Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New "Cheer" Resolutions


Explore everything imaginable – especially your neighborhood. Get to know a local small business owner simply because you’re 110% interested in their story and how/why/when they started their shop – not for one second because it’s of benefit to you. 

Call your siblings for other reasons than just to bitch about your parents. And call your parents to ask them about something instead of asking them for something.

 If you’re lucky enough to still have Grandparents, don’t just call them – go to them – however many modes of transport that may take. Hold their soft, wilted, wrinkled hands with care and answer the same question however many times they may so ask it. Look them in the eye and be grateful. Because you wouldn't be here without the infinitely harder life they lived – the ones that physically paved the path for you to be reading this right now on Facebook. 

Don’t always post pictures of your life's "most best" Kodak Moments...Character is actually recognized by what we do when no one else is watching. 

Take the time to call a restaurant the next day when you’ve had exceptional service the night before. Ask for the manager -- she’s used to receiving shitty tirades from disgruntled patrons so it’s entirely a win-win. Tell her how the server made your night different than the other nights you’ve been there – because you’ve been there before so you already expected the food to be great -- but how her presence was an unexpected present :) 

And PS BTW while on the topic... 
Be sure to give your leftovers away
You've clearly already eaten.

  Bee Mindfull
(puns intended)

Stop for 3 seconds at Stop signs when you’re driving – and while you’re at it, stop at the giant white line that’s there for a reason…When you’re in a car, you don’t think about how blessed you are so don’t take the chance of messing up the life of a pedestrian or a bike rider going about her life. AND DON’T TEXT WHILE YOU DRIVE BECAUSE YOU’RE AN ASSHOLE IF YOU DO. READ THIS LINE AGAIN.  I’M SERIOUS –  IT’S. WHY. I’M. YELLING. AT. THE. SCREEN. WHILE. I. TYPE. IN. ALL. CAPS.

Pick a cause. DONATE.
And if you have no money, give blood

Get involved locally. If shit doesn’t exist in your 'hood
then invent it. Volunteer. 

  SMILE OFTEN. I mean seriously, 

Try and remember people’s names. FOR REAL. And if you don’t remember (or you’re a shitty listener in the first place) then ASK. But ask sooner than later if you’ve forgotten (and work on being a better listener if you’re “prone” to forget...) as there’s nothing more awkward than boozing on a 9 hour flight abroad (witnessing a complete stranger go all ambien on you) and then waking up in another country knowing exactly who it is that they blame yet not remembering their name. 

  Have an extra drink if it makes you feel happy, 
but certainly not if it makes you an asshole. 

Tell people how you feel. Let them know how unbelievably strong, special, and inspiring they are... Maybe even how much you enjoy living vicariously through their supposedly awesome lives ;)

Stop letting the unwritten rules of social “me”dia rule your life... If a status or a picture brought a smile to your face, “Like” it and write a comment saying as such. Who gives a flying fuck if you’re the 1st person to do so and no other peanuts from the gallery happen to be online at the time. BE CONFIDENT.

  Set friends up on dates….better yet, on “friend-dates” if you think they would enjoy each other’s company…I’ve had the pleasure to have a hand in four marriage introductions which have currently resulted in two BEAUTIFUL baby girls (with one more on the way this May!)

You were put on this Earth for a reason -- a reason SO much bigger than your own personal being -- and that reason is to spread love.

TAILGATE! Encourage sportsmanship at every age. Root-root-root for your home team, if they don't win it's a shame... (UGH! f%#@ing Cubs & Bears)

Don’t be a stranger to a Soldier...You'd ask an athlete for a picture to post on Instagram -- why not someone who has dedicated their life to your country at a fraction of the pay? 


Don’t suck at life. 

Go to Zoo Lights
Put up twinkling lights. 
"Close the lights" when you're not using them.

Figure out why you have your middle name. 

Follow-up when you say you will.
Be there when you’ve said you’ll be. 
Be on time.

Literally, emotionally, metaphorically.
If it aint broke, USE IT! 

Click your heels together: at least once like you're following the yellow brick road and again when you're feeling as if "there's no place like home."

  Wake up early one morning and watch the sunrise wherever you may live. Ditto on the sunset. Take a lake bath with biodegradable shampoo. Buy binoculars or a telescope. Try a different lens on life for a while. 

Be sure to say, "Thank You!"
Tomorrow is not promised.



(pun intended)

Be creative.
Go "off registry".
Make it personal.


  Catch a firefly. Let it go :)

Google "Baby Otters"

    Be well read. Even if just the daily news...You are a citizen of this world and you have a moral obligation to better society as best you can. Register to vote. Like, right now.

Write. SING! LEARN. Listen. TRAVEL.

And when I say "write", I mean the real deal. Not just status-update-hocus-pocus...I mean FOR YOU. Keep a journal. Blog a bit. Scribble on napkins. Jot notes on your hand. Shoot yourself an email. Record a voice message of your thoughts.

Write handwritten letters. Mail mail. 
Don’t let your penmanship slip!
Archive your life.

Be good to others. 
Be honest. Be genuine. Be kind.
Be sincere when empathy calls. 

Attempt to kiss the feet of an infant... if it slightly/kinda sorta/entirely wiggs out the mother, give her a hug and mean it. More importantly, offer to buy her a drink (she deserves many).

Dance in your kitchen, it's why it's there. Duh.

Do a random act of kindness no matter how big or small. 


Laugh. And mean it. 

Uncontrollably, contagiously, laugh :) 

Say “YES!” 

Slow your roll.  
Seek adventure.

Celebrate small victories.


Believe in second chances 
(but never a third)

Know firsthand that Happiness is an inside job.

  Put “it” in the Universe.

Know, wholeheartedly, 
that you are worthy of LOVE.

But above all, in 2014, 

It’s a good color on you :)

And when you’re done with all the above, 

Happy New Year

Monday, December 23, 2013

Glenview Girls Christmas

Every year the 16 of us get together for "some" holiday cheer. An almost 20 year old tradition that I hope never fades.

If you haven't downloaded the Heads Up app yet,
it's most certainly 99 cents well spent :)

Libations are a plenty,
and a kitchen dance party is inevitable...
 I could do without the hazing, but such is life ;)

The poor patrons of Glascott's had to bear witness 
to our Skee Ball skills (or lack thereof)
and good times were had by all :)

 But all good things must come to an end, 
or a Snuggle Fest (sans Christmas jammies)...

May the new year bring a million more laughs and memories together :)

Friday, December 20, 2013

Play Date

I loved every minute having cupcakes with these three cuties!
This picture melts my heart...

Livie contagiously smiling as big as ever, 
Graham in his Super Hero T, 
Beulah watching and copying Liv's every move.
Giddily waiving to all the passersby. 
Snow in the reflection. 
Marshmallows dangling overhead.
Erin & Megan catching up at our table in the background.
Butter-cream frosting in all of our bellies. 


Sunday, December 15, 2013


Katie's hubby was out of town on Sunday so I had the lucky pleasure to be a "plus one" while she treated her account/clients to a sky-box suite at the Blackhawks game :)

I know my focus should have been on the ice to cheer for Chicago's insanely talented hockey team, but I was not-so-secretly loving every second of the business talk and taking part in convos with Katie's colleagues and clients. It's not even that I miss the world that "once was" for me, it's that I was SO wildly impressed to watch one of my best friends in her element. 

As we were leaving, several of Katie's direct reports were filling her in on how their team's sales numbers were looking with reassurance that "the year's going to end well". I couldn't stop smiling :) As if it's not enough to be a mother of two, a loving wife, a devoted family member, and a great friend to soo many... 
What a gift to get to see this side too!

20+ years later, I couldn't be more 
inspired by and proud of you, Katie Thomas :)


Friday, December 13, 2013

Wonderland Express

We did a "Hall-iday girls outing" to the Chicago Botanical Garden to take Stella to see the Wonderland Express showcase and it was so incredibly beautiful. Highly recommend!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

My Favorite Thing Today

Christmas Carol Ambush with Amy Poehler 

Specifically, skip straight to 1:55 
"Arrow? NO! Not dealing with that bullshit name"

And then to 3:30,
"No, no, no...he's a Hasidic Jew"

Laugh my face off

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Dude, you're EIGHT! 

Lay off the sauce ;)

by Jose


Save Frosty the Snowman.

No, not Spring!

Omg, I got drunk on Christmas day!

Well, goodnight and Merry Christmas.


Acrostic Poetry

I absolutely loved this one by Yaritza.

Winter, personified.  Jealous of snow. 

Gave me chills :)


When it snows it makes me happy!

I love the snow but I got to confess... I

Never get any attention. I always hear people playing and talking about snow!

The truth is that I act like Snow is my friend but I hate him. I'm jealous!

Every single time, they only mention me once and that's when I come!

Rolling on the floor, playing with kids... God I hate Snow. I wish I was him!

Needless to say, gold medals were given all around in class today :)


By Juan, age 9

Full Blown Twit

I was recently called a "Tweetard" for my lack of tweetivity on Twitter. 

Apparently this is a thing. 

So, about a decade late to the ballgame, I've succumb...

Feeling all sorts of cool that I'm no longer a total Twit, I decided to incorporate and introduce Twitter to The Creative Minds today.  Wow, what a giggle :)

First things first, I asked each student to create a Twitter handle. That was the only instruction. I purposely tried to keep it vague. 
Given they are all between the ages of 8 and 11 (notoriously a narcissistic phase), I guess I just assumed they'd each write their first Tweet in first-person; but per usual, this class continues to blow my mind. 

George was the first to read his aloud and it was impossible for me to contain my laughter. He was awarded a gold medal immediately after sharing this gem:


Tuesday, December 10, 2013


"Sometimes" when my niece is napping, I look at pictures of her on my phone because I can hardly wait for her to wake back up :)

If I weren't her Aunt, I'm fairly certain I'd have been fired for obsession by now ;)

This and This. Watch Both.

Monday, December 9, 2013

How in the World?

How in the world, 
did I get so Goddamn lucky?!

When I put the last stamp on my very last Christmas cards tonight, I went back through to count the number of states and countries my life has been blessed to visit the oh-so-awesome lives that my closest friends are living them in: 
Arizona (Scottsdale)
California (LA, San Diego, Ballard)
Canada (Vancouver) 
Colorado (Denver)
Connecticut (Ridgefield)
England (London & Sussex)
Florida (Tampa & Hernado)
Germany (Berlin)
Hawaii (Honolulu)
Illinois (Chicago and whole bunch a' suburbs)
Kentucky (Louisville)
Massachusetts (Boston & Jamaica Plain) 
Michigan (Detroit & Ann Arbor)
Minnesota (Minneapolis)
New Jersey (Hoboken & Lincroft)
New York (NYC & Rochester) 
Ohio (Columbus & Cleveland) 
Oregon (Portland)
Utah (Salt Lake City)
Washington (Seattle & Maple Valley)
Wisconsin (Madison, Milwaukee & Middleton)


With every single card I signed, my mental-mind-map kissed a memory from each and every place. What a blessing to have accrued, loved, lived, and learned from/with each and every single one :)

While flipping through TIME magazine tonight, I read an interview with Emma Thompson and it felt like she was literally talking directly to me with her quote that went:

"My godfather said that 'story' was about taking the chaotic jigsaw of life, making it into a picture and putting a frame around it, so that we could take a moment to have a look at it with a small sense of control and gratitude. Story and art are the humanizing elements of us."