On 29

I am a 29-year-old now. I asked a lot of people if 30 was hard for them or not, and got a lot of varied responses (spoiler alert: men were unanimously unfazed, or claimed to be).

I was telling a friend this week about my first Chicago birthday, when I turned 25. I applauded myself on being so much smarter and mature than I was when I was 20. That was true then, but it’s funny to me now that I saw myself that way at 25. I look forward to the person I’ll be at 30, 35, and beyond. But for now, I think 29 will be my best year yet.

Thanks to these folks for celebrating with me.


A Working Winter


My byline, on the main page of HG

It’s been a busy few weeks. Since I last updated in mid-January, I’ve learned that I have to move unexpectedly in April, that I’ll be going to Portland again that same month with two Columbus friends, and that I’ve been accepted as a regular (paid!) contributor to a major online publication. It’s an exciting and scary time, and that’s not even including my roller derby progress — but that’s a post for another time (soon).

I’m also performing standup for the first (and likely last) time this week. I’ve really enjoyed my intro FemCom class, but like with improv, I’ve done enough to have a completely new level of respect for those who do it, and to know it’s not for me — and that’s okay. Our instructor is amazing and lifts us up while also taking the time to give each of us meaningful, helpful constructive criticism. I’d recommend the class to anyone.

Now: About this apartment business. Neither Adele nor I knew what we were going to do longterm, but we were both planning on renewing our lease for our place when it ends in April. We knew it was likely I’d be leaving the lease about halfway through, but we thought we’d cross that bridge once we got to it. Instead, I’m looking at one last move within the city of Chicago — a mere 10 months after my most recent one. The woman who owns the condo we rent is selling the unit, and so we’re out. I totally get it, but it still threw us for a loop. It hadn’t even occurred to me that she would want to stop renting it out, but I also don’t know a single thing about real estate in Chicago.

On Saturday I talked to Christina, my old roommate in Avondale, about the possibility of me moving back in with her and her boyfriend for anywhere from one to six months. I’m very lucky that she was open to this discussion. I’m still going to look for other possible sublease or short-term lease options, but I’m thankful she’s got my back if nothing else works out. It looks like I may need to make my longer term plans a little sooner than I thought.

In terms of less-stressful things in my life right now, I’m pleased to say my second piece was published on Hello Giggles this week — my first byline/paid essay. I’m now on their list of regular contributors and can pick assignments from an editorial calendar as well as pitch my own stuff. I’ve emailed my editor about a series on being a roller derby rookie, which I would love to see get picked up. Fingers crossed.

I continue to cover Albany Park for DNAinfo and write Chicago-specific lists, articles, and videos for Chicago NewsCastic. It’s crazy to me that I have four regular writing gigs these days, three of which are paid. I’ve been putting the extra money in savings on top of what I can save from each paycheck.

And finally, I planned a second trip to Portland for April 3-7. I thought I’d see the city during the rainy season, just to make sure it’s the place I thought it was when I loved it in the fall. By some luck, I’ll be traveling with friends this time — Stacey and Shane, two Columbus friends, were planning a Portland trip for February. When I mentioned I was going back in April, Stacey suggested we coordinate schedules. We’ll be sharing a really great airbnb that week in the Alberta Arts district. I don’t have a lot of my to-do list aside from a Rose City Rollers bout.

It’s been an incredibly busy 2015, and even though I know I do it to myself, I can’t help but feel like something else is at play here. Every time I decide to scale back on something, I’m given a reason not to. I had just announced I was giving up on sending pitches to Hello Giggles when they got back to me and put me on their roster. I’m not sure what the universe is trying to tell me these days, about much of anything. I just know the timing is right for what change is to come.

A more organized space

I love my room at this apartment. I’ve never lived in a place with a connected bathroom, and now I worry I will never be able to go back to what my life was like before. I get up around 5:30 a.m. these days because my winter hours at work are 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. (of my own volition). I love being able to get ready in the morning without worrying about disturbing Adele — to the point where I’ve recently ordered a tiny blue one-cup coffee maker for my desk. Starting this week, I can push a button, take a shower, and have a to-go mug full of coffee ready for my commute, all without turning on a light in the kitchen. (Shout-out to my step-mom for getting me a bag of ground Tim Horton’s for Christmas.)

I’d joke about getting a mini fridge, but the thought is too tempting. I’m basically living in a very twee hotel room, and it’s amazing. I knew it was fate when I toured this place and saw my would-be bedroom was already painted yellow.

I am doing an Apartment Therapy thing called the January Cure, an exercise I did with Becca last winter. You get emails with different tasks for bettering and/or cleaning your apartment, and you make your own list of tasks, fixes, or projects that you want to accomplish in a month — mine include making a large-scale collage to hang in my bedroom and re-organizing my clothes closet. One of the first emails instructs you to plan a get-together at your place so you’ll have further motivation to follow through on your plans, and I decided to plan a Galentines Day brunch on the afternoon of Valentines Day.

I didn’t plan an event last year, but the January Cure was really important to me during that time. it was the month Kevin moved out, and I used to the Cure to help completely re-invent the apartment as my own. Oddly enough, those last three or four months I lived there were the only ones during which I bothered to hang up my own artwork and really make that place my home. I didn’t know at the time that it would short-lived, but I am still really glad I did it.

This year is a little different since the majority of my stuff is in my room and bathroom, but I’ve been making great strides in those two areas. Some January Cure emails give you easy tasks, like spending three minutes de-cluttering a drawer of your choosing. Others are more involved, such as clearing out expired and unusable items from your pantry and re-organizing your kitchen cabinets. This weekend’s project was cleaning your bedroom. I am really proud of how mine looks now.

Bonus: While looking for a waffle maker for my Galentines Day brunch this weekend, Jaimi found this treasure at Brown Elephant in Andersonville:


It was only $3! I also found an amazing white Ann Taylor dress there — it has pockets.

I’m really looking forward to having a bunch of awesome ladies over for brunch next month.