This blog will not mention my presentation today. Stay tuned for a separate one!
I love this city. One of my favorite things is to walk around alone when it is cold and window shop. No obligations, no need to impress anyone, no maps or navigation. Chicago in the winter time is beautiful and busy. Ghirardelli Chocolates is always there for a short break of holiday happiness. Chicago style pizza is surrounding me and I simply must have it! Lights and shops are glittering and I always want to look for presents that I just don't need to buy! Sometimes I wish I could just stay here forever, but then I remember that daylight will come and so will the days without holidays.
The business of Chicago becomes hassle in the day. The only redeeming quality is the Starbucks in the lobby. It really is amazing how love and nostalgia some how turns to indifference so fast. Is it because I was born in Illinois? Was I born with the fast paced and indifferent attitude? Does the luster go away because it is like a secret home?
I am lucky to live in a city that I am excited to be in day and night. I am not afraid walking downtown, I am not afraid of any parts of town, and I love the spirit (and it has nothing to do with choosing a baseball team). Chicago is a beautiful place to visit, but I'll keep Fort Wayne.
One of my favorite things about being in the Emerging Leaders Alliance is that we get to see some really awesome places. We were able to see Electric Works earlier this summer and this past week, we were able to see ReStore. I admit that I had no idea what ReStore was. When I realized it was a part of Habitat for Humanity I was intrigued.
The last time I had been a part of Habitat was when I was active in my sorority. I was a freshman in college, 19 probably, and we were doing a build in Kokomo. I don't remember much, but I do remember wearing a Strongbad hoodie. Is Strongbad still around?
We were given a tour by CEO Justin and his assistant Jamie. They told us all about the process of getting on the list, how many people are on the list, the eligibility, how the store works, and the functions of this store. One work can describe this: impressive. I was proud. Others were flabbergasted. Most of us just had warmth coming out of our hearts and wanted to throw credit cards to help.
I know I can't help financially, but you can help. Maybe. Volunteer, donate, advocate. This is a fantastic organization with upstanding morals. I am proud to put my back behind it.
I am not usually one to curse in front of children. I am a firm believer that kids will learn bad words from many people in their lives, and if I am lucky, mom and dad will screw them up long before I make that kind of mistake. I use alternate cursing phrases like "fudge bunnies", shitake mushrooms", "what the fork", and "dear sweet Oden" to express my feelings.
Today, I pretty much broke that rule. The good news was, the kids were strangers. The bad news, was it was in the Christmas section of Hobby Lobby. Going into Hobby Lobby anytime after August requires great patience. I believe that it is a patience that only a Jedi really possesses. Every time I turned to a different aisle, some couple or mother daughter pair was deep in debate or deep in shopping with a cart just taking up the entire place. After multiple aisles, my patience was about to the end. Without thinking, my mouth just let loose the phrase "holy fuck, Batman". I had one older lady glare at me and I realized my inner monologue was turned up too loud.
I kept walking around and luckily avoided any other instances, but have decided that store shopping is now off limits. The moral of my story is this: be good influence, know what makes you curse and don't do it.
Rarely do I do plugs for myself that are so blatantly obvious, but today is Small Business Saturday, and I am a Small Business. Buy stuff from me.
Instead of a long blog post, I just want to say Happy Halloween! Stay safe, eat lots of candy, throw away all of the candy corn, keep the kitties safe, drink tons of hot cider and hot chocolate, be responsible, and be courteous.
One of the best parts of being in the Emerging Leader's Alliance (ELA), is that we get the opportunity to travel to other counties to recruit and just meet young leaders like ourselves. I took particular joy in getting to go on this excursion because we went to a new winery and brewery.
Our first stop on this trip was Tippy Creek Winery. I must warn you that it is in Leesburg and it is our in the middle of nowhere. We were driving and looking around and just feeling like, is this right? Can this really be where we are going? It is so far away!
The winery was just adorable. You could tell it was newer, but it was off to a great start. The decorations were very crafty and country. I had a glass of Sunset Syrah. It had a beautiful spice. We sat outside with our group of young regional leaders. It was perfect fall weather. It was just a little cool and just a little warm and the sun was setting perfectly. We listened to an acoustic guitarist play Tom Petty and the Goo Goo Dolls while we talked about real world problems. These weren't the things that normally brought us together, but they were the things that made us seem more human. We normally see each other as exceptional go-getter's, but occasionally, we all have bad days and need a glass of wine. It was the perfect place to chat.
After we had out fill on wine, one glass for most of us, we headed over to HopLore. If we weren't following people, I don't know if we would have known it existed. It is located right on the train tracks in town and is kind of hidden. Much of the place is full of mismatched tables, but I'll tell you what they did right. That sign and that beer tap. The sign was glowing green behind and I am still trying to figure out if they have a green room back there. Those taps were also wood. I felt like I was in some fairyland.
When it came to ordering, I was excited to see Two EE's Plonque on the menu. It is a classic standby for those of us who just do not like beer much. After looking at the menu, Rachel and I both decided to get Korean Tacos. Kristen was inquiring what kimche was, and if I had know how spicy it was, I would have heft it off. They were the spiciest tacos I have ever had. Not bad, just so spicy. The kettle chips you can't go wrong with, but it did seem super weird with tacos. The most amusing part of the who trip to HopLore, was the slightly dirty themed menu. Hot dogs were "horny dogs". My favorite weird mashup was the HopLore Morning Wood. I had to point it out to everyone and send it to people for laughs. It got a good discussion going. Can I have a horny dog with a morning wood please? Priceless.
Just under a month ago, I joined Snapchat. This was mostly because my intern made me do it. I kept thinking it wasn't safe, it was stupid, and I just wouldn't use it. Color me shocked when one of the first snaps I get is from one of my best friends from high school and they live in the same city as me.
I immediately thought, who the hell just moves here out of nowhere? Oh wait, I did. I was immediately pumped because I have very little connections to my high school friends. I talk to maybe 2 friends. Distance and busy schedules are just sometimes way to much over the years.
We agreed we would go out for coffee. Well I pretty much don't do coffee so we did guacamole instead. We met at The Hoppy Gnome, one of my favorite places in town. The next weekend, I introduced him to the joys of Two EE's and the Weekends Uncorked series. It was chilly and breezy, they were serving Malbec again, and of course the music was fantastic. We got the chance to talk about some uncomfortable topics from the last time all of our old friends were together as a group, and I was finally given some peace.
It's funny how you can go through so much turmoil in your head for years, and one conversation can change everything. One of the songs I listened to on repeat all of those years ago before having a little bit of "fallout" with my high school friends was a song called I'm Looking Forward to Looking Back on These Days" by Mandy Moore. And I know you loved me in your way, I'm looking forward to looking back on these days, And I'm fine, but I'm not okay, I'm looking forward to looking back on these days.
I'm okay. It's kind of funny looking back. Why are we all so stupid in our late teens and early twenties?
I can't believe it has been almost a month, but this has indeed been one of the craziest times in quite a while. My awesome intern and I were trying to gather a ton of silent auction items and some of them I just kept putting off the pick up. Looking back, I don't know why, but I'm guessing it had to do with it not being as close as to my apartment as Meijer. If something isn't that close, it normally gets scrapped.
I finally made my venture out to LaOtto, IN to Country Heritage Winery and LaOtto Brewing. I came in to Country Heritage on a mission. They had already donated, but when I learned that they had a wine that had a Mastodon on it, I was sold. Just for kicks, I wanted to do a tasting while I was there. While I had been to Country Heritage before, it had been during a Switchfoot concert and it was so packed that it was hard to get to the bar. I remember getting a bottle and a wine slushee and finding a comfy spot outside.
This time I was alone and I was not on a time crunch. I was surprised when they said tastings were free. On top of the tasting being free, you could pick what you want and exclude the featured wine, because that would be included anyway. My wine loving heart fluttered.
My tasting adventure included the following:
Malbec - Never met one I didn't like. To be honest, I was surprised it wasn't my favorite because I am normally a sucker for dark, dry wines. It was excellent. I felt like I could taste the plum and blackberry.
Blueberry Merlot - It hurt my heart to say that this was my least favorite. It was good. It followed a Malbec, and it just felt too sweet for this dry loving drinker,
Fall Harvest - I live for this blend. Every winery seems to have a fall blend. This one almost strayed me from my mission of coming to get the Ice Age White.
Ice Age White - Once I tasted it, I knew it was fate. While I am not a fan of sweet wine, this was better than sitting and eating cheesecake and watching Netflix. I saw it had a 2017 Gold award from the Indy Wine Competition and I said out loud to myself, yup. I get it.
Hard Apple Cider and Hard Cherry Cider - I am a sucker for ciders. I am not saying these were the best ciders in the world, but I overheard someone say, mix the ciders. Once the apple and cherry were mixed, they were awesome. Individually, I would go opt for a Strongbow somewhere else.
I left Country Heritage wondering why I don't go there more often. The wine was excellent, it is so spacious, and the snack options surpass any other winery in the region.
Today I decided to finally go back to a salon for my hair coloring needs. You won't see me with 3 different colors in a month in the near future, and yes, that does make me sad. What doesn't make me sad is the customer experience. I used the trusty google machine to find some worthy salon that would give me the biggest bang for my buck, yet not be super sketchy.
Well, I was satisfied. I am consistently unsatisfied in life. My friend Susan and I have even had deep psychological conversations about why I am so willing to change things. I claim that I am perfectly described by the song "Satisfied" in the musical Hamilton. While some of this may be striving for approval, other parts of it may come from the insecurity of being 30 and still single.
Well I know really cool things are coming and I don't just mean the weather! I thought it was time to invest in me. It was time to say, I'm worth more than a $9 box.
My trusty friend Google sent me to Forum Day Spa and Salon. It was early, the alarm cat woke me up at 3 am, my hair was sticking straight up, I had a mysterious cut on my face, and I had one of those allergy sore throats that screamed fall. I dragged myself up and put my short hair in a small ponytail, attempted to makeup over the cut, and grabbed some tea for the allergy throat. I made my way to the salon, still early, and with Starbucks in hand.
I was very pleased with the absolute ball of energy that surrounded my hair and me. Heather Rogers, had originally planned to take the day off, but she, like me, didn't want to go play in the rain. For the first time in many years, I said just do something that looks nice. I am really not that picky. Some stylists probably love that and others probably want to hit you with a hairbrush. I was loved. Not only was I treated amazing, but I loved my hair.
I feel I am not promoting businesses enough so here it is. This stylist is amazing. Real conversations, hilarious, and talented.