A Summer in Chicago

So – I guess I get why they say Chicago summers are the best. I moved here at the end of June, life unfolded almost instantly, and here I am, mid-October, feeling perhaps the most settled I’ve felt since my junior year of high school (which was over A DECADE ago, by the way. Where has the time gone?). While saying I don’t miss New York would be a lie, my time in Chicago feels very purposeful on a personal level, and now that I’ve had a chance to get my bearings in this new-to-me city, I’m excited to dive in, do work, and see where I land. All of that, and then also visit New York the first chance I get (see you next weekend, NY pals!).

Since we haven’t caught up in a while (How are YOU? Coffee soon!), here’s a visual peek at some of the things I’ve been up to over the past few months, in my life back in the Midwest.

Advertisements

Currently: a Monday evening perspective

HI THERE, HOW ARE THINGS? Life lately = yeeesh. It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these (or one of anything on here) so let’s touch base. Regroup. Circle back. Er, I mean catch up. It’s only Monday evening (when I wrote this) and I’m already exhausted. I’d say “what a week!” but it’s been a day. I DIGRESS.

Park pond

Currently, (as I navigate my at Monday evening), I am…

Listening to: A Spotify playlist I made featuring all the songs on Will Arnett’s horrible Netflix original series called Flaked. The show will make you upset with Venice and friendship and humanity (in a totally not worth it way) but the music will make you moody and solemn and deep (in the best way!), so do that instead.

Eating: I just finished an “open-faced grilled cheese sandwich.” AKA I microwaved a slab of brie on an english muffin, and I’m trying to make myself feel okay about it. Other people my age have families of five and I’m still cooking at a junior-high level but THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT.

Sipping on: A glass of pinot noir. Always. I mean obviously not always, but you know, sometimes. We’re getting into the most uncomfortable time of the year for red-wine connoisseurs, btw – when the rising outside temperatures make ordering a malbec or shiraz socially uncomfortable. But be bold, lovers of the dark-colored grape, and do not let those rosé or *shivers* chardonnay drinkers cramp your style. For if it truly gets too warm out to think about sipping on a red, there’s always our good friend whiskey on the rocks.

Feeling good about: This past weekend. I helped coordinate an alumni happy hour AND I organized a donut crawl, which is exactly what it sounds like (a bar crawl of donut shops). Both were occasions to catch up with people who I’ve spent too long not seeing, and it was so good to socialize and spend some time exploring new places in the city which I too often (literally daily) take for granted.

Reading: Finishing up Aziz Ansari’s Modern Romance and starting Pamela Ryckman’s Stiletto Network for book club (#oneNewYearsResolutiondown).

Missing: My long-distance family and friends. And Whitney Houston, always.

Terrified of: Spiders. Job stuff. Strangers/being followed. Walking out of this room and never feeling the rest of my whole life the way I feel when I’m with you. You know, the normal things to be terrified of.

Excited about: OH I REBRANDED MY WEBSITE. In a time when I actually have 1,000,000+ other things I should be working on in my spare time, I decided to move full speed ahead with the website rebrand I’ve been thinking about for a year on the blog I update maybe once every other month at most. Anyways, it’s still a bit of a work in progress, but I chose the name Uptown Moxie because:

a) I’m no longer the little girl I was when I moved to the big apple five years ago, and even though ‘uptown’ is specific to where I live curently, I like being a little more expansive with my geo-referencing. Just perhaps I won’t live in New York for the rest of my blogging days. Just perhaps.

b) I have always lived Uptown, and I’m basically Christie Brinkley

c) I liked and have used the word Moxie plenty of times before Allison Williams named her dog. But for the record I died a million times when she got/named that adorable pup.

cp

With that, I’m at the end of my feelings and also at the end of my wine glass. I hope you like the rebrand and that you’ll stick around to hear my ramblings, however many months apart I may post them. Xo.

P.S. Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Another one.

The start of another year always makes for a nice touch-base on the blog. It’s no coincidence that the past two weeks I’ve been “vacationing” in the midwest so I’ve had ample time to reflect back on the previous 12 months and rekindle my flame for writing. Let’s call it a temporary resurgence while I wind myself back into the norm of juggling the everyday chaos city-life loves to provide.

IMG_1666b

Looking back on 2015’s top-of-the-year post, last year’s supposed mantra was adventure. That didn’t really pan out the way I thought it would. I think a more appropriate theme would have been personal growth, and overall, I am at peace with how it and I evolved throughout the given 12 months.

In 2015 I…

  • Made a conscious effort to work out more often and eat cleaner.
  • Saw some kickass theatre.
  • Saw some kickass comedy.
  • Had three job interviews with the company of my dreams. After the first interview went poorly [for a position I was ultimately not offered], I drank a good amount of Jameson Black Barrel and was sure I forever lost my chance to get a foot in the door. Two months later, I started working for said company in a department and position which much better aligned with my long-term career goals.
  • Dealt with a thing over the summer that was awful and painful and taught me yet another life lesson about letting go.
  • Spent a relaxing long weekend in LA and a chaotic long weekend in DC .
  • Watched five of my closest friends marry their soul mates at five beautiful weddings.
  • Decided I’m content not being married right now.
  • Traveled to Ohio seven times in five months.
  • Saw one of my favorite musicians live, for the first time. Also, another first, attended a concert by myself.
  • Hiked a mountain in the Hudson Valley and climbed a ski slope in Stratton, Vermont.
  • Cooked and ate vegan food on Thanksgiving.
  • Got glasses.
  • Finally saw Tina Fey and Amy Poehler together in person.
  • Made my first business trip to Miami.
  • Won my fantasy football league championship. (#humblebrag)
  • Spent time with aunts, uncles, and cousins I rarely get to see over the holidays.
  • Danced myself into 2016 with my closest friends.

2015 was a year I said Yes more. It was a year I took chances. I told people how I felt, spent a lot of money on things and trips that felt right to me and realized I don’t regret any time I put myself out there. 2015 was good to me — I’d say I’m lucky, but these days I feel pretty confident that we create our own karma, happiness, success, or what have you.

IMG_1822c

I sense that 2016 will be amazing and tough. I have a lot of work to do professionally, and I’ve set some high goals for myself on a personal level. I anticipate more reading, writing, music, travel and work. I look forward to another challenging year of saying Yes, focusing on wellness, and keeping in better touch with my friends and family. Aside of maintaining all of that, here are a few additional personal (and random) resolutions I’ve set:

  1. Teach myself to play guitar.
  2. Learn conversational Spanish.
  3. Join a book club.
  4. Travel to the Pacific Northwest.

I’ve already sunk my teeth into some of these and am very much looking forward to tackling 2016 head-on. What are you planning to take on in 2016? Any resolutions as out there as mine?

Let’s conquer the world this year. Anyone with me?

IMG_1739b

In the grasp of dusk and summer

With summer winding down (or “over,” if you view the world from the Labor Day = autumn calendar), I thought I’d catch us all up to speed from the past season. Real talk: the past few months been challenging, to say the least. Things happened: amazing things, utterly terrifying things, I-have-to-nurse-myself-to-sleep-with-a-bottle-of-wine-if-I-want-to-get-any-shut-eye-tonight type of things. All of them. But we’ve (almost) made it to a new season, so you know it couldn’t have ended up all that bad.

For myself and strangely enough a number of my very close friends, seismically insane occurrences happened in the recent months. But I choose no longer to dwell on the happenings-that-must-not-be-named. Perseverance, determination and plain old instincts of survival got us (mostly) through. I’d like to instead reflect on some of the good things that happened over the course of my summer in the city. As it’s easy to forget the simple pleasures of day-to-day life when you’re going through a tough time, it’s so important to not. Often it’s the little things that add up to the big things, and I personally think those are what ultimately save you. So without further ado, here are my top 10 favorite things I did over the past few months that helped me rise above the hellstorm that was the summer of 2015. (Note: I’m focusing on events that happened in the city, even though my real favorite moments were likely any time I got away. New York, I love you, but summers are tough.)

My top 10 favorite happenings from the summer of 2015 in the city:

image11   IMG_4447

10. The first GOP Debate on Fox. I couldn’t not include the most tuned-in election event that’s ever been. Not to mention this week’s workout schedule has been meticulously planned around debate numero dos. (Tonight on CNN for any interested parties, Happy hour at 6/Trump-show at 8 ET)

9. Finally catching a Yankees game. It had been a long time coming, so I was thrilled to finally cross this off my bucket list this summer. Also: the ticket was only $13. PLUS they happened to be playing the Cleveland WINdians. And Cle won. Winning all around!

8. Any time spent at the beach. Because summer without a beach is no summer at all.

image10   IMG_4882

7. Finally paying attention to The Cloisters. At long last, I ventured up to the castle filled with art residing in my backyard! And regardless of where you live in this city, you too should make the trek; it’s worth at least one visit.

6. Birthday Times Square madness. A few months back I crafted this wild idea about a chain restaurant bar crawl in Times Square, and lucky for me, I have an amazing group of friends who indulged me in this silly endeavor.

image1   FullSizeRender

5. Seeing Hamilton. By the grace of The Good Lord Almighty in heaven, I was blessed with a chance to see this force of theatrical magic for less than $500. I’ll just leave you with this for a review: everything the critics say about it is true. Run, don’t walk, to catch Mr. Lin Manuel rock rap your socks off and completely change your perception of what theatre can say and do for a community (hint: it’s much more than entertain).

4. Any time spent on a rooftop. Because summer without a rooftop (many rooftops!) is no summer at all.

image8   image5

3. The 17th Annual Del Close Marathon. A how-to post is in the works for next year, but this was the year I hardcore DCM’d it up. (DCM is a nonstop weekend-long improv festival, for those who don’t know. I obviously have not and will not pick up long-distance running any time in the near future.) This year’s experience entailed hours (14! 14 hours!) of waiting in the pouring rain with total strangers who – by the end of the weekend – became extensions of myself, some of the best comedy blocks I’ve seen to date in this city, and the most impossible question I’ve ever pondered: Marry, bop, kill: Ben Schwartz, Adam Pally, Zach Woods.

2. Surprise taping(s) of The Ellen Show at 30 Rock. One of the best things about NYC is the randomness that ensues when you let the city take you for a journey. A friend and I went for a late-afternoon walk/break from work and wound up in the audience for two shows (the second in VIP!) of Ellen that were taping in midtown. The whole experience was the best kind of whirlwind (Ellen! Hillary Clinton! A P!nk set!), and a great overall reminder that sometimes in life, the most awesome and random shit is waiting for you – right around the corner.

image7   IMG_5386

1. Accepting The Job. Oh yeah, that little thing that happened at the forefront of the season. Early this summer, I was offered a position with the company I moved to New York (now over 4 years ago) with ambitions of working for. Currently a few months in, I still pinch myself daily. Although I am not yet in my dream role (Do I know my dream role? Does anybody?), this happening was a pretty big deal to me and I am very much looking forward to seeing what can blossom out of this opportunity.

So summer of 2015, I bid adieu to you; you have definitely been one for the books. And fall of 2015, you ain’t seen nothing yet. (You literally ain’t – seven more days!) And I know, at the very least, there’s a handful of us waiting with bated breath.

2015.

It’s 2015. Allegedly, it’s been so for 8 days.

I wasn’t going to do a 2014 recap because I didn’t seize that window of opportunity like I had planned on, and everyone’s over those by now. But real talk, everyone was over those way before they started. Plus, I’m HBIC here and I want an evergreen way to summarize my year, so pardon my insistence.

Matt Nathanson 2

My highlights of 2014 consisted of:

  • A lot of traveling home to the Midwest (OH, IL, MI) and thus, seeing many of my favorite people, multiple times throughout the year
  • Switching up my career by accepting a wonderful job in an industry I’m passionate about
  • Performing improv for the first time ever on the UCB stage
  • Seeing Billy Joel perform at a live taping of The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon
  • Countless brunches with friends, celebrating both the big moments and nothing at all
  • Watching live interviews with Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader
  • Meeting Fred Armisen and making him laugh
  • Cheering on the Dayton Flyers men’s basketball team, as they made it to the Elite 8
  • Visitors in NYC! My weekends with Alex, Jenna, Robinson, Mike, and my parents were all wonderful and special in so many ways
  • And generally, anytime I ordered a Dominos pizza (light cheese, jalapeños & mushrooms), because I’m low maintenance and proud of it

In 2014, I lost some friends, gained some friends, was heartbroken to miss a dear college roommate’s wedding, moved back in to an apartment I had lived in twice prior, dyed my hair a handful of times, completed jury duty, bought a really wonderful jacket for $40 and fell in love with One Direction. It was a mixed bag.

Sinatra

For 2015, my mantra is adventure. If I was a millionaire, this would be the year I backpack around the globe, but I work in media so I’m settling for local day trips. Here’s my three-pronged approach at cracking this one open:

1) Read more. 52 books in 52 weeks round deux. Last year, this was a miserable failure – BUT I did purchase a subscription to the Times as a 25th birthday present to myself (how ah-dult of me) which I now read regularly. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

2) Play more. Go on more physical excursions. Photograph places and people. Experience more fun. There’s only so many weekends in my twenties I’m willing to give up to takeout and Netflix. No matter how inciting that sounds every single time.

3) Take more risks. Say yes more often. Live a little outside my comfort zone. If history serves, the best adventures typically result from these instances.

Jack Kerouac

So, what are your goals for 2015? Better question – how are you yielding one week in?

10 Things…

Blog-tember Day 10 Prompt: List 10 things that you love about yourself! Let’s kick that negative self-talk outta here!

  1. I’m not a picky eater.
  2. I know how to dress for my body-type. Mostly. Yesterday, a co-worker did tell my outfit made me look like an Orthodox Jew, but in fairness, I’m not claiming how to dress for my religious affiliation.
  3. I make an effort to stay up with current events/world news.
  4. I make an effort to work out. Sometimes.
  5. I’m a really good friend.
  6. My childhood room is decked out in fuzzy zebra-print, and I will never admit it was a mistake. I will own that fuzzy zebra-print decision until the end of time.
  7. Cats… typically like me (?)
  8. I’m decently skilled at math.
  9. My independence. Aka the greatest hamartia of all.
  10. I consistently surround myself with pretty solid folks. The good people in my world keep me grounded and sane, and without those qualities, any and all of the above would cease to exist.