Chicago Sports Champions

Chicago Sports Champions

I live in Illinois.  Chicago, IL.  Home of the champs.  Home of Michael Jordan.  Home of Jonathon Toews.  Home of Frank Thomas.

I have been lucky enough to witness and cheer on the Chicago Bulls, Chicago Blackhawks, and the Chicago White Sox.  Sorry Cubs fans, better luck next time.

Chicago is a passionate sports town.  If you ever want to witness this just go to a Sox/Cubs game.

I remember when I was younger we would go to my grandparent’s house to watch the Bulls playoff games.  Year after year, championship after championship, we watched and celebrated.  You had Michael Jordan playing with the flu.  John Paxson’s game winning 3-pointer.  Scottie Pippen.  Tony Kukoc.  B.J. Armstrong.  Phil Jackson.  I remember driving home after each championship to people honking, hanging out of their cars cheering.

Next came the Chicago White Sox winning the World Series in 2005.

My long-time favorite Ozzie Guillen was the coach.  My favorite players were all on board:  Joe Crede, AJ Pierzynski, Mark Buehrle, Aaron Rowand, Frank Thomas, Bobby Jenks, Freddy Garcia, Jon Garland, Paul Konerko.

white sox ringI was at Game 2.  GAME 2!!!  My uncle called me early in the morning saying he had 1 ticket and did I want it.  As a good daughter I offered the ticket to my dad first.  He said he couldn’t handle being there, he would go crazy.  I definitely didn’t ask twice.  I went with a family I didn’t know but who knew my uncle.  It was an experience I will never forget and one that I can’t wait to tell my kids about.

It was freezing.  It was pouring.  I was shivering from the second we arrived to the 9th.  I mean, chilled to the bone, wet and cold.  I was sitting in the bleachers.  I remember having to remind myself to breathe every few minutes and refusing to leave my seat to eat, drink or go to the bathroom.  The White Sox had their big “Blackout” marketing push where they encouraged all the fans to wear black.  Then they passed out white towels.  It looked awesome.  Every pitch, every hit, every out was nail biting.  And just when we all thought we wouldn’t win, Scott Podsenik hit a walk-off home run in the 9th and the crowd went W-I-L-D wild!  It was the most insane thing I’d ever witnessed. Everyone on their seats jumping up and down, strangers hugging, men crying, people holding up their phones so loved ones could hear the roar that lasted 10 minutes.  It was magical.

Finally, the Chicago Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup twice in 3 years.  The first time was a blast but for me, the second time around was exhilarating because this time around I had been closely following the Hawks.  I love the guys on this team.  They are genuinely good guys who have hearts of gold and play with such passion.  Jonathon Toews.  Patrick Kane.  Patrick Sharp.  Duncan Keith.  Corey Crawford. Andrew Shaw.  Marion Hossa.  Coach Q.

I watched the regular season pretty regularly since it was a shortened one due to the strike.  The guys were on a winning streak like no

Stanley Cup
Blackhawks Stanley Cup Champions 2013

other.  The playoffs were intense.  Each team brought a set of new challenges.  It was nail biting, edge of your seat, screaming at the tv, hockey.  There were so many injuries I quickly lost track of who was hurt.  I was drawing diagrams to understand rules I thought I knew years before.  Each round they won, the tension grew, the games got more hard hitting.  You had Shaw punching everyone, getting knocked out every other period.  Kaner with the hat trick.  Frolik with the penalty shot.  Crawford with saves that would make your head spin and limbs hurt just watching.  The goal/no goal/Saad penalty debate that you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing about.  Toews taking a beating from Chara.  Man was it exciting.

The one thing I love most about the championships is the camaraderie among strangers.  It’s a coming together of people who have at least one thing in common and that is their love of their team.  Sweet home Chicago.

Make Your Wedding Your Own

Make Your Wedding Your Own

Here are just some of the ways I was able to make my wedding unique to myself and my husband-to-be:

Table names

Wedding table name

The easiest way to add a personal touch to your wedding that everyone will see.  After running through several ideas, I decided to name the tables after places that were special to us.  Then on the tables I described why each place held meaning.

Cake

custom wedding cake

I designed my own cake.  I basically looked for images of cakes that I liked and combined them all.  I created a very rough sketch to the bakery and viola!

Wedding Invitations

Invitations are often boring or if you want ones that are unique, you will typically pay a fortune for them.  Go with what you love.  Our theme of love birds came about when I found the image of a bird in a tree when on VistaPrint.  I edited the image by adding another bird and it just grew from there.  Now, VistaPrint is not for a novice when it comes to custom invites.  It took me a LONG time to design the invitations and had to order a sample of everything to make sure it printed well.  Below: the bottom half of our invitations.

wedding invitation

Flowers!

If you are a girly girl like me and love flowers, you will have a field day when it comes to your wedding.  I found flowers I loved and worked with my florist to create the perfect bouquets and centerpieces.  A good florist will get you a small sampling of the flowers you want/like and will go through designs with you.  I was thrilled with how they turned out the day of the wedding.

flowers

Cufflinks

It isn’t always easy to get your husband-to-be involved with the fun, but mine got his own personal touch with wearing these White Sox cufflinks with his tuxedo.
Sox cufflinks

Rehearsal Dinner

Something that was fast, easy and FREE (very rare) was a custom crossword puzzle.  I found several sites online that allow you to create clues and answers and then you hit a button and it creates a crossword puzzle for you on the spot.  I was able to save it as a PDF and printed it on pretty paper.  This was a huge hit at the rehearsal dinner and had our guests guessing at answers and wagering on who knew us best.

Even though you may not be a DIY bride like I was, a little creativity goes a long way and will make your wedding stand out.

There Are 2 Speeds on I-294: 75 mph & Slam on the Brakes

There Are 2 Speeds on I-294: 75 mph & Slam on the Brakes

Drivers are out of control.

When did it become okay for car after car to, instead of waiting in the line like the rest of us, cut off the line, cut off a car and swoop in at the last second to exit an expressway.  The perfect example is the ramp to get off at 95th Street on I-294.  You get a 5-mile sign notification that it is coming up.  The last mile is an exit only lane.  So there’s no excuse.  Unbelievably dangerous, especially when semis are flying down the lane at 50 mph that they are stopping in.  I see the same thing daily with the on-ramps too.  Car after car cutting over at the last second because they can’t wait 5 minutes like the rest of us with some common courtesy.

Why can't people wait their turn?
Why can’t people wait their turn?

Almost getting in a 6 car pile up was the final straw to any driver’s sanity I had left stored up.  There were a line of cars at a dead stop and I could not see around the car in front of me.  Luckily I follow the 2 second rule and there was enough space between me and the car in front of me.  He decided he couldn’t be bothered with even slowing down, much less stopping and flew into the next lane causing me to slam on my brakes.  The car behind me swerved into the shoulder.  The car behind him swerved into the lane to the right.  The car in that lane slammed on the brakes.  And so on.  To say hearing all that brake screeching was terrifying is a gross understatement.

Every single day I see at least 1 car have to swerve onto the shoulder to prevent hitting the car in front of them.  Every day.

Let’s not forget the people who will be on the tail of the car in front of them while going 80 mph.  Super smart.  I did crack up the other day when I saw a bumper sticker that said “If you’re going to ride my ass, at least pull my hair.”  Hahahaha.

People are in way too much of a hurry all the time and are entirely too distracted.  That is a deadly combination.

My biggest rant of this post is for all the women I have seen putting on eye makeup WHILE driving.  I’m not talking at a light, I’m talking WHILE driving.  WTF is wrong with you people?!  How is it that you think it’s possible to see where you are going and apply eye shadow at the same time?  And really, no one will give a rats ass about how your eyes looked when you end up killing someone.

I really need a chauffeur.

“Conscious” Eater

“Conscious” Eater

I have a new category of eater: the conscious eater.  I’m not a vegetarian, nor a vegan or any of those other categories.  However, I am a conscious eater.  Simply stated, I try to be conscious of what I’m eating.

I eat free range eggs.  I eat minimal meat.  I never eat disgusting things like foie gras and won’t even eat somewhere it is served because I am that against it.  I find shark fin soup to be appalling in every way and wish it was outlawed.  I’m pretty sure I could never travel to Asia where they serve up all kinds of animals at restaurants.  I’d be in tears or harming the manager.

I have basil, tomatoes, and peppers in my tiny balcony garden.  When I have a house down the road, I hope to have a huge garden full of veggies.

I try to shop at/support local farm stands over the local grocery store.  I frequent Chipotle because their animals are free range.  I just feel better eating meat knowing they at least had a somewhat decent quality of life before being turned into food.  I buy many things from Trader Joe’s that support conscious eating.

So my hope is that this will catch on and there can be an in-between between carnivores and vegetarians.

Breaking Bad – My predictions – Mega spoiler alerts!

Breaking Bad – My predictions – Mega spoiler alerts!

Breaking Bad is by far my favorite show.  I cannot get enough of it.  It is so intense and so well written.  I never thought in a million years I would get into a show like this.  Having said that, I am dying to see what happens come August.  It is the final season and only has 6 or 8 episodes to wrap everything up.  Again, this contains spoiler alerts!  You’ve been warned.

Here’s how I see it maybe playing out:  Hank has discovered Walt is Heisenberg at the end of last season.  

  1. Hank goes after Walt without letting anyone know.  He discovers Skylar has known all along what Walt was up to.  Walt discovers that Hank is onto him and ends up threatening Marie.  Skylar kills Walt.  The end.
  2. Hank doesn’t believe it can be true.  He digs into it further and thinks that Skylar is behind everything and Walt is covering for her.  
  3. Walt finds out Hank knows.  He hires someone to kill Hank.  Marie gets killed in the process and possibly Skylar if she is with Marie.  Hank escapes (or isn’t even there) and upon discovering Marie dead, he goes ape shit.  He tries to kill Walt but Walt kills him first.
  4. Jessie dies.  Not sure how but my gut tells me he is going down because most people adore him and it will hold the most impact.
  5. Hank goes to Skylar and reveals what he has found out.  Hank realizes that Skylar has known all along.  He tries to take down both of them and Marie is in denial about the whole thing.  No clue how this would play out.
  6. Walt somehow finds out that everyone knows he is Heisenberg and after gradually taking out everyone including Skylar, his son finds out what Walt has done and kills him.  Walt Jr. is the hero.

It is going to be craziness and lots of people are going to die.  I can’t wait to see how it plays out.