Friday the 13th

In my most recent post I mentioned that I had just started reading a “daily” book called Simple Abundance. I decided to write this post based off of last Friday the 13th’s reading because the message paralleled my current place in life so well, a perfect fit. It was titled “Gratitude: Awakening the Heart.”

In summary, the author reveals her constant desire and want for items that she could never afford, a sense of greed. The more she focused on these things the more depressed she became. It got to the point where she was physically and emotionally exhausted from concentrating on them. As soon as she came to the realization that she was torturing herself with these desires and unnecessary needs, she “surrendered her desire for security and sought serenity instead” and decided to give thanks to areas in her life where she was completely satisfied.

This is when I started relating it all to my life. The past few months have been a huge adjustment for any normal person my age – recent graduate, the move to a big city, searching for that ‘big girl’ job, leaving my best friends and family back home AND then to top it all off I hit the most stressful part 4 months after settling in Chicago – financial insecurity <– worst feeling in the world, might I add!! I struggled with the same issue the author spoke of; I focused all my attention on the negative things going on rather than being grateful and aware of all the positive things in my life.

My health, a wonderful loving mother and family, my amazing supportive friends, a great apartment in a thriving and beautiful city, cherishable and unique memories of my dad, my skills and talents and all the opportunities I’ve been given.. the list goes on with things that I am more than thankful for. It doesn’t matter how awareness comes about. All that matters is that you’re aware – and from there the author experienced an overwhelming amount of gratefulness. You begin to notice and appreciate the smallest gifts in life.

And she leaves off with a few things for you to think about: Be open to exchanging your need for emotional and financial security for your serenity. Open “the eyes of your eyes.” Are your basic needs met? Do you have a home, food, clothes, a paycheck, good health? Can you walk, talk and see the beautiful world around you? The list goes on… so with that I feel I have passed along her message as best as I could, hopefully it has the same positive impact on yourself as it did for me. What are you grateful for today?

“Destiny is made known silently.” – Agnes de Mille

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Anxiously Waiting…

Back in early June I got the official word and position that I would be working for the new Laugh Factory opening here Chicago – a well reputable comedy club that’s extremely successful out in LA. I had the opportunity to work out there last summer as a cocktail waitress, which is fortunately how I was able to get in to this location here. As soon as I received word that they were planning on opening a club in Chicago, I immediately got in contact with the owner, had an interview when he was visiting here and basically got offered the position right then and there. They decided to bring me on as a social media and marketing person, since that was were my expertise was. I informed them about my passion with social media and the great benefits it’ll have for their company – especially since comedy is all about interacting with your fans. Since I’m not a talented comedian myself, I figured I can do more of the ‘behind the scenes entertainment’ and interact with the fans in a different manner – through tweeting, facebooking, blogging, etc.

 The Laugh Factory is opening in the old Lakeshore Theater location on Belmont and Broadway in the Lakeview neighborhood. The building has been undergoing an $5 million dollar renovation which has ultimately taken the entire summer and longer to complete. After just recently meeting with my boss at the Laugh Factory and two other employees a few weeks ago, he gave us a start date of September 12th in the office – next Monday! and I can hardly wait!

I’ve been in talks and texting with my co-worker, Tricia – who will also be a social media and marketing coordinator as well – for the past few weeks. We’ve met previously to discuss all our thoughts, ideas and plans on what we want to do for the Laugh Factory. We had the chance to tour our new office, where our minds will be hard at work, and let me tell you… we’re completely feeding off the energy and excitement of each other, which is making us more anxious to actually start. The 377 person theater is planning for a red-carpet blowout, with promised A-Lister celebrities, something I hope Tricia and I will soon be diligently working on! I just keep telling myself patience is key… it’ll all fall into place, eventually. We’ve got our fingers crossed for a start date within the next week so we get in that office to begin planning and promoting this impressive new club coming to Chicago! Until then I’ll keep you posted, especially on the actual opening date of the club itself 🙂

Watch if You Dare, But Do Not Judge…

Basically 48 hours of the Unforgettable weekend we had – wrapped up into 4 1/2 minutes. Impressive Mandy. In order to catch the one-liner quotes you may have to watch it more than 3 times, that’s not saying you have to though 😉 So like I said watch if you dare, but promise not to judge. Just a few good friends who haven’t seen each other in awhile, celebrating the right way in Chicago. Enjoy 🙂

Unforgettable

This past weekend some of my closest girl friends came down to Chicago for a visit, and to celebrate Kate’s birthday. Hands down, one of the best weekends of my life. I knew I was lucky when I lived at State with 10 girls, but I can definitely say I’m one of the luckiest girls alive to have such a close knit group of girls that love each other for each of our unique and individual traits. Kate: you’re my beautiful bestie and always will be, I can’t even begin to fathom my life without you, it’s hard enough living 200 miles apart – best part about you, you never judge (me) and you embrace my quirky embarrassing self 😉 Kelly: your giggle gets me every time, you’re a joy to be around and always seem to lighten the mood. Anddd you danced this weekend, you know Kellis is having a good time when she actually busts out a move. Lauren: Wouldn’t have wanted to spend 6 days with anyone else but you! So glad I could house you here, you’re WILD. End of story, and your spontaneity allowed you to  hit it off with Danny Devito 😉 jealous. Ashmac: I could totally quote you on a few things here, but I’ll keep it private to protect your classyness – damn hangovers will get you hah. Please move to this city, so I have a little bit of EL with me. Amanda: I love you, I could end it right there… you throw out some amazing one-liners from God knows where and you definitely added the Zing to our weekend. We definitely defined Jack-O-Lanterns on Friday night 😉 Can’t wait to see how our video with Wayne comes together. If it’s not to raunchy maybe it’ll have a special place on my blog 🙂 Lynsey: to my bestie in Chicago, what would I do without you? Literally. (I can’t imagine my life without McFaddens). I’m so glad to have rekindled an amazing friendship with a beautiful, bright and loving person. I miss you girls already, and if it was my choice we’d all be living under the same roof. It’s sad to think I’ll never live with 11 people again, but yet it’s nice to know I’ll always have amazing visitors to look forward to 😉

Our planned trip to the Cubs game turned into more of a bar crawl.

Take Me Back.

Numerous memories that we all walked away with this weekend, wish we could rewind and do it all again, in precisely the exact same way 😉

We finally met a Kevin, and we even met a Wayne. We danced until our feet were blistered and sore. Swamp ass was brought up far too much (especially in the Jersey accent). Future plans for our Advertising agency were discussed. Mr Saxobeat was never overplayed. Slumber parties were at their finest here, especially considering that each one of us had a “cuddle buddy” ha. I think everyone experienced my case of crazy legs – Kate you know you like them, and you miss spooning with me, don’t you lie. Authentic Mexican Food may or may not have been the worst decision Sunday, besides the lovin’ we threw on Taylor Lautner. 48 videos taken on the flip-cam already has me nervous to see the published results from Mandy…

By far the weekend’s theme song – Mr. Saxobeat.

Nothing Wrong With a Little Spontaneity

I felt like I was literally kidnapped today when friends Evan and Mauricio told me to meet me on the corner of Addison and Lakeshore. I was just enjoying myself and reading Chelsea Handler’s book when I got an unexpected call from them saying I had to join them on their trip – they didn’t really give me much of a choice. We drove up to Northwestern’s Campus, a campus I have never visited before. We attempted to check out the SigEp house, but had no such luck except for Mauricio’s attempt to slide open the front window, pull back the curtains and take a look. Not creepy or anything. Although it’s a gorgeous campus, it still doesn’t compare to that of State’s. We couldn’t seem to find streets similar to MSU’s popular M.A.C or Albert, and had a hard time finding out where the nearest bars (mainly a Rick’s type joint) were. Clearly this was not a top pick school for us 😉

Driving around a little more we found ourselves in an extremely beautiful area of Evanston, indescribable houses on the marina and along the lake shore. Big, beautiful and dreamlike – but not as much as what we came across next.

For some reason, editing my pictures in Instagram makes them look so much more amazing.

We stopped at this Baha’i Temple, an absolutely stunning building. The one question we never found the answer to is, “Sooo who paid/pays for this?” Regardless, it truly is an amazing piece of architecture, and is presently only one of the seven in the world. Beautiful landscaping, gardens and fountains surround the temple – which were only tempting us to take a swim 🙂 Sidenote: Evan thought he was about to be the first one to toss a penny into the fountain, little did he know he just couldn’t see the hundreds of others that were resting on the bottom. Not that cool dude. And to make matters funnier, as we were walking out Mauricio thought he saw sparkles atop of some flowers, naturally he thought it was a sign from God?? and went down to touch it. I looked at him, like are you serious? That’s a spider web with water molecules resting on it. I’m still laughing about it, and how quickly he pulled his hand back away from the web. Haha 🙂 Oh and last but not least, we made sure to check out some brush to see if we could find any rabbits… because apparently they hang out all around the temple (says Mauricio, we never actually saw any). Overall, great afternoon – definitely didn’t expect my little silent day of reading by the water to turn into the adventure it did.

The fountain which was about to contain Evan’s penny, and his penny only.

If you’re ever in the area make a trip a few miles north and you’ll come across this temple, it’s worth even if it’s just for the amazing photography opportunity 🙂

Happy Pride Day

I’ve been told by many that I must take the time to head up to the Annual Chicago Gay Pride Parade on the last Sunday in June. Ironically enough I live in “boystown” area, so go figure the parade is literally a block from apartment (I can still hear the remaining wanderers outside right now). Anyways, this parade was honestly one of the craziest things I’ve experienced thus far in Chicago. I walked up there with a few friends having no idea what to expect – and trust me I was not disappointed. I can’t even describe some of the things we saw; one, because it’s just indescribable and two, it’s inappropriate for me to even talk about…

Senators, State Reps, Boobs, Butts, Stilts, Rainbows (lots of rainbows), Tutus, Pom Poms, Cowboys, Stiletto Pumps (mostly on the men), Teachers, Children, Half Naked Tuba Players, Grass Skirts, Wedding Dresses, Combat Boots, Butterfly Wings, Harleys, Headdresses, Wigs, Pink (lots of pink), Prince William’s “Other Lover”, A Pageant Queen, Men in Shorts Shorter Than Mine, The Tin Man and did I mention butts and boobs? Yep, I think that pretty much sums it up.

However, I also saw an incredible amount of prideful and unique individuals, some of the happiest people I’ve ever seen. Lyns and I were laughing, but seriously almost in tears at some points (regardless of the fact that I’m the biggest sap ever) it was really neat to see all these people come together and stand for something they believe in, better yet stand up for who they are. Overall, it was definitely worth my time in going – I’ll be back next year for sure 🙂

My Best Friend is a Survivor

Just a quick post but for those of you who don’t know today was National Cancer Survivors’ Day, and I had an amazing opportunity to take part in the 18th Annual Cancer Survivors’ Celebration and Walk here in Chicago, with my best friend and survivor, Mandolynn and her family. It turned out to be a beautiful morning, the rain subsided and the sun quickly shined down on all the beautiful survivors that were out there today. We sported some adorable custom made shirts and walked the 4 miles as a team, and more importantly as a family! 🙂

A Very Small Part of Mandolynn’s Support Group

At the end of the walk, an extremely inspirational woman stepped up to give a brief speech on her battle with cancer. It didn’t take long before she had myself as well as 4,000 others in tears just hearing about her struggles and the frustration she had endured over the past 8 months. Jenna Benn, a 29 year old amazing survivor of a rare Grey Zone Lymphoma cancer gained numerous followers with a blog Kill It In the Butt taking her family, friends and other survivors through her journey with cancer. In the end she quoted her path as “Twisting to Fight Cancer.” So today the one thing she asked of us was to join her on the dance floor and Do the Twist. It was literally the most touching 5 minutes of the day, standing in a field surrounded by some of the strongest people in the world, all cancer survivors ranging in ages from 2 to 80 – dancing and twisting with happiness. I myself was dancing in pure joy that my best friend was now 100% happy, healthy and cured.

Aunt Minny and Rylee

After the dance ended, survivors gathered to take one large group picture, and following that moment is when the family members really expressed their love. Watching mothers embrace their children and spouses holding on to one another the way that they did – just thankful that they came out strong and healthy – was another tipping point for me where I couldn’t even begin to try and hold back some tears. Today was truly a beautiful day, and in many more ways than one.

I love you Mandolynn, you are beautiful, amazing, inspirational, strong and the best big sister I could ever ask for!