnnyFest 3.0

This past weekend, we held our 3rd annual JohnnyFest. My dad passed away 2 years and 5 months ago, and today is his birthday. We throw this big ass party around his birthday and invite friends and family to eat and drink and laugh and tell stories about John/Jack/dad. I wrote about last year’s JohnnyFest here.

We had a good crowd this year, and they even stuck around during the really bad storm that arrived mid-party. We all had to run in the house and take cover. The power would go out every three minutes. And when the storm was over, there was a tree down on Moose’s car.

(My dad and his buddies all had crazy nicknames. There was Camel, Moose, Beaver, Porky, and on and on).

Moose was such a great sport. He said, “Jack never did like me.” Then he went across the street, borrowed a chain saw, and cut the branches off his car.
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Moose’s wife’s name is Peggy and when I was in the kitchen, I heard her telling my mom that she wanted to throw a “MooseFest”. Of course, I marched right outside and told Moose that Peggy was planning a MooseFest. He said, “A party for when I die?” I said, “Yup.” Yeah, lots of good people at this party.

A few of my second cousins that I hadn’t seen years came to the party. And, actually, they are the reason I thought to have this party. It seems like there are some members of my family that I only see at funerals or wakes these days, and at my dad’s wake, my cousins and I were talking about that, and I decided that I would plan a party so that I could see people on happy occasions, not just for sad reasons. Hence, JohnnyFest was born.

We even had crazy fortune cookies made this year. My 7-year-old nephew, Cooper, had a great time reading them aloud for everyone:

“Johnny says…don’t be a cheapass.”

“Johhny says…eat well, drink well, shit well.”
You get the picture.
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Happy birthday dad, I miss you so much.

Here is a slideshow from the festivities.

Untitled from Natalie Mikolajczak on Vimeo.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

common sense is genius

I first met Jessica in 1995 (holy shit, that makes us friends for 16 years). We were thrown together as roommates in a dorm room for two weeks when we went to Gallaudet University in Washington D.C. for an intensive sign language course. I’ve never made friends easily, but it was love at first site for Jessica and me.

Jessica is from Berkeley; born and raised in Berkeley. She is the ‘hippie’ I’ve always wanted to be. In 1995, she taught me the simplest ‘green’ lesson: the water doesn’t need to run the entire time you are brushing your teeth. Common sense is genius.

I went to visit Jessica in Berkeley in 1996, and when I arrived in Berkeley, I finally felt like I was where I belonged. There were vegetarian restaurants everywhere for Pete’s sake! Jessica and I met back up at Gallaudet in ’97, she came to Chicago in ’98, then I went back to Berkeley around '01, and Jessica came back to Chicago around '02. We are in dire need of a visit.

Jessica recycles and composts and does all the things I wish I could do. She has kind heart and is now a great mom. She makes me the best surprises out of things she has around the house or things she finds. I have a dream pillow made from an old nightgown and stuffed with lavender from her garden, a box of treasures made from an old fire alarm box, a dream pillow bag made from old bed sheets, and many other treasures. Jessica is special, period.

The other day, Jessica was telling me about the new system they had installed at their home in Berkeley called greywater. Basically, they had a lot of pipes installed and buried in their backyard that delivers the wastewater from their washing machine, to their plants and garden. Common sense is genius.

Near the end of our conversation, I was telling Jessica how tired I am of the three constants in my life: being in debt, being overweight, and being surrounded by clutter. Jessica said, “Well, all three of those things are something you can do something about.” I swear to goodness, common sense is genius!

Sometimes, someone says something to you that is sheer genius no matter how simple and obvious it is.

Thank you for your genius, Jessica.