Monday, December 27, 2010

...and to all, a good night.

Every year, I think I find myself saying the same thing: "It's over already?"

And yet, every year Christmas seems to pass just a little quicker and all of us seem to be home just a little bit shorter. Never the less, it's one of the holidays that (to ramp up my cliche use) truly makes me feel so blessed.

Christmas Eve has quickly turned into a night where friends who have turned into family head over to the Angel household. It now includes delicious lasagna (home-cooked by the amazing stupendous Chris Pecorella) and a spirited singalong in which we've recently added "So This is Christmas (War Is Over)" as a nod to Ricky's favorite carol. We've learned it's also the song that never ends. Mark claims "it just fades out then it's over" yet our Christmas Eve version can often carry on for a good ten minutes. As Jen pointed out this year, Christmas Eve is often filled with the same songs, the same routine, the same pictures, but different clothes. Yet none of us ever complain.

I love that the crowd seems to multiply each year and I love that this year we could celebrate two engaged couples. Two Jasons, one Jen and one Chris Anne. We had the fathers of the bride pop the bottles of champagne open and the mothers of the bride pour.

Growing older (not up), I found myself looking around our T-shaped dinner table (I claimed it was in honor of Da Bears...we'll never forget the way you thrilled the nation, with your T-formation) and thought how awesome that all of us fit in this room and have created the festive atmosphere.

Maybe I should have warned you this post was going to be a bit sappy. It happens.

Though Dad and Larry are ridiculous on the piano and guitar and make quite the pair, every year, I moved just a bit more by Mark's clarinet playing. It's an annual tradition for he and Larry to play "Oh Holy Night" (personally, my favorite carol) and it's an annual tradition for us to all to watch in awe.

The girls lost again in the great trivial pursuit battle - but we held our own. Even though we got a repeat question - which is curious in and of itself since we changed versions of the game this year - we still struggled with "What does IMHO mean in Internet lingo?"

First of all) I've never seen that used before and second of all) neither had the rest of the team.

Bless Lauren Pecorella's heart for thinking it meant "I am a HO!" Knowing that wasn't the right answer, we came up with "in my home office." Correct? No way. Amusing? Heck yes.

It was a holiday for the books and so it's only appropriate to wrap this post up with a
Merry Christmas to all...and to all, a good night.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

apartment therapy.

Many are familiar with the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" a la the version I previously posted. This year, I became familiar with "The Twelve Days of Moving." Since Mark inquired, no, that does not mean it took me twelve days to move from point A to point B. Child isn't well versed in the art of moving. I was merely referring to all the phone calls/logistics/packing/shifting that occur to prepare one's self for a move.

I've been in these new digs since Saturday and I feel settled and really excited to begin this chapter of living. Here's a quick tour:

We enter through the front door.

Here's the trunk that sits in the front hall. Peg found these amazing lamps for a bargain price and my Woof & Poof collection grows just a bit each year.

If you peer to your left, you see what many call "the kitchen." I call it "a room I avoid at most costs unless I'm thirsty."

I have fond memories from my kitchen at my last apartment. Mainly because it was the room I used to get the worst cell phone service in. I was on the phone with my mom one day and she asked where I was. I said the kitchen and she responded, "Have I taught you nothing? Get out of there!" Welp, here I am again: view from the kitchen.

Not wanting to overstay my welcome, let's move on to the tv/family room. Those darn shelves you see there took forever to find a home, but I'd say it's the perfect place for them!

Giving you a sense of the space. Thank goodness Mark was on hand during the move-in. None of my artwork would be on the walls if it weren't for him. He's good.

Enter: the bedroom. And in one corner - the infamous yellow bookshelf. Painted by yours truly and truly loved by yours truly.

And in the other corner - the yellow nightstand. Seems I like yellow things in my room? I do enjoy the huge window which serves well as an extra shelf.

And last, but certainly not the least - the best furniture purchase ever made. That navy dresser has served many a purpose (it's first starring role was as a headboard in Philly) and I'm so excited to have it for the rest of my life.

And that's a wrap! And a lot of pictures!

straight up talent.

One of my favorite versions of one of the hardest Christmas carols around:

These guys are legit and I'm really bummed to have missed their performance in Chicago two weeks ago.

room with a view.

There's something in the air around the holidays. Maybe it's people feeling more generous than usual (sad, but true). Maybe it's the festive lights at night. Maybe it's the fresh smell of cold air. Maybe it's the snow.

Whatever it is: I love it.

What else I love? The lucky view I have from my new digs.

I enjoy the Sears Tower and Merchandise Mart's red and green decor.

This holiday season, I want you to look around and really & truly grasp the fortunate means in which you get to live. I challenge you to try to go the rest of the year without complaining and say "thank you" to someone unsuspecting. Help a stranger out when they have too many grocery bags on their arms (read: that's usually me) and spontaneously smile. And maybe, just maybe realize that spending these next couple of days with your family - or friends whom have turned into family - is one of those things we should be most grateful. Also, don't judge me for listening to Hanson's "Merry Christmas, Baby" right now. (1997 what?)

Sit back and enjoy these holidaze which go by in a blink.

Friday, December 17, 2010

"dad said u were very stressed this morning. i feel bad 4 u"

When my dad got an iPhone a couple years ago, brother Mark had to review "unnecessary texting," a phrase we have embraced in our family. In this lesson, he attempted to show Dad how many of the texts he (Dad) sent which were, in fact, unnecessary. My dad is slowly catching on and Mark's patience is slowly increasing. Little victories!

This brings me to my new favorite website, When Parents Text.

It gives you hope when you realize your parents are not the only ones to send loony texts. In fact, there's even loonier parents out there.

Here's one of my favorite examples - due to its timeliness, the attempted reference to Ryan Reynolds' break-up (maybe I'm too obsessed with this? I just want him to be happy) and the double-take I had to do because it looks like something my dad would write given his history of mixing up celebrity names:

My favorite characteristic of my mom's texts is she hates using punctuation and instead of commas or periods, she'll use spaces. Lots of spaces.

boxes         check        here we go

As for my dad, our text conversations typically look like this:

me: It's flurrying!!!
Dad: A few flakes of fluffy stuff was famously forecasted

God bless us children...every one.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

happy new year to me!

I knew there was a reason I was going to Canada for New Years:

Ryan Reynolds is single again.

Image credit

What better way to ring in the new year? Give him to me please.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

ahead of the times holiday gift ideas

It's almost mid-December. You're almost hitting that mid-breaking point of AHHH WHAT TO GIFT FOR THE HOLIDAYS?

End the meltdown now with these two brilliant ideas (both courtesy of Vermont Teddy Bears)

Brilliant idea #1: 
Pajama Jeans!

"Looks like denim...but feels like PJs!"  and I can attest this is truth. My Uncle Bob sent me a pair about a month ago and I've been fooling people left and right since. Strangers most likely assume I'm wearing jeans while grocery shopping - ha! Fooled you! These things are like wearing a great secret. They are flattering, comfy and don't require any zipping or buttoning. I admit, when Bob was first telling me about this new invention, I was skeptical. How can jeans be made to fit and feel like PJs? Well, I'm skeptical no more.

It's true - those are the pajama jeans! I'm styling and so comfy. This is right up my alley of fashion. Every girl should own a pair. Heck, every guy should too. Word on the street is male pajama jeans are coming to a drawer near you sometime in the near future.

Brilliant Idea #2: 
The Hoodie-Footie

It's that time of year - when snuggied up on your sofa watching the snow fall is much more enticing than bundling up just to go grab some milk. And let's be honest: the snuggie is so last year (don't worry, I still use the two that I own).  I introduce to you the adult-sized onesie. It's everything you'd think and hope it to be, only more! It's one of the warmest things I've ever worn in my life and so stinkin' soft! Because of the covered feet, you truly do get hot so fast. Luckily, the hoodie-footie is innovative and you simply unzip the feet to give your little piggies some air.

If you're laughing at how ridiculous you think I look, then I'm laughing at how cold you probably are whilst I'm snuggled up so softly.  I'm a normal sized person (or so I like to believe). Check out former NFL great Boomer Esiason trying on the male version then we'll talk.

You're welcome for sharing these gifts and it's okay if you want to go ahead give them to yourself. You owe it to you to be comfy cozy.

Friday, December 10, 2010

this one's for santo.

Chicago Cubs' games broadcasted on WGN Radio will never be the same. We lost the voice of the Cubs when we lost Ron Santo.

Ron Santo lived a vivacious life and addressed the Cubs' ups and down in a classy, humorous manner. He was honest and it took you just a second to realize his life and soul was the Cubs.

Image credit

In the summer of 2005, I had the pleasure of seeing him in person during an internship stint with Comcast SportsNet. It was a brief moment of passing in the press cafeteria at the Friendly Confines. For once, I was starstruck. I wasn't able to meet him, but I felt his presence as I was clutching my overpriced turkey sandwich and Diet Coke.

His colorful commentary of our beloved Cubbies will never be forgotten. And as Ricky says, "Maybe he can persuade God into throwing the Cubs a bone."

I'd like to think Santo's Christmas Wish List looks a little something like this:

1. Stay consistent.
2. Win the division.
3. Win the pennant.
4. Win the freaking World Series already.

Here's hoping because as always, there's always next year. Only this time, we've got #10 cheering from way up above.

Image credit

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

totally whipped.

Adios, Four Loko....Hola, CREAM?

Since the demolition of Four Loko (which I really just learned about maybe three weeks ago), I know you've been searching for the right alternative.

Search no more.

Enter: alcohol-infused whipped cream.
Yes, you read that correctly. 

Learn more here.

I just did a little sampling of the US-version called CREAM and holy moly, it went above and beyond my expectations. Added a little caramel to my coffee and it got me: I'm whipped.

Add it to coffee, hot chocolate, jello or heck - go crazy and take it straight from the bottle.

Beware: it is 15% alcohol (read 30 proof) so consume wisely.

Christmas is already merry, but you have the ability to make it just a little merrier.

right as rain.

Mark isn't usually wrong. Even when he is, he speaks with such authority that sometimes you change your opinion because if he's talking like that, how can he not be right?

Today, history happened.

I called him out for spelling Chick-fil-a wrong on his Facebook profile (thanks, social media!) and he tried to call me out for being wrong, saying "no, it's Chik-fil-a"

Then this happened:

That's right. "Six words you'll never hear me say again: I was wrong. you were right."

I may not have heard the words in the first place since everything happened in writing.

But now I have this proof FOREVER.

let your heart be light.

I acknowledged Hannukah in the last post so it's only fair to acknowledge Christmas.

Until this year, I hadn't really played close enough attention to the words of Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas and until this year, I've never been more grateful for a Christmas carol.

So go on and have yourself a merry little Christmas
and let your heart be light.

Friday, December 3, 2010


What better way to celebrate Hanukkah than with a well-written parody? It seems the Maccabeats have jumped on the Taio Cruz bandwagon (I've been aboard since he told us how he felt with "Break Your Heart"). I'm happy to report the Maccabeats have joined the ride.

This acapella group from New York, New York embraces Hanukkah in the best possible manner:
I flip my latkes in the air sometimes
Singing ay-oh, spin the dreidel
Just want to celebrate for all eight nights
Singing ay-oh light the candles

This version is more dynamite than the original and I'd be happy if it went on and on and on.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

spin it to win it.

Winter mornings make it so easy to stay snuggled in flannel sheets and enjoy the warmth of your bed for...just...a...bit...longer.

Last night, I had stayed up a bit later than usual, cleaning up after having some friends over for chili and Love Actually. (That's the kind of clean-up I don't mind doing. It makes me appreciate having people over to clean up after! What better way to start off December, eh? ) Before calling it a day, I set my alarm to make sure I would wake up for a 6:30a spinning class.

At 6:01am this morning, my alarm went off and the mental battle began. My initial thought was: "Ugh - I didn't get much sleep - it'd probably be better for my body to get another hour of rest" (I spy: Kerri making excuses for herself!).

I stretched out, grabbed my phone and reset my alarm for 7:12am. As my head went to go hit the pillow, I had an epiphany.

The choice to workout was in my hands. I could chose to go back to sleep in my warm cove of flannel or not think twice and just get up and get moving. It was like my brain switched on and the latter became my only option.

I'm happy I got my butt out of my bed and into the spinning class. This was my first REAL attempt at a spin class and I have to say: I'm not sure how I feel about it. I definitely got my heart rate up and got a sweat in. Not to mention getting to the gym when it's still dark out, but leaving as the sun is slowing adjusting in the sky definitely has its perks. But the class itself just didn't give me the same satisfaction as a good, hard run.

I kind of felt like this guy, minus the slight Canadian accent:

Things I did like:
• when the music matches the speed you're cycling
• you cycle in a semi-dark room!
• even though you're surrounded by others doing the exact same thing, it doesn't have that sense of "she can kick so much higher than me" than say a cardio kickboxing class has because you can't really see how others are doing
• there's a definite finish line: end of class

Things I don't like:
• holy moly SORE BOOTY
• less satisfaction than a run
• not being able to choose my own music (biking to Coldplay's "Clocks"? I'd rather not)
• my amateur move of forgetting to bring a water bottle

Needless to say, I'm definitely going to try it again. It'll be a nice change of pace for working out and not much beats actually getting up and going!

Photo credit