Wednesday, November 3, 2010

...Parties

No, I'm not talking about dressing up and wearing heels and seeing your friends. I'm talking about political parties. Before you click the "X" button to close this window hear me out. *

It doesn't matter if you're republican or democrat or independent or green or whatever the hell the new party is.

Throw another cigarette on the ground. Scream at your child once more. Slam the door in someone else's face. Call someone who is different than you another hurtful name. Spit on the sidewalk one more time. Ignore the old woman crossing the street in the rain. Walk right past someone who's dropped something.

Whatever happened to civility in America? Politeness? Manners? Acceptance? Tolerance? Why do people fight hate with hate, and why does that translate into politics?
You were bullied as a child and now as an adult you have to bully others and be proud of it? You were hurt once and now you mend your pain by hurting someone else? Give me a break!

You all know I'm "liberal." I put it in quotations because the thought of labeling myself and associating myself with any sort of political party today makes me sick. So much back and forth, "I'm better than you" or "I'm right and you're wrong" or "I hate this group of people because they are different than me and that hate is ok because my political party tells me so."

Enough! Whatever happened to respect?

Take a step back and think before you speak. I need to take that advice as much as the next guy. Think for yourself. Political parties aren't about hatred. Let's all have some respect for one another and (in a perfect world) realize this as a country.


*If I offend anyone in this blog post, leave a comment and tell me why.

Monday, October 11, 2010

It Gets Better.



I may not be gay but I'm definitely an ally. If you ever need to talk, I'm here. Just email me, even if you want to be anonymous, I'll listen.

Monday, August 23, 2010

...No-Chip Manicure Removal!

**Sorry about the water marks. I started seeing my photos elsewhere on the web. Please, do not use my photos without asking first.**

Three weeks after receiving my first no-chip manicure, I had to remove it somehow. I spoke with the talented ladies at the No-Chip Boutique, and decided to remove it myself. Not an impossible task, just more involved than normal nail polish removal.

Note: Don't peel it, don't peel it, don't peel it! Use this removal process. The gel polish is NOT normal nail polish. There's a reason why it sticks to your nails for two+ weeks. Don't peel it, even if its lifting in the corners. If you peel it, you will take layers of your nail with it, which obviously is damaging to your nails.

Supplies:
100% Acetone (Find it at your local drug store/super store, etc.)
Cotton pads or cotton balls
Foil, cut into strips about 1-2 inches wide
Metal cuticle pusher or orangewood stick
Nail buffer or very dull nail file
Nail/cuticle oil (can also use olive oil, almond oil, coconut oil or baby oil)
Cuticle cream, body butter, or lotion

1) Prep your manicure for removal.
Your no-chip manicure still has a shiny clear coat. Remove this by using a nail buffer or very dull nail file. Buff it away until the color is dull.






2) Lay out your supplies.
Since we're dealing with 100% acetone and will soon not have the mobility of all our fingers, I like to lay out all my supplies. Use one cotton ball per finger, or cut up cotton pads to fit. Make sure your foil is in strips before you begin. I recommend covering the surface where you're working to protect it against accidental acetone spills or drips.





3) Begin removal.
Apply acetone to the cotton pad and lay it over your finger. Wrap the foil around it. I secured mine with tape, but its always really necessary. I also preferred to remove the polish one hand at a time, so I had a free hand to work with. Once all the foil is applied (as I like to call it, "Robot Fingers,") keep it on for 15 minutes.






4) Remove foil and cotton pads.
This is what it looks like when I first removed the robot finger.



Now its time to scrape it away. GENTLY take your scraper or orangewood stick and lift up the polish. Some of it may lift, some might need light scraping. The object is to remove the polish without damaging your nail. The acetone should have loosened it up enough that you can do this without much effort. If it's too hard to remove, put some more acetone on a pad and hold it to your nail for a few seconds.




5) Buff away rough spots.
Wash your hands with soap and water and dry them. I noticed once all the polish was removed there were still rough spots on my nail, which I think was just leftover base coat from the manicure. I used my nail buffer again to remove it.



6). Moisturize.
Acetone can be drying. It is important to moisturize your nails and cuticles once the removal process is complete. I like to use nail oil and cuticle cream.




Here's how my nails looked like just one day after the removal process. To me they look normal, and very long! The no-chip polish protected my nails from breaking, so three weeks of growth really shows.




*Observations after receiving/removing multiple manicures:
I'm still happy with this kind of manicure, and I still remove it just how I represented in this blog. I'd say I get one once a month, or once every other month. Polish usually stays on for two weeks, plus or minus a few days. As far as how nails appear after the removal process, I think it really depends on your nails! Mine aren't dry to begin with. Acetone *is* drying. But the day after removal, my nails are normal again. However, my nails are naturally tough, they rarely break, and they grow like weeds. How your nails appear after removal all depends on how you've treated them in the past (if you've worn false nails), how often you get/remove the no-chip manicure and how well you take care of them on a day-to-day basis.

...PAWS Chicago



Yellow balloons and cold noses lined North Damen Ave. on Sunday. PAWS Chicago's premier adoption event, Angels With Tails, was hosted on Aug. 22 this year for the first time in Bucktown on Damen Ave. from Webster to Milwaukee/North.

I'm a dog and cat lover but since I work full time and I'm out of the house so often, it just wouldn't be fair to a furry companion to live with me. To get my fuzzy fix, I attend local events like this one, and in mid-September I'm going to an orientation to become a volunteer at PAWS!

Friendly PAWS volunteers greeted me up and down Damen Ave., showing me adorable pets waiting for a place to call home, wearing yellow bandannas that read, "Adopt me!" A few store fronts invited people inside to see a variety of cats, and even a floppy-eared grey bunny.

I simply fell in love when a volunteer plopped a hefty twenty pound wrinkly grey mastiff puppy in my arms. Suddenly all my stress melted away! Animals really provide the best therapy of all-unconditional love and affection.

Just because the event is over doesn't mean the animals are all gone! If you're looking to add a dog or cat to your family, check out PAWS Chicago and consider adopting!






Monday, August 16, 2010

...Symbolism



Sometimes I just need some roof time.

I sit on my roof and hear the city and see the city and just take it all in. It's my time to think and reflect.

About two months ago we were on the roof as we usually were on a nice summer evening. Later on I realized I lost an earring. I tried to look for it on the roof but it was nearly impossible, the earring was so tiny and the roof was kind of dirty because it had rained in the middle of the night.

The earring was pretty much lost. He kept asking if I found it but I never did. It was ok.

Last night I came home from a visit to my parent's house. A closing to two of the most difficult weeks of this year for me. I felt lonely. I went on the roof with a box of tissues and my folding chair and my thoughts.

I got up to walk around and something shiny caught my eye. It was my earring.

There it was, still recognizable among the dirt and brick crumbles that had fallen from the severe storms and winds. But it wasn't the same, it was all bent up in a little ball.

I knew it wouldn't work but I took it in anyway and tried to fix it.

And it just fell apart.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

...Tomaotes



Never in my life have I liked tomatoes.

For as long as I can remember my father grew them in his garden. They were always the most flourishing harvest. He had so many tomatoes he had to give them away. I remember the smell when I helped him pick them. Horrible smell. Most would love the smell of a warm, vine-ripe tomato. Though it is a horrible smell to me it reminds me of the fun times dad and I had in the garden. Bittersweet, I guess.

Sure, I love tomato sauce and salsa, they don't taste like raw tomatoes. But even when I make my own salsa I use canned tomatoes so they taste less like tomatoes. Haha, such a battle of flavors I must try and mediate!

I even make it a point to try a raw tomato every once in a while to see if my tastes have changed.

What kind of foods make you cringe that most people love to eat?




Photo was found on Flickr, under the Creative Commons license. Thanks to "visualdensity".

Thursday, June 10, 2010

...Changing Yourself

**If you have info on any woman's shelters in Chicago where I can donate my clothes, please leave a comment! Thanks!**


I'm cleaning out my closets. You should see all the clothes I'm going to give away. I want to find a woman's shelter to give them to, I feel like the clothes are still in good condition and can get good wear. I have a lot of dresses and skirts that don't even fit me anymore, not sure why I even moved them out here. They are clothes from what I call "pre-body change days". I quickly gained weight when I began working full time. I lost it relatively quickly, too. Not that I lost a lot of weight, but after I did, my body changed and weight that remained shifted, and during that time I sort of had to replenish a lot of my clothes because everything was too big. But I held onto a few pieces, I think because I just loved them so much. Like this really cute BCBG dress I bought at the outlet in Michigan city. It's four sizes too big.

In a way, trying on all those big clothes yesterday was encouraging for me to stay thin, not that I wasn't thin before, but I know I wasn't happy with myself. Not that thin=happy, but I just didn't look like myself anymore. Plus, added weight would be a really bad thing for my scoliosis to handle. Anyway, I remember a hot and humid evening the first summer I was working full time. I was sitting at my computer, and I had this full length mirror by me. I saw myself and I was like wow, this isn't me. What happened. I gained weight during my first job I think because I started going out to lunch (I never did that before, really) and stopped walking around like I did at Purdue all the time. At that moment I decided I was going to change.

I added back into my life what I was missing, the walking. I walked to the end and back of my apartment complex every night. It was only about a mile and a half. Sometimes on the weekends I did it twice in one day. Then I started eating really well. I never went out to lunch. I ate a LOT of raw produce. I parked my car far away. I'd get up and walk around and stretch every hour at work. I didn't diet, I just changed habits. Then I remember about 2 months down the road someone at work asked if I lost weight. My reply was simply, "I don't even know!" But hearing that felt good. Also it was a kick in the butt, like, "what, you noticed I had weight to loser?" Haha. I weighed myself the next time I visited my parents house, I don't own a scale. I lost 10 pounds since the last time I weighed myself, whenever that was. I was shocked. I started to realize it about a month later when I put on pants that were too tight last season and now they were too big. It was a good feeling. Shortly after all this fun stuff was happening to me, I joined a gym and started belly dancing.

I didn't just feel that I looked better, I felt that I slept better, was more alert, my mind was clear, I had more fun. Until all this started happening, I didn't even realize in the first place that I was in this mindless, activity-less slump. It wasn't about the weight, it was about my life style choices!

I just knew something wasn't healthy anymore with me, so I changed. An outcome of that just happened to be weight loss. I think if some people see it like that, losing weight would be so much easier. Don't diet, just take a step back and see how you're treating your most prized possession- your own body!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Guacomole!


I've been wanting to post my guac recipe for a while. It's so easy. It's so tasty I forgot to take a picture of the final product! Haha. Here's what you'll want/need:

(*Note, like all my recipes I post here, measurements are up to you, so are ingredients, add/remove/substitute as you like! That's the beauty of easy recipes.)

avocado
fresh lime/lemon
cilantro
sea salt
garlic (powder, freshly crushed, or from a jar)
chili powder
onion powder
fresh onion
jalopeno pepper
blender/food processor (I'm using my handy Cuisinart Mini Chopper!)
(*Another note: I HATE tomatoes, so none of the stuff I cook, besides salsa, has tomatoes! You might want to dice some up and add them in the end so they don't get blended by the chopper.)

Ingredients go into the processor as you like. It's so freakin' easy! Make sure though, to have some sort of lime or lemon juice. It will help preserve the color so it won't turn brown. Enjoy!


Thursday, May 20, 2010

...Maybe

I've been VERY busy lately. Stay tuned for more. Hopefully I can share some good news soon! In the meantime, check this out for some fashion and do-gooder inspiration!

Uniform Project Picture Book from The Uniform Project on Vimeo.



Read about the Uniform Project here: http://www.theuniformproject.com/home/about.html

Friday, April 30, 2010

...Unique and Useless Talents!

This is inspired by a thread started on Yelp Talk Chicago. Here are some of my unique and useless talents! What are some of yours? Ever wonder if you can put them to good use someday?

- I'm right handed, but I can only write backwards with my left hand.

- I worked in the lingerie department of JCPenney and Kohl's for quite some time in high school. I can tell, pretty accurately, a woman's bra size just by looking at her.

- I can crack an egg with one hand and not spill goop everywhere.

- It's like I have an accent/sound library in my brain, I can imitate anything.

- This "talent" is useful- crazy bionic hearing. (My ears ARE rather large..)

- Slowly read to me a long list of numbers. I can remember them all and say them back to you. Then I can say them all to you backwards. (But I can't do simple math to save my life!)

I'll add more as I think of them!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

...My Blog in the Chicago Pipeline!

I'm a frequent reader and commenter on Streets of Wicker, a blog maintained by the publisher of the Chicago Pipeline, a weekly e-newsletter about Wicker Park and Bucktown. I was recently asked to write a short article for the Pipeline about MY most recent blog post, where I shared photos and video of the TV show filming in Wicker Park.

Sign up for the Chicago Pipeline weekly e-newsletter by emailing streetsofwicker@hotmail.com

View my article on the Pipeline here (scroll down, you'll see my photo!): http://tinyurl.com/2uwu7m5 or read it below!


Lights, Camera, Action!
Tales from a 'hood that oughta be in pictures (and is!)


I’m a wimp when it comes to dramatic or violent TV shows, but somehow hearing a director yell, “HOSTAGES COMIN’ OUT!” and seeing a grip strategically sprinkle broken glass on the hood of a car takes away most of my fear. Funny how I get so pulled into something that I probably wont be interested in watching. But that’s the appeal of this neighborhood. There is something for everyone to relate to, no matter how big or small. It is the reason why Wicker Park is such an attractive area for TV shows, commercials, even movies to be filmed.

In the end of March I took my routine weekend walk down Damen toward The Intersection. Only this time I wasn’t only after my cafe au lait from Goddess and the Grocer. I was ready to stand in the breezy, forty degree weather for a couple hours to catch a behind-the-scenes glimpse of a TV show’s pilot episode being filmed. Crewmen, actors and extras filled Damen, Milwaukee and North Avenue. As local residents and families walked by, men in police and SWAT team costumes leaned against the brick walls of the Wicker Park Tavern as they waited for their next cue, drinking coffee, chatting and holding giant (giant!) guns.

I have come to realize, in my short year and a half of living in Chicago, that this isn’t all unusual for my neighborhood. Sure, Hollywood is glitzy and exciting, but WP is real. And judging by the number of fanny packs I see on any given weekend, the recognizable scenery probably gives a little boost to tourism, too. If you’re trying to spot the record store from High Fidelity, or looking for the former Real World Chicago house, one thing is for sure: you’re going to see regular people walking around the vast array of boutiques, restaurants, lounges and bars, all built among eye catching historical and modern architecture. Film makers want to create a connection for their viewers. That comes naturally with a spot textured with such culture and variety.

Spend a few hours sitting in a trendy restaurant’s outdoor patio, snap a photo of the scenery you saw in that movie you watched last night and just watch the world go by. Pretty soon you’ll forget you’re in a movie backdrop and realize you’re in one of Chicago’s liveliest and most attractive neighborhoods!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

...ACTION!




Funny how fascinated I am with the filming of a TV show I'll never watch because it's way too violent.

My neighborhood is so cool that CBS wanted to use it as the backdrop for a bank robbery scene being filmed for the pilot episode of the upcoming TV drama, "The Line". I am easily amused and never saw anything being filmed before up close and in front of my face, so I stood outside on a breezy, 40-degree, overcast Chicago Sunday and took photos and video.

Feel free to leave a comment on here or You Tube! All photos are posted to my Facebook page if you want to see more.

My YouTube channel
My Facebook page










Monday, March 15, 2010

...Protein


I found this article today and thought it explained proteins very well, and since a lot of people ask me about my protein (and ask other vegetarians about their protein) I thought I'd share.

We can get complete protein without consuming animals. Also notice, all the suggested combinations of proteins for vegetarians mentioned in the article happen to be vegan as well.

Taken from today.msnbc.com, an excerpt from an article by Madelyn Fernstrom of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center:

What is protein?

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Think of a train as a protein and the cars as amino acids. The combination of amino acids determines the type of protein. There are two types of protein: animal and plant. However, there are about 20 amino acids, divided between essential amino acids and non-essential ones. Essential means the body cannot make them and must obtain them from a food source. Your body can break down essential amino acids into non-essential ones.

How many amino acids do you need?

Your body needs all the amino acids. Depending on amino acid composition, proteins are either “complete” or “incomplete.” This is the real difference between the vegetable and animal protein sources. Animal protein has the complete profile of all the amino acids. Beef, chicken, veal, lamb, port, fish, eggs, are all complete proteins. Eggs are the most ideal protein — and the standard to which others are measured regarding “usability” by the body.
Vegetable proteins are typically “incomplete,” meaning there are either missing amino acids or too few of them to maintain the body’s total needs. Vegetable proteins come from nuts, seeds, and legumes. Vegetable proteins need to be combined, but not necessarily eaten together, to make sure all amino acid needs are met. Vegetarians must use “complementary” vegetable proteins together to make a single complete protein source. For example, they need to eat beans with rice, a rice cake with peanut butter, or hummus, which is made with chick peas and sesame paste. Soy is a great low fat source of protein. Most protein bars use soy protein, casein or whey as their base. All are complete proteins. The same is true for protein powders.

Click here to read the whole article.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

...Lurking Sodium


Today at the store while getting ingredients to make my dad some salsa and guacamole for when he visits me in Chicago this weekend, I was looking for some canned, diced tomatoes.

What's this? A can of diced tomatoes that says, "No salt added"?

Wait. That means plain ol' diced tomatoes in a can have salt? I looked at the back of the can. 200 MG of sodium in one small can of diced tomatoes.

Maybe it's just this brand? I start frantically turning around every single can on the shelf. 200 MG sodium was the LEAST amount I found. Needless to say, I bought the "No salt added" kind.

I want canned instead of fresh tomatoes because I can't stand the smell and taste of fresh tomatoes, makes me want to barf. Sad but true, for a vegetarian like myself, isn't it? Canned tomatoes don't really taste as tomato-y as fresh, know what I mean? (Maybe it's because of the salt they add??)

The first time I even bought a can of tomatoes was about a month ago when I thought it would be fun to try and make my own salsa. (It IS fun, and easy!) From now on I'll look for no salt added, and you should too. It's completely unnecessary; obviously, since they make a variety without added salt.

Tell me what other unexpected things you've found that contain salt! I'll post my salsa recipe soon!