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Hit me baby one more time…

So I think we are the point in our blogger/reader relationship where it is appropriate and necessary to divulge some information I have been keeping from y’all these past few months. Anyone who knows me well knows I have this other rarely seen side, and while I am certainly not ashamed of it, it is something I choose to keep to myself until I am really comfortable with someone. I think now we are on that level so I am just going to come out with it…
I am a huge Britney Spears fan.
I mean, really huge. As in I have seen her Circus tour three times so far, and have just signed up for my fourth show when she brings it back for the encore this Fall. And I don’t just attend these shows, I take it upon myself to become a part of the Circus in both mind and body, and have even been featured 3 times on as a result- the visual proof will come later in this post. I take great pride in this fact.
Well meaning friends and family often try to understand my deep, abiding love of B.Spears, and although I am truly convicted in my fandom, I find it hard to explain. 
It all started in 1998. I was sitting in my bff Elizabeth’s kitchen when I first heard those cords: “Der dun dun…Oh babay babay…Der dun dun…” It was like hearing the call from the mothership and I ran over to the tiny 5 inch TV on the counter and stuck my face right up to the screen. I sat there cross eyed taking in the spectacle, three minutes and 31 seconds later I was deeply, deeply in love. 
My bond became deeper a few years later when, fueled by the inspiration of her complete babe-ness in the “I’m A Slave For You” video, I started working out, adopted the motto WWBD? What Would Britney Do? (Well, she would probably not quit running after 47 seconds and go have a snack!) And lost about 30 very necessary pounds. 
A few years back, when things started to go a bit haywire for Britney, I could often be heard explaining to someone who made the mistake of bringing up the topic about how if I could only meet her, I would totally set her straight. I just feel like we would get along, and I could reason with her (Britney, you can either go braless, or barefoot…but not both!). We would call each other “B” or something adorable like that, and sit around in jorts and messy buns, eating grits and it would all just be magical. 
I say this all in a tongue-in-cheek, I am just sane enough to recognize how insane it is that I love her so, but despite any jokes I might make I am completely earnest in my devotion. So when it came time for her to go out on tour I harnessed all my energy into meeting my idol.
You know how when you were little your parents would say: “you can do anything if you set your mind to it”? I think I heard “you can do anything if you set your mind to it…and wear the right outfit”. Inspired by the photos from her early shows, I had my own versions of her tour costumes made, and headed out to the Circus completely decked in my finest BritBrit attire. I actually convinced myself that the lady herself, or one of her people, would see my devotion and decide that Britney just HAD to meet me. 

Alas, it was not to be. Although, as I mentioned before, I was featured on, 

and met Lindsay Lohan at the LA show: 

I never got to meet my girl. Hopefully I will have better luck when she visits Chicago in September. Either way I will be front row center, just as excited to take in the spectacle as I have been each time before. This time Petey will be there sharing the experience with me, maybe he will catch the Britney fever too!

I went to my 5 year highschool reunion and all i got was…

I have realized a few things as I have begun to age over the years.
One: adult onset acne is a cruel and unusual plague that I would not wish on my worst enemy.
Two: I will think about life in semesters no matter how long I am out of school.
And three: my Mom was usually right when giving me advice in high-school.

You know when you would wail to your parents about the traumas of adolescence and they would calmly, if not compassionately, tell you things like “One day you’ll look back on this and laugh” or my all-time favorite, “They are just jealous of you”. It made you want to punch them right in their smug little faces. No they are not jealous of me! They realize the complete turd/fraud/incurably hideous person I am and are calling me out lest I ever forget it!
Gah Mom, you’re such an IDIOT!

Well, my apologies, Megaloo. Turns out, you were right. Turns out that most people in high-school are mean because we are all freaked out that we were hideous fraudulent turds, and that the only way to distract our peers from figuring that out is to accuse others of our own shortcomings. Sort of the “whoever smelt it dealt it” theory of social interaction. Also, as it turns out, most of us grow out of this and become pretty decent human beings, and yes, we do look back on those days and laugh, and maybe cringe a little bit.
This is, I believe, the root of that other parental-ism that can send any emo 16 year old straight to their trusty Dashboard Confessional collection:
“These are the best days of your life”.
I truly pity anyone whose teens were their best years. I think what parents really mean when they say this is:
“If I could go back to high-school and do it again knowing what I know now, it would be the best time of my life”.
And just this past weekend, for about 18 hours, I got to do just that.

My (almost) alma matter in Connecticut benevolently extended an invitation to attend my 5 year reunion this past weekend on the campus in the Happy Valley Land. Although I had some misgivings being that I had a particularly cringe-inducing, angsty high-school experience, I decided that as usual the Fun here was on the other side of YES and booked a ticket for myself, and after some convincing, signed Pedro up as well. After two days in NYC catching up with my lovelies (that could be a whole post in itself) Pete and I headed north Saturday morning.

It was a drizzly, foggy morning and I almost made Pete tell the driver to turn around twice, what was I thinking bringing this amazing man who actually wants to marry me back to the scene of the majority of my crimes!? Luckily, I had packed myself my own personal botella of Champiggly anticipating just this situation, and we trudged on.

Pulling up to the gates was superrrr trippy, I have been back to the campus since I, ahem, left the school. Each time on a roadtrip to show a friend the school itself, but I never saw anyone I had actually known there. This would be a different, a full on time warp, and suddenly I felt like a hideous turdy 18 year old all over again. We walked up towards the Senior Sandbox (patio/gathering area and angst headquarters of 2001-2002) and were greeted by a wholly different scene than I had remembered. This is what the sandbox was like when I went there.

And this is what the sandbox was like this past weekend.

…Outside Sandbox 2003…

…And Outside Sandbox 2009…

The rest of the day was pretty much the same. Same people, same place, entirely different experience. I am sure the alcohol helped, but everyone was so nice and fun and excited to be there. We spent the afternoon out in the rain playing beer pong and wiffleball (we are such athletes) before getting dressed for formal dinner and the dance…ohh my gosh just typing that makes me feel like a wee babe of only 15.
Court and I in the hallway of MDS 2002…

…Court and I in the hallway of MDS 2009…

Ladies before Formal Dinner 2003…

…and 2009!

I feel like the pictures sum up the evening better than I could…

Pete and I snuck off pretty early in the evening, we are old people and just don’t seem to have the stamina for an all night rager like we used to. In what was possibly the worst sleep of my life, Pete somehow finagled the bottom bunk, the sole airplane pillow and prison sheet we had been rationed, while I got the top bunk and a towel.
The next morning we went into town to get my beloved sandwich from the Kent Market- now the General Store (ohh lala how fancy!) before heading back to Chicago.

I think the main think I took away from this weekend besides some great new memories with old friends, is that people don’t get over high-school sometimes not because the trauma or the joy of the experience is too great to get past. I think, for me at least, I just wish I could go back knowing what I know now. I wish we all could have realized how lucky we were to be around 200 people our age that we had enough in common with to end up at a boarding school in the middle of nowhere together. The real world doesn’t provide you with hundreds of peers to choose from. I wish we could have all been nicer to each other and less critical of ourselves. I don’t really wish not to have made the mistakes we made, that’s part of growing up, but I wish we had been more forgiving of each other while we were making those mistakes. Ok, now I sound like Mr. Rogers, but…
If you made it through highschool with out these regrets, regardless of what senior superlatives you got, I think you did it right. I always wished I could go back and do it a bit differently, but after this weekend I definitely don’t have any regrets.
Congrats to the Class of 2004 on everything over the past 5 years!!

Nine to five, what a way to make a living!

Well…it’s more like 10-3:00, which is much more civilized anyway if you ask me, but after a year of post-grad drifting I have found myself an honest to goodness J-O-Beeezey! I am working for an interior designer here in Chicago, and the situation could honestly not be more ideal. Skeptical? Let me give you a little snap shot of my average work day:

10:00 a.m. Grab some coffee across the street, field some minor harassment from the doorman at the building, and head up to headquarters for a serious gossip sesh with the Boss Lady, who may be one of the more hilarious people in the world and would fit in like Peanut Butter and Jelly in Texas, and Leigh, the other (adorable) summer intern…

11:00 Head to the Merchandise Mart with Leigh and our various projects for the day. For those of you who do not know, the Mart, as it is known to those of us in Tha Biz, is 4.2 million square feet of designer show rooms on 25 floors over two blocks in the heart of downtown Chicago. Aka, Mecca, the mother ship, where I belong. 

11:15 Follow Leigh around matching fabrics and trims to samples Boss Lady gave us.

11:45 Check out samples from designer library, feel like real legit employed creative genius, living the dream, at one with chic designer workforce.

12:01 Realize have morning coffee residue all down front of my shirt. Ousted from chic designer workforce, I am a total phony. 

1:00 Continue search for perfect life changing beige fabric for suburban family living room. No longer feel cute under persistent and soul crushing neon lighting, but still have smug sense of accomplishment for finding a job that actually utilizes my skilllls (none of which I cultivated in college…btw)

2:00 Leigh and I decide it is time to break out on our own, head to Osborne & Little to peruse fabrics for our own creative endeavors, brainstorm about starting our own business, beautifying the lives of young working women like ourselves, and world domination.

3:00 Exhausted, head to fab downtown eatery to decompress and process our day

4:00 Back at the office, lay out the dozens of gorge fabrics we have collected as accents to Boss Ladies original inspiration, and marvel over the fruits of our labor.

Like I said, it’s a tough day, but I feel like I can handle the lifestyle for at least a little while longer. I think ambition is great, and having passions and interests are pretty essential for a long and happy life, but I think in these troubled economic times it is a blessing to have a job of any sort. Filling my days doing something I love with people who are a complete joy to be around is definitely something I am passionate about, regardless of the pay…or lack thereof. 

Lazy Sunday

Pete and I have been keeping a pretty hectic pace since moving to Chicago, trying to new restaurants, walking around and exploring, visiting with friends and family, and loving it! Still there is something about a lost lazy weekend that really makes a place feel like home.

Pete and I took refuge at the W Chicago (very pet-friendly hotel FYI)
on Friday night because the gas has been off at the bachelor pad since Wednesday, we were in desperate need of a proper shower.

Me and Bella enjoying an afternoon cocktail at the W Lakeshore Drive.
After meeting up with our new architect we went back to the bachelor pad, now known as the hell hole, to find two of my new favorite people in the world (here to forth they will be referred to as Bwyan Noodle and A.Peach) had let themselves in and had already started the party!
Now this might seem egregiously forward to some, and could also be seen as criminal trespassing, but for me it is a sure sign of true friendship, and a real taste of home in this new city!
The rest of the weekend is sort of a blur, all I know for sure is that quite a number of libations were consumed, there was a lot of laughter, and after approximately 36 hours together and an exhilarating ride in a maroon Impala, I think we all felt like family.
I am sure the French have some beautiful, succinct phrase to describe the joy of this sort of weekend, smug bastards that they are, but for the rest of us these days defy explanation. They end up amounting to a sort of inside joke that bores anyone else to tears when you try to tell it, which is kind of unfortunate when you are trying to become a prolific blogger…but on the other hand, there is nothing like being in on the joke to make you feel like you belong!

Clifford, The Big Red House Gets a Clean Bill of Health!

While I am tempted to post about the current housing drama in my life (the bachelor pad and I are at a MAJOR crossroads in our relationship as I consider gas and hot water to be two of the essential assets he brings to the table, and he seems to think those perks can be withheld from time to time! SERENITY NOW!!!) I am choosing instead to focus on my positive real estate news:
On Thursday Clifford, T.B.R.H. passed his inspection with flying colors! Now that this first major hurdle on my way to actual home ownership is out of the way, I thought I would share some more pictures of Mr. Clifton in his current state, as well as a few of my plans for his makeover!

Words fail me in my attempt to explain the previous owners design philosophy…

The backyard space is pretty much the best thing about the house, envision it with a bit more landscaping, some grass for the dogs, perhaps a water feature? Magic.

My own design mission for Clifford, T.B.R.H. will be search and recovery, restoring the historic character of the home, while still keeping it young and fresh!

A little old…Reusing some of the drapes and furniture from my house in Austin

A little new…how cute is this wall paper from Osborne & Little!

ALL very very pure, I cannot wait to begin my biggest project yet!! The (future) McCarthy’s first home!!