Endorsed by the Sun-Times and DC/Chi – Rahm and Jeff Tweedy

I’ve been to EVERY city and all other cities suck a little bit. Except Chicago.

-Jeff Tweedy

Due to poor luck of a friend and a gracious invite/good luck for myself, I was able to attend the Rahm Emanuel fundraising event with none other than Jeff Tweedy. Although exhausted from a night up north in Wisconsin I hesitated for just a moment, immediately scolded myself for even thinking twice and said yes to what was sure to be a once-in-a-lifetime evening.

The fundraiser was at Park West, a venue near my apartment that I had always wanted to attend, but had yet to find a reason. I will now pay close attention to their lineup because the venue was great. Great space, fabulous dome ceiling, great sound and the ability to get up close and personal with the band which is what we did.

Opening was a band I was previously unfamiliar with, but who can thank Wilco for one of their top hits, a cover of I Am Trying to Break Your Heart – JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound. They played some great soul including their Wilco chart-topper, during which none other than Jeff Tweedy himself joined on stage.

Following JC Brooks and a short intermission Rahm took the stage to introduce Tweedy, “one of the greatest things to come out of Chicago.” Surrounded by guitars and looking slightly homeless-chic, Tweedy opened with a great rendition of Spiders and continued to impress from there.

Sharing a wonderful open rapport with the crowd, Tweedy joked about preparing (“Rahm Immanuel is way more prepared to be mayor than I am for this show”), his missteps while playing acoustic versions of Wilco favorites and sourcing the crowd for songs.

Although playing crowd pleasers including Jesus, Etc.  and Heavy Metal Drummer which I do love, my favorites of the night included great versions of:

-Hummingbird – To be described as perfect imperfection

-Walkin

-New Madrid – complete with friendly boos from the crowd at the references to NYC

– I’m the Man Who Loves You – dedicated to his wife who was in the crowd

-Late Greats – Which was fumbled and unfinished only to be restarted and successfully completed. What spurred the reattempt? Why my own campaign working friend who called out a request for the song post-failed attempt that elicited a response from Tweedy himself and resulted in the song being finishing. Epic.

Overall it was a great end to a great weekend and will go down as one of my favorite Wilco/Jeff Tweedy moments. Chicago, I already loved you, but Rahm and Tweedy have only solidified that love even more.

We may be slow on posting… but check out our guest post on Urban Explorer

We are aware that we’ve (I’ve) been neglecting our blog of recent, but to reinvigorate our love of blogging, our friend and fellow blogger offered us the chance to guest blog on her site Urban Explorer (http://urbnexplorer.com). If you have not checked her blog out yet, you should. Plus you can see that we still have the ability to type and are having adventures in places other than DC/Chi (NYC baby!). Enjoy!

http://urbnexplorer.com/2011/01/24/guest-blog-whirlwind-tour-of-nyc-dcchi-goes-urban-explorer/

A(nother) New Year

Happy New Year! (It’s too bad I missed saying this on 1-1-11, but good thing there’s still 1-11-11, 11-1-11, and 11-11-11).  As I was writing my New Years Resolutions/Goals on my flight back to the District last night, I wondered if I made a list of resolutions/ goals for 2k10 (and no, the list my dad makes for me every year does not count.  shopping less will NEVER be a goal.  shameful).  Luckily, I was able to click back through the many (re: not so many) blog posts to early 2k10 where I listed goals and resolutions for the year that will be no more.  Casually slipped into the post was to take more risks, have more sex and come up with more one liners.  Three figurative checks are needed on those, especially when it comes to more one liners.  How else do you think I got my bf?  (Aside from telling him that if he doesn’t date me I will slit his throat when he is sleeping).

I had some additional goals, which I cannot say I achieved at such a rate of success.  On the list, I was able to complete:

  • Rock Climbing
  • Terra Cotta Warrior Exhibit

I went to see the Nat Geo’s Terra Cotta exhibit with a coworker, but I must say I wasn’t all that impressed.  It probably does not help that I saw pictures of my friend’s trip to Asia in which she saw the Terra Cotta Warriors en mass.  Rock climbing was great to get back into, but my partner recently moved away.  I’m definitely putting it on the to-d0 list for this year.  My arms need the workout for real.

I did no succeed in touring the White House.  I feel like this goal tots slipped my mind after I wrote it down.  Now the desire to tour the WH just isn’t as strong.  Mental note to revist this goal.

Finally, I wanted to attend more free concerts, speaking events, etc.  I must say I SUCCEEDED (like woah) in this category.  With the help of Twitter, I was able to find what’s happenings all around the city.  Some of my favorite DC moments were the 4th of July festivities on the Mall and of course the Rally to Restore Sanity and or Fear.  Thinking about it all, I realize that DC really is a great place.

Now before I get all mushy, I must move on to the goals of 2011.  I already know 2k11 has a lot in store for me, and I will definitely be taking more risks, so I wanted to move outside that thought process and into more practical goals and resolutions.  In no particular order, here are some goals for 2011:

  • Save 10% of my income.  I have a lot of needs (re: wants), but I should be saving more money.  I’m not getting any younger, honey, and money doesn’t grow on trees.  Amen.
  • Become a better tipper.  I am an awful tipper.  A realization I have made within the last few months.  I often feel stressed and my hands get sweaty when the bill comes.  It’s not that I cannot do basic math (or pull out my phone calc), it’s just that I feel pressured and rushed.  I vow to tip better in 2011 (you’re welcome Surf Side employees, since I frequent your restuarant weekly).
  • Learn sign language.  It’s been something I have wanted to do for a while, but I have never found the motivation.  I don’t want to take a class just yet, but I want to start learning the basics.  Today I bought “Sign Language for Dummies” and it even comes with a CD-ROM! Horrah!!!
  • Take cooking classes.  This is a must.  I want to learn to make sushi, gnocchi, etc.  I have convinced the BF this is something he also wants to do, so it will get done!
  • Volunteer more.  Self explanatory.  I need to be a better member of society and just suck less in general.

That’s it for the goals and resolutions for 2011.  I wrote down my goals in my planner so that they will always be with me (since I NEVER leave home without my planner b/c I’m very OCD).  I plan to add to the list as ideas come to me.  Not on my list: watch less Glee, cry less during Biggest Loser, become less funny, shop less, give my sister less advice.

Well, that’s all for now my fairy princesses.  In less that 2 weeks I will be reunited with Erika for a special reunion of sorts.  We will be traveling to NYC (and causing trouble in DC, of course), and after I plan to announce some big blogger news!  Whoot!

 

xoxo JJ

Taking a Bite Out of the Big Apple

Living in DC and being very into fashion, music and traveling, one would think I have been to NYC before, but quite to the contrary.  Of all my 24 years, and 2.5 years in very close proximity to NYC, I have never once visited.  It’s not that I haven’t wanted too–I mean, my crush on Matt Lauer alone would be enough to drive me to visit–I just haven’t found the right opportunity.   So when I found myself roommateless and with nothing planned for the weekend I decided to book a bus ticket for a day trip to the Big Apple.

Not only was I overly excited for my excursion, but this was my first “trip” alone.  I was, however, terrified of becoming another casualty to the bed bug epidemic (very reminiscent to my more irrational fear of the bird flu several years back).  I had a 4 hour bus ride to mull over the bed bug precautions I read on the NY Housing Website and I decided I would likely survive without bringing back any vampires (re: bed bugs) to DC.

When my bus arrived in the city I was immediately fixated.  I so badly wanted to be all SJP in SATC, but my 3 layers of tops, Home Alone-esque hat and camera glued to my hand forced me to blend in with the other tourists.  When I realized that my full NYC potential was not going to be reached on this trip, I instead decided to grab the bull by the horns, so to speak, and see as much as I could in 7 hours.  I managed a great deal of sightseeing before my legs and appetite forced me to surrender.  The list of NYC accomplishments:

  • walk the entire length of the Brooklyn Bridge
  • successfully navigate the subway on my own (3 times, thank you….with one failure.  not bad)
  • be mistaken for a local while on the sbuway (sorry lady, your guess on where to transfer lines is as good as mine)
  • see the statue of liberty
  • watch street performers
  • take in the empire state building, madison square garden, macys at christmas time
  • see a duane reade in person (seriously…i don’t know about that name)
  • meet up with a CLE friend in NYC (oh hey, bridget)
  • shop at soho
  • stand in line at the nbc store next to someone on snl that saturday night (nbd)

NYC was quite the experience, but although I came out alive, I felt much more claustrophobic and weathered.  I can’t say that NYC is the place for me…I’ll leave the nourishment of the Big Apple for someone else.  I did see, though, how you can get transfixed and how it is one of the greatest cities in the world.

There are SO many things I still want to accomplish when I go to NYC, and I don’t want to be the uber tourist next time.  SO, it’s a good thing that my blogging counterpart and I are planning a trip there in January.  This time, I will realize my full fashion potential, taxi more (cash cab anyone?), and attempt to see NYC from a more local point of view.

One thing is for certain, my crush on Matt Lauer has not died down.  If anything it has magnified.  Until next time Matty Bear.

 

 

 

Back in the Game!

So while my blogging counterpart may have addressed her blog abandonment in her newest post, I then have no words to describe my complete and utter disregard of this joint endeavor considering my last post is from the end of last winter…. yikes. Anyways, JJ is true in saying I have had the best weekends ever (esp when texting at 3 a.m.), so to you who’ve crossed my path since March, I’m sure we had a great time, but to the rest, I plan to get this back in action!

Now I also could go back on some of the great times of the past 9 months, but instead I’ll just start fresh with my latest activity, dinner this evening at Fountainhead. Now my good friend Michele and I have been long overdue for a night out, so we decided why not head to a fun new place neither of us had yet to try. After discussing the options we decided on the “Purveyors of Fine Food and Drink” Fountainhead Chicago http://fountainheadchicago.com/.

Newly opened, this restaurant offers a great menu and even greater beer list, which from the sounds of it, only plans to get better. As it is a Thursday, Michele and I were not in for a beer sampling evening, but we could not go without trying one, the Metropolitan Flywheel, a light lager brewed right down the street from the bar. The brew was delicious and just the right thing to begin a night of catching up with a good friend. In addition to their large draft list and even larger bottled list, they also include a number of featured beers which I am sure do not disappoint.

In terms of food, we both chose sandwiches (me choosing of course the option that included a pretzel roll), but would like to return and try the spicy beer cheese soup and beet risotto among other delectable sounding offerings.

Overall, our new restaurant of choice was delicious and the next time I happen to be in Ravenswood, I would not hesitate to return. As the weather turns cold and the call of warm restaurants and bars beckons and I will be sure to share what other new establishments I happen upon in my daily travels. For now though, I must rest up for a day of work followed by the much anticipated return of Harry Potter and Great Lakes Christmas Ale.

A Welcome Back Pat on My Own Back.

Should I even begin to address the utter and complete loss of maintenance of our blog?  Or should I just let it go by as the elephant in the room?

I suppose I shall address it.  Since my last post was titled “Top Five Reasons My Summer Will Be Better Than Yours” I’m sure you can imagine why I didn’t post from the months of May – August (since D.C. summers tend to start a little earlier and last a little longer than summers in ohhh say Cleveland).  I can speak for Erika as well, as I received some suspect texts/calls at 3 am, though nevertheless claiming the best weekend ever each time (it’s true…some of my greatest weekends were in her company).  Anyways, after summer concluded both Erika and I had separate–but equally time-consuming–Maid of Honor (MOH if you will) duties for October weddings.  Now that the weddings have subsided, and my weekends don’t start and end at one of the 3 D.C. area airports, I can finally get back to the things that I enjoy, including blogging (not including–exercising, cooking, cleaning, etc).

Since it would essentially be irrelevant to talk about things I did 6 months ago, I will mention just two things: The Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear, and why the holidays are my favorite.

First, a few weeks ago I attended the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear (aka THE rally).  I attended with a co-worker/friend, her boyfriend, and her mother (a story in itself since her mom has more energy than all 23 year olds I know combined and who attended Oktoberfest this year).  Not only did we completely underestimate the amount of people in attendance, but we could not anywhere near close enough to see or hear (although when leaving my coworker’s mom kept telling people that if they go just 10 more feet into the crowd they will have be able to see everything–she’s cruel, my type of woman).  what was really the highlight of THE rally was the signage.  Never have I seen such hilarious signs at a rally (encouraged by the comedians themselves).  Some of my favorites:

  • “It’s ok to pick your nose” (description: carried by a boy age 10 or so)
  • “My son told me I had to carry a sign” (description: self-explanatory)
  • “I’m Arab-American: Scared to get on a plane with myself”  (description: also self-explanatory)

I will soon post pictures of some more great sights at THE rally (or maybe not…lets be honest here).

Next, I’m SO ready for the holiday season.  I don’t like cold weather, am not a fan of a huge Thanksgiving meal (just in terms of the food), and struggle every year to come up with a Christmas gift.  So why do I love the holidays you ask?  Well, it’s 60 degrees in the middle of November in Washington, D.C., and people are already nicer and there are CHRISTMAS LIGHTS (only at Morton’s Steakhouse, but still…).  I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there’s just a twinkle in people’s eyes.  Something about buying gifts and drinking out of Starbucks red cups that gives people just a little more pep to their step.  Here’s what I’m truly looking forward to with the holiday season:

  • mass quantities of pumpkin pie (the only part of Thanksgiving dinner I get REALLY REALLY REALLY excited for)
  • holiday sweaters circa the 1970s worn by people in my office since most of them were about 50 when the sweaters were in style
  • “Home Alone” and “Elf” on TBS all the time
  • Great Lakes Christmas Ale (btw: called our Georgetown distributor and he doesn’t know if they will get any in.  in the words of stephanie tanner, “how rude”)

Now before you even say anything, I know this is not the best post I’ve ever written so hold the phone.  I’m rusty, duh.  I’ll get back into it.  But for now, take it or leave it (take it…puhhhleaseeee).  Until next time…

 

JJ

Top 5 Reasons My Summer Will Be Better Than Yours

(Blogger’s Note:  Pardon the long, long hiatus.  In a constant effort to pick up my life after each and every weekend, I have neglected my blogging duties.  Continual coddling and reminding from my other ½ has recharged my focus, only to surely be lost again in the next several days.)

It may or may not be common knowledge, but I HATE winter.  And DC’s winter this year was a chart topper.  After the first, virginal trail blazing through the four feet of pristine snow, it loses its appeal in a major way.  There’s nothing sexy about four layers of socks and the old snow pants that happen to give you a major wedgy when you squeeze into them now.  What’s sexy?  Tan bodies, sunkissed hair, and all the likes brought on by summer.  And if you’re lucky enough to live in DC, you realize that your summer is better than everyone elses.  Below are the top 5 reasons my summer will be better than yours.

5          Weather – I know it’s not unusual to have great weather in the summer.  It may even, in fact, be commonplace.  But what is not common is endless sunshine, and smouldering heat.  I have always had a high tolerance for heat, and there’s nothing better than being able to walk to work in the morning with the 80 degree sun beating down your back.  Good for tans, weight loss (from the water loss and year-round starvation, obviously) and a general sense of euphoria.  Because it is so nice, it also often means Fridays at work are cut short, or at the very least lunch is 15 minutes longer (total rebel).

4          Movies on the Mall – I cannot stress the beauty of this idea.  The only essentials: three big screens, lots of people, one large lawn.  How about one of the most famous lawns in America?  The Mall.  Summer is prime for movies on the Mall.  Whether you go to actually pay attention, scope out that hottie two blankets over, or take advantage of the blind eye that is turned towards DC’s open container law, movies on the mall is an experience.  What’s better is you can go home after the movie, call your bestie and proclaim, “My night was better than yours, I just watched (insert movie title here) on the National Mall, anddddd I’m drunk!”

3          Tourist Season – Ahhhh, tourists.  What’s better than hundreds of people, in matching tees, blocking the metro escalator while you try to run up it, already late for work?  Nothing, I say!  Tourist season provides endless entertainment for the average DC citizen.  Sure, they may test your patience on an hourly basis, but they’re just trying to get a bite out of history too.  Their constant amazement (“look!  Man in a business suit- must be a politician”, “look! Geese, lol”, “look! Soccer team practicing”) makes you realizes that no matter what you choose to fill your time with, it is superior simply because you are doing it in our nation’s capitol. 

2          Jazz in the Gardens – This is something that is truly and honestly one of the events I most look forward to.  In fact I have a countdown going (think: Christmas chain link you made in second grade but with summer colors and Lisa Frank stickers—don’t judge) until this season’s Jazz in the Gardens.  It’s Friday after work and you are just ready to relax and enjoy some music with about 300 of your closest friends.  Where do you go, you ask?  The sculpture garden, where there will be jazz music, and coincidentally, around 300 people.  Perfect for a pregame, date, or any other occasion (except if your parents, like mine, hate crowds).  You can BYOB and BYOFood, or buy at the concessions available.  The best part is, it brings out the nice in people—and the summer attire.

1           Interns – Do I really have to say more?  Yes?  Well, lets just say interns are all about making connections, primarily at the bar.  And you know what that means……

I’ll leave the rest up to your sick imagination.