This is why I’m not good at surprises

Calling all of my massage therapists in a tizzy on Sunday morning, I had hoped to scheduled a same-day appointment. To my dismay, none were available. So I did the next best thing. I scheduled an appointment for Monday morning.

Brian overheard my call, and yelled up to me, “Wait. What time did you schedule it for?”

“9am. You’ll be sleeping.”

“Well, there’s the brunch thing for my aunt.”

I vaguely remember him mentioning this and not having any other details. “What time?”

“11.”

“Where?”

“I don’t know. Somewhere out by them.”

His uncertainty irritated me, and I immediately wished he was better about remembering details. I mentally calculated the time it would take to get approximately to his cousins’ and assumed I was fine with my appointment.

Over the course of Sunday, I asked Brian for details on the brunch at least 5 times. And each time, he brushed it off with ‘yeahs’ and ‘probablys’ and ‘oh I have to text my cousins’.

I suggested he set an alarm as I wouldn’t be there to make sure he was up and told him that I’d get home and we’d leave straight away.

On Monday morning, I asked Brian again, “Where are we going?”

And he still didn’t have an answer. Half-asleep, he told me, I’ll find out. Just go. So I didn’t have a lot of stock in this brunch thing, and I put on my favorite pair of tie-dye yoga pants and left the house.

After my massage, I assumed I’d have a few minutes to stop in the store next to Massage Envy for a quick peek. I figured it would take about a half hour to get to brunch, and I definitely thought Brian would still be slowly waking up.
As I got into the car, Brian texted me, “How’s it going?”

I told him I was on my way, and then, thinking about my outfit choice, decided to call him. “Where are we going, babe?”

His own mental calculations had done their due diligence and he realized I was probably hungry…and looking forward to brunch, as it’s one of my favorite meals.

“We’re going to Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum to see a man about a sloth.”

Wait, what?

“For brunch?”

“No, there’s no brunch.”

“Will there be food?”

Well, guys, I’ve learned something about myself, and it’s that food is always a priority. Then panic. Then excitement.

My peddle to the metal, I jetted home while talking Brian through some sort of rapid food prep.”Toast the bagel on the counter! Quick! Okay fine, I’ll just eat my leftover sammy from Panera.Gah! I’m not dressed for a sloth!”

My heart was racing a mile a minute, and I thought I might have a full-blown meltdown as I ran into the house, climbed the stairs and hunted for my slothwear. It’s  kind of amazing and crazy how excitement, anxiety, and fear all kind of have the same feelings inside you. I didn’t know whether to run, scream, or cry. I thanked God I had recently cleaned, and I knew the sloth shirt was hanging and my sloth socks were paired in my sock drawer. I painted on a little lipstick and eyeliner, brushed and dry-shampooed my hair, and ran back downstairs. I was panicked and excited and nervous and thrilled and couldn’t even believe I WAS GOING TO MEET A SLOTH!!

Brian noted my anxiety (and extreme lateness, because I’m a gigantic dickhead) and felt terrible. “I should have known better than to try to surprise you. I realized too late you were probably planning your food schedule around brunch. And you get a lot of joy around anticipation. You would have been flying high all weekend on this.”

I probably would have, but you guys…Brian was taking his day off work to DRIVE into the city and take me to see the sloth, even though we all know he would have much preferred to be at home sleeping and vegging out.

While we drove, I googled the sloth, and found out that it was a show with several animals, and that I would be able to pet Steve. I also found out that for about $275, Steve could come to my birthday party for an hour…

Brian’s cousin texted and said the sloth was last, so unless we were an hour late, we wouldn’t miss him.

We missed the flying fox, hedgehog, and fruit bat, but we got to meet a chinchilla, armadillo, kinkajou, and bat-eared fox before the main event.


There he was. In all his Steve glory. I loved him as soon as I saw him. He clung to the chair and languidly moved, enjoying the tasty sweet potatoes from his trainer. As he appeared a mere 15 feet un front of me, looking so adorable, tears started splashing down my cheek. It was really real. He was there. And I would get to pet him.

I got in line between several toddlers who had no idea how lucky they were.

Quirky Chrissy petting the adorable Steve the Sloth.

My red face? That’s because of the crying.



The woman in charge said we (all the toddlers and I) could give Steve two pets. But I gave him three, and I made them last. Slow and gentle, just like Steve. You can see where my eyes say, “I’m going for the third pet” in the video Brian was kind enough to capture for me.


We stayed until Steve left, watching him, soaking in all the amazingness of Steve and his slothy goodness. Afterward, Brian and I walked around Lincoln Park Zoo and saw ANOTHER sloth! And it was pretty much the best day ever.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Adventures in Babybel Eating

Just like my hero, Chris, in Adventures in Babysitting,  I live in the suburbs of Chicago, and occasionally, I have little hometown adventures. Whenever Brian and I get lost, or take the long way around, we call it an adventure.

I have yet to meet Thor or get stabbed on the El, but not for a lack of trying. I have, on the other hand, been beaten up by a no-parking sign, tripped by an invisible wire, and almost killed by falling ice daggers.

My life here in Chicago is full of adventure. And you know I’m like a gremlin and have all these rules of care…like how I need to be fed at regular intervals.

My daily adventure starts with a commuter train ride.

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A snack pack can be a lifesaver this early in the morning.

I venture from suburbia into the city every day for the job. When you’re hundgry, it’s a long 45-mimite ride. But little snack packs like my favorite on-the-go cheese, Babybel, make the trip tolerable.

Sometimes, if I have time, I’ll even slice it and melt it on some bread in the toaster oven before I head out of the house.

On occasion, after work, Brian and I (or just I) will journey on an adventure after work. We might go out for dinner, do some touristy nonsense, or we may head to a movie.

As we roam through the city, we’ll take a cab or the El (cabs are faster and easier most of the time). I’m a big fan of cab selfies, and they’re even better when I have a snack.

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Once we get to our theater destination,  I’m ready to put out my buffet of treats to enjoy delicious snacking. This is why large bags are important. So you can bring enough snack packs to share with your people before you kick your feet up.

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The best movie theater snack packs include a beverage,  something sweet,  savory, and crunchy.

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When I went to see Captain America, I brought bottled water, a candy bar from Dylan’s, a selection of Babybel, and pretzel thins to give me a little crunch. And I was happy.

As I made my way home, I napped on the train, dreaming of more cheese.

What are your favorite movie theater snacks? Do you bring your own snack packs into the theater?

Babybel sent me free samples and some things to make my adventures more fun, but as always, these opinions and thoughts are mine, and mine alone. I eat a lot of Babybel, because I’m always running around town.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Ten Rules to Enjoy Six Flags (or Any Theme Park, Really) and Not Leave Angry

With fall quickly approaching, I’ve found myself dreaming of a trip up to Six Flags for Fright Fest. Okay, I’m actually dreaming of a weekend getaway to Walt Disney World, but Brian did that 3 years ago, and he isn’t quite ready to go back yet…we’re working on that.

I don’t know if I can rock the coasters right now because of my back problem, so I’m not sure if we’ll head up there this season or not, but a girl can dream. I love wandering around a theme park when the weather is cool, and you can wear yoga pants and a hoodie at night while you ride your favorite coasters. You don’t have to make up excuses not to go on the water rides, and no one is sweating their balls off.

When I do make my way to Six Flags, I always try to follow these very important rules to make the most of my experience. It’s a way to sort of roll with the punches that the underpaid cast members are throwing.10 Rules to Making the Most of a Theme Park Visit1. Buy your tickets in advance. Find the cheapest coupon code you can. Seriously. That shit is expensive, and they usually have cheap codes hidden among the interwebs. Or on cans of pop. Plus tickets are usually less costly online. At Six Flags, we’ve paid as little as $37 each for 3 people with tax, surcharges, and parking.

  1. Don’t look at the food or the prices from the vendors. You know the food is crap, and the prices are likely to be exorbitant. There is an exception to this, and that’s at Disney World, with their fancy restaurants and amazing food options. Pack a lunch, head to a local restaurant, stop at your fave fast food chain…

  2. Find out about money-saving promotional stuff. If you fail to follow rule number 2, use your Discover card (or whatever card they’re partnered with) and save 5% every time. That shit can add up.

  3. Tap water is free. Utilize that, people. Brita filtered water bottle are a bomb way to make that happen.

  4. Know the best rides. If you make it a point to get on your favorite rides first, you’ll be able to cheer yourself up and ride them again later after you’ve made some bad choices by standing in line for a crappy ride that breaks down all the time. Raging Bull is still the best roller coaster at Six Flags Great America. Ride it first. The Whizzer is a classic, and so fun at night.

  5. Understand the schedule. Don’t plan to get there at exactly opening or you’ll sit in long-ass lines to get into the parking lot. Instead, aim for 30 minutes before the park opens or a couple hours afterward. Leave 30-45 minutes before the stated closing time. You’ll be at the bar with a cocktail in your hand while the rest of those bozos are still sitting in the parking lot. If you’re rocking out at Fright Fest…Monsters don’t come out until 4 or 5. Plan accordingly.

  6. Don’t overdo the Dramamine. If you get motion sick or vertigo after you’ve already taken the maximum dosage of the super powerful non-drowsy meclizine…sit the next coaster out. Trust me on this one. I took 3 pills in 12 hours (max recommended is 2 in 24 hours), and I was out of it for 3 days. Loopy, dizzy, and sleepy. I felt like I was drunk. For three days. And not the good kind of drunk.

  7. Make sure you know your way around. Don’t bother asking anyone who works at the park where stuff is. They have no clue. Use the map.

  8. Try to avoid asking for help in any matters. You know what, you may as well just not ask the Six Flags team for any assistance.* We once waited for 45 minutes for lockers that didn’t lock, and still no one came to help us.

Brian and Chrissy at Six Flags Great America Fright Fest

  1. Make it yours. Go with people you like, so that your two star experience feels like a five star experience, because friends.

*I don’t actually think everyone who works at a theme park is crappy at their jobs. I just had a few bad experiences that made me whiny
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Which theme parks have you been to? What tips would you have for maximizing your trip to Six Flags or another park? 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

How to be a Responsible Irresponsible Adult on a Daily Train Commute

This morning,  as the conductor was collecting tickets on the train,  he stood impatiently beside our seat.

“Ticket!” I could almost hear him stomp his feet.

I cried out, “Oh!” because I was busy reading the Monday morning Facebook report.  I reached to dig through my sweet hot pink mini backpack and grab my ticket as Brian reached into his pocket. The conductor looked directly at me, his face and tone warmer, “No, you’re  fine.” And he waited for Brian to display  evidence that he belongs on this train.

Brian scoffed at me as I giggled. Actually, I’m pretty sure he also shook his head in utter disgust. He hates that this happens. Because it also means when I’m  careless and forget my Metra pass, or I forget to switch to the next month’s ticket…the conductors don’t make me buy a ticket.

How to be a responsible irresponsible adult on a daily train commuteHe says this is propagating my bad behavior. I call it  relationship building. On our old train line, I made friends in the morning. I had a group of train buddies who all hung out in the same vestibule of the front car. We all laughed and joked with the conductor, and he never even looked at our passes, save a couple times a month or so to ensure we had monthly passes.

When we lived in the apartment, we were on a different train line than we are now. Usually, Brian wasn’t on the morning train with me. He would drop me off so I could get on an earlier train, park the car, and take the next train into the city. Basically, Brian’s  a fucking saint. We still use that system sometimes for our new train line if we’re running late, but he often gets on the same morning train as me.

On the old line, we took the same train home every night as well, and our conductor was amazing.  We were even on a first name basis with him, and he would stop and chat with us for 10-15 minutes every day. When we went to Florida, I even bought him back some cool rocks I found on the beach because he collected them.

Here, we’re still the newbies.

But I sit in the same seat every day. And I smile at the conductor.  I say “good morning.” Apparently,  that can go a long way.

So when I forget to bring my new monthly pass, or I switch purses, I don’t have to come up with $9.75. Or spend 20 minutes trying to prove I already pay $150/month to get to work. Because they know me.

And that makes me smile.

Even if it pisses Brian off when I’m  irresponsible and forgetful.

Do you have a daily routine in which you interact with the same people? Is there someone who knows your morning  coffee order? What’s your daily commute like?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Please. Don’t Walk and Smoke at the Same Time

I grew up in the house of smoke. The fact that I came out of it without smoking is actually kind of bizarre. When I lived at home, I didn’t even realize how everything I owned smelled like smoke. It wasn’t until I went to college that I ever understood the stale smell of lingering cigarette smoke. My mom figured it out eventually too, and started making all the smokers smoke outside. Which totally makes sense.

I don’t have a vendetta against smokers. I was against the smoking ban in bars. I smoked my fair share of angry, drunk cigarettes after that ban was implemented (it’s hard when all your friends go out to smoke and you’re stuck inside watching purses. Fuck that). My best friend Lily loves to tell my chain-smoking story of that one time I had a lit cigarette in each hand and two unlit cigarettes behind my ears. To be fair, I was drunk, pissed, and Bill Clintoning that shit (I didn’t like the burning from inhaling).

Now, I walk almost a mile to and from work each day. I pass by more than 642 people every day (I tried to count once, but lost track after a couple blocks and several hundred people).
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Every east-west street near the train stations in The Loop looks like this during rush hour. A sea of people – hundreds people – just racing to their offices. Of those hundred of people, there are usually a few unobservant smokers blowing smoke backwards, not even considering what jerky behavior they’re exhibiting.
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Listen. I get it. You want your smoky treat before work. After work. At lunch. When you’re a tourist on vacation. I don’t blame you. As a general rule, work sucks and vacation can be stressful. But when you walk and smoke at the same time in that giant crowd of people…you’re blowing smoke in the faces of every person in a ten-foot ring behind you. I know you don’t want to be a jerk…and I’ve got some pointers to offer you so that you aren’t being a complete douchebag.
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  • Pull over. Step to the side of the sidewalk and enjoy your cigarette. Preferably on the street side of the sidewalk so you’re not blowing smoke in everyone’s faces. You may miss the earlier train, but you won’t be considered an asshole by everyone who catches your smoke in their lungs. And honestly, won’t you enjoy your cigarette just a little more without rushing from point A to point B? Help me help you.
  • When someone LITERALLY runs in front of you, don’t continually try to pass her so your smoke keeps blowing in her face. She ran to get away from you.

(Yeah, I do this. And it happened. Also, the third time the guy sped up to pass me, I looked at him and yelled, “DUDE. SERIOUSLY.” This was me exhibiting douchebag behavior. That guy didn’t know what he was doing to piss me off. I felt a little bad. And he probably thought I was crazy. But seriously don’t smoke and walk.)

That’s it. Two simple steps to making the world a better place. Your efforts are appreciated.

What pet peeves do you have on your daily commute? What are your thoughts on walking smokers?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

The Perils of Working in the Original Skyscraper Jungle

I work in the city. THE city. As in Chicago. Home of the original skyscraper. Did you know that? After the Chicago Fire, they commissioned an architect to do whatever he wanted…and he wanted to change the world, apparently. Thus skyscrapers were born.

So I work downtown, inside The Loop, Chicago. Each day I walk a mile from the train, rain or shine, sweltering or bitterly freezing. And then I work. And then I walk another mile from work to the train. I used to occasionally take a cab (VERY occasionally), but mostly I’d brave the elements because a one-way $8-10 cab ride just doesn’t do it for me. I’ve recently discovered that I’m not as afraid of the bus, but for an extra $2.25 per trip, it’s only worth it when it’s REALLY fucking cold out. Like negative temperatures cold. Like WAY negative temperatures cold. Because that $2.25 would quickly become $22.50 PER WEEK. And that’s a lot on my already-expensive commute.

So I brave the dangers of walking in the city. When it’s freezing out, and especially when the freezing starts to warm up just a smidge, signs start popping up all over The Loop. On my walk to and from the train, I pass no less than 8 caution signs each way. Caution signs that warn passersby of potential falling ice. FROM THE FUCKING SKYSCRAPERS.

Caution Falling Ice

  1. How the fuck am I supposed to see the falling ice ball from the sky by looking at a sign 2 feet off the ground?

  2. How the fuck would I even protect myself if a giant, painful ball of ice were to come tumbling down on my head?

  3. What is the fucking purpose of the signs? Do they think they’re preventing legal repercussions of a chunk of ice decapitating some unlucky soul?

Because if a giant fuckball of ice falls on my head and doesn’t actually kill me, I’m going to sue something. Or someone. Okay, probably not. But I would most certainly be pissed. And in a lot of pain.

Then…THEN…I get safely inside the confines of my building? Only to discover that because of the wet, melting ice on my feet, I could fall to my death inside the fucking skyscraper. Because those floors are fucking SLICK. I should know…I slip on them on a regular basis.

Caution Wet FloorThese days, I’m not opposed to a nice, cozy suburban job…with a 5-15 minute drive. We’ll see.

Blog Friends, what dangers await you on your morning commute? Or do you have a dangerous job? Or do you avoid danger like the plague?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Get Where You’re Getting With Curb

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Curb. I received a promotional code to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.

I love it when an app makes my life easier. I love it even more when it involves me not having to walk a mile in my shoes or anyone else’s.

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In case you were unaware, I live in suburbia and work in downtown Chicago. The Loop. Smack dab in the middle of everything awesome. And about a mile away from the train that brings me in and out of this beautiful city.

Curb, formerly known as Taxi Magic, is a super useful app that helps you get a cab when you need it. I’ve been using Curb, and their network of more than 4,000 taxis in Chicago, for several weeks and I’m never looking back. The drivers are licensed, commercially insured and have all completed thorough background checks. That’s a program I can stand behind.

In the past, I would hope and pray a taxi would show up where I needed it, when I needed it, and more often than not, cabs driving by were already full with people (the perks of working two blocks away from one of the biggest Chicago tourist traps – Millennium Park). When I’m in a hurry, I want to know that a cab is going to be there when I need it. Especially if I’m trying to make a train. Cue Curb, where I can order a cab to pick me up now or plan for later! The process is simple and made my life so. much. easier.

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Recent occurrences when Curb has been a lifesaver or just plain convenient:

  • When my train was 30 minutes late getting into the city. I was only 15 minutes late for work.
  • When I left work just a few minutes late. (I have my walk time scheduled to a TEE. Any later, and I’m usually out of luck.)
  • When I met Brian for drinks in River North after work.
  • When Brian and I left the aforementioned bar and went to an event hosted by my website host. I love them.

I have yet to plan my next Curb adventure in advance, but I’m more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kinda girl. As if you didn’t already know. You can get started with Curb, and as an added bonus for you, my lovely readers, you can get $15 dollars off your first ride! Just use the code: CurbMom14 To use this code, download the Curb app on your Android or iOS phone. Then, follow these instructions:

  • Open the Curb app
  • Tap the gear symbol in the top right corner
  • Tap “Promos and Credits” on the dropdown menu
  • Enter your code and tap the “enter” key on your keyboard
  • After entering the code, $15 will appear on your “Promos and Credits” screen.
  • Full details on using the Curb coupon code can be found here:http://bit.ly/1CnLGVc 

Do you take cabs anywhere? When? How do you call for cabs? Have you used Curb or as its previous name, TaxiMagic? Will you? Tell me all your secrets.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

If I’m Not Running Into Poles, I Trip Over Invisible Wires

The thing about working in the city and doing the whole commuter thing, is that when we want to go out after work, we become slaves to the train schedule. On the 40s of every hour, a train leaves the station. Miss it, and you’re stuck twiddling your thumbs for 59 minutes.

One night, shortly after walking headfirst into a no-parking sign, Brian and I stayed late to have dinner with his brother. In our mad dash to the train, I decided I would take a shortcut.

There’s a small patio in front of Union Station, that is often cut-throughable. I was running about 5 feet in front of Brian, and saw a gap between tables that were trying to block the way. I turned and aimed for the gap, preparing to zig zag through the Corner Bakery tables. Except…

There was also a GIANT cable locked around these tables. Huge. And most important, INVISIBLE.
And so obviously…I jumped right over it…well, I did in my mind, anyways.

There’s a very unique feeling when it comes to falling down for me. It’s almost always unexpected. And shocking. But it never hurts as bad as it looks. Except when it does. This was one of those scathing falls that knocks you on your ass seven ways from Sunday. And we still needed to get to the train. So I got up and ran some more, jumping over the next cable on my way out of the “shortcut.” We made the train with seconds to spare, and I was able to assess the damage and feel the pain.

Aside from the burn on my ankle where the cable caught me, the invisible bruise on my palm from the landing, the scrape on the inside of my right knee from…well…something, the gash on my left knee, and the throbbing pain in the same knee, it wasn’t so bad. I just kept telling myself it could be worse. Right?

Someone please tell me an injury story so I don’t feel quite so ridiculous.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

BlogHer in Chicago: How to Make Nice with the Natives (Commuters)

Guys, I’m SO excited for BlogHer. I KNOW you are too. Even if you’re not going, you can participate via your computer chair, your couch, your bed or naked on a bearskin rug in front of YOUR fireplace (I don’t want to see that shit.) But let me tell you a little secret. Most of Chicago…wait for it…

Doesn’t know you’re coming.

In fact, they probably don’t care. (I care. And my bloggy friends care. And you care. And YOUR bloggy friends care. And all of the lovely sponsors care. But, we have to be real about this.) Chicago is one of the major cities in this beautiful country of ours, and thus hosts fancy conferences more often than we attend them. More often than we would ever WANT to attend them. So you’ve got to understand that the locals (or natives) will just see us (yes, me too) as touristy conference people interrupting their daily routine. But we can avoid all that nasty nonsense.

I’m going to guide you through the life of a commuter and give you a few pointers on how to make them not hate you.

Between the hours of 6 and 9 am & 3 and 7 pm, public transportation (particularly the commuter transportation (Metra – Union Station and Metra – Ogilvie Transportation Center) is a circus. Walking near, to or from one of these hubs is going to be difficult at best and downright painful at worst. If you’ve got rolling luggage, just do everyone (yourself included) a favor and take a cab. That’s what I’ll be doing when I head into work with my luggage on Thursday morning. NEVER walk against the grain of traffic. Cross the street and avoid this:

train commuters train commuters

 

 

 

 

train commuters train commuters

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re riding one of these commuter trains, it’s important to follow the rules of etiquette on the Metra.

The rules of walking traffic are the same as driving. Walk on the right side of the walkway. Pass on the left. If you’re walking slow, stay as far to the right as possible. If you’re on an escalator…FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, stand on the right and walk on the left.

Also in relation to walking…we follow one golden rule: As a pedestrian, it is illegal for a car to hit me. So we play the daily Frogger.

But we're not this stupid. Image: from New York Daily News article in which some guy played Frogger and got hit.

But we’re not this stupid. Image: from a New York Daily News article discussing some guy who played Frogger and got hit.

If you’re driving, steer clear of driving through yellow lights, and you’ll be fine. We’re trained to walk the minute your light turns yellow.And sometimes we cross on a diagonal, so just be cautious.

I’ve told you about bringing an umbrella…but there’s an etiquette for carrying umbrellas amidst the commuters and the city-natives. If you have the largest umbrella on the block, and you’re walking past someone, lift that shit up. As high as you can. Knocking into people isn’t nice. If you’ve got a smaller umbrella, tilt to the side or lower it to your head. Be nice to people and they’ll be nice to you.

When you travel, how do you interact with the locals? If you’re a local, what tips would you give tourists?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

BlogHer Conference What to Pack for Chicago Weather

So you’re coming to BlogHer in Chicago, eh?

I’ve already given you some of my Chicago insider tips.

And I told you all about some of my favorite Chicago snack spots.

As a Chicago (suburban) native, I thought it would only be kind to prepare you (and offer you a packing list) for the crazy Chicago weather.

We’ve got a saying around here, “If you don’t like the weather in Chicago, wait 5 minutes.”

And it runs ridiculously true to form.

The Crazy Seasons in ChicagoThis is from a Caribou Coffee in The Loop. Caribou is gone now, but Peet’s has replaced it. So you have option other than Starbucks.

The weather has been nuts (more so than usual) around here. Just last week it was 60 degrees with torrential rainstorms, this week it’s 90 degrees with humidity through the roof. I’ve seen the temperature drop 20 degrees over the course of the afternoon and spike by early evening. So you’ve got to buck up like a motherfuckin’ boy scout and be prepared around here.

Here’s some of what I’ll be packing for my 3 night stay in the city (a mere 30 minute drive from my home front). I highly recommend you consider the same.

Partial Packing List for BlogHer Chicago

  • Umbrella (one of those GIGANTIC umbrellas that doesn’t get turned inside out because it’s got a wind tunnel and all sorts of bells and whistles. They don’t call it the Windy City for nothing, guys.)
  • A second umbrella–one that packs easily into my purse, in case it starts raining while I’m out. Or the first one manages to break. That happens. A lot.
  • Weather Protective Bag for my laptop.
  • Good walking shoes that dry out easily. (Did I mention torrential rain storms?) Thank you Merrell and Skechers for being awesome shoes.
  • Zip hoodies. In case it gets cold. Because it might. Actually, bring a coat if it’s between October and April. Especially if you don’t do cold.
  • Dresses. Skirts. I like dresses because I hate pants. Don’t expect to see me in any pants that don’t start with “yo” and end with “ga.”
  • Yoga pants. Yoga shorts. Yoga crops. This is how I get away with wearing stretch pants without sounding frumpy. Yoga is trendy. Right? Also I wear yoga shorts under my skirts and dresses. So that my skirt doesn’t fly up in the wind and show you my lady parts (SERIOUSLY. They don’t call it the windy city for nothing, people). Because I am brilliant. And then my legs don’t chafe. Because I am brilliant.
  •  Short-sleeve and long-sleeve tee-shirts. Tank tops. Because you genuinely never know when it’s going to be hot or cold around here.
  • A cardigan or 3, in case it gets cold. Because it will. (If you’re from one of those warmer states or countries, you may want to bring your coat. Because it might get to like 30 degrees one night. You never know.)
  • Clean underwear. That shit’s important.
  • Deodorant. Because that’s even more important.

Next week, I’ll be bringing you some pointers on interacting with the natives. AKA How to Not Make the Commuters Hate You.

Anything you think I’ve forgotten, Chicago lovelies?

BlogHer attendees, when are you getting into The Chi?! Want to meet up?! Let me know!

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!