Flooding Susie’s Inbox

April 3, 2011

Lap of Luxury

Filed under: Chicago, Friends, Houses — sashyjane @ 1:56 pm

I’m all moved in! And by all moved in I mean my clothes are in my apartment. I still don’t have any furniture, sheets, pillows, basic living necessities. I did buy one towel so I could shower before church this morning. It’s a good thing I bought that or I wouldn’t have had any covers last night. In what was arguably the least restful sleep of my life, I spent last night on the floor in long johns, long john shirt, flannel pajamas, 2 pairs of socks, gloves, a knit hat and my puffy coat, covered with a towel. I fashioned a pillow out of a tote bag stuffed with a puffer vest and another coat. I went to bed at 9:00 p.m. and woke up about 37 times before I finally got up at 6:30 a.m.

Why was I so bundled up, you ask? Because when I arrived at my apartment yesterday morning, it was 10,000 degrees (Celsius) so I turned the radiator down. Turns out that I turned it off and then I couldn’t for the life of me make it come back on that night. About 2:30 a.m., it came roaring back to life and it was once again sweltering. Surely there’s a happy medium  between frigid and roasting.

Since I don’t have a TV, I haven’t hooked up my cable and internet yet (I’m currently blogging from the comfort of my across-the-street Starbucks.) Since there’s no cable or internet and no furniture, yesterday afternoon and evening were quite boring. I could’ve called a friend but that would’ve required showering and showering would’ve required drying off and drying off would’ve required getting my “covers” wet. So I just went to bed instead. To entertain myself, I listened to a CD Mama sent me a few weeks ago. It reads the entire New Testament aloud to you over the course of a month. I listened to 24 days worth. The actors are pretty terrible – the guy playing Jesus sounds like Lyle Waggoner.

To further entertain myself, I made a rough floor plan of how I’d like to arrange furniture once I have it. Keep in mind that the only “design” program I have is Publisher and this is not even remotely to scale. Who knows if any of this will even work. But for now, let’s pretend, shall we?

I didn’t attempt to draw the bathroom or kitchen because I knew they’d look ridiculously out of scale. What do you think? Do you see a better layout?

This morning I went to Park Community Church, a mere 3 blocks away. I didn’t love it but I met some very nice people and scoped out some foine fellas (Lincoln Park seems to be chock full of handsome gents.) Ethos is still my #1 favorite church though.

My good friend Kelly will be here Thursday!! HOORAY!!! I’m SUPER excited for her visit because it’s been far too long since I last saw her, she’s hilarious and she is a guaranteed good time. Kelly is a good traveler and likes to do local things and eat at non-chain places so I have big plans for our culinary experimentation. Any suggestions for where I should take her?

Alrighty, I’m off to find some lunch and then maybe take a walk to stave off boredom. Only one more night of sleeping on the floor – my bed is delivered tomorrow afternoon!

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April 1, 2011

April Fools To Me

Filed under: Chicago, Houses — sashyjane @ 5:07 pm

Today has been one of those days where you just want to crawl under the covers, go to sleep and start over tomorrow. However, it has a happy ending (fingers crossed since it’s only 4:00 p.m.) – I’m in my apartment! I don’t have a single stick of furniture or any creature comforts but to quote Mrs. Potts, “these things take time, my dear.” Here are a few pictures of the barren (until Monday when my mattress, box springs and bed frame are delivered) place.

Super tall cabinets

Fireplace and double closets

View from my back porch

Dining room but I think I'll make it my bedroom

And the complete tour:

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March 27, 2011

The Arteest Is In

Filed under: Family, Sewing — sashyjane @ 9:58 pm

Both of my sisters are highly artistic. Unfortunately, the artist gene – like toned thighs and the confidence to wear a tube top – is something that I don’t have.  One particularly artistic sister, Susie, has her BFA and just painted this little number for her bedroom.

If you like what you see, Susie is offering her skillz as an arteest up to you, John and Jane Q. Public. Take a look at her portfolio of other work here. Interested in having her create a custom piece? Contact her by email at susieroupe{at}gmail{dot}com.

In other artistic sister news, my older sister, Joy has a children’s clothing line. She sells her darling things on Etsy here.

March 25, 2011

Adventures in Real Estating

Filed under: Chicago, Houses — sashyjane @ 5:03 pm

In my last post, I thought this apartment search would be a short and sweet little jaunt around town where I’d find the perfect apartment 30 minutes into my search. Not so, it seems. After looking at 16 places, I finally found the right one! I’m just waiting to hear back from the leasing agent on whether or not I’m approved.

Remember the first apartment that was absolutely perfect and gorgeous except for the unfortunate bathroom situation? Although I LOVED it, I decided the bathroom was a deal breaker so I  went out with a rental broker to look at some properties in Lakeview and Lincoln Park. The two apartments I posted about previously were not available so I saw some that were either smaller or more expensive. I wasn’t sold. I contacted two more brokers and went out with one this morning and one this afternoon. What a broker hussy!

The places I saw this morning were all very nice. Three were in Lincoln Park and one was in Old Town, just a block away from The Second City. The Old Town apartment was inhabited by a guy, a fact made obvious by the sheetless bed, enormous TV and dirty toilet bowl.  When walking out of the bathroom, the hem of my coat accidentally knocked a tube of lotion from this fellow’s bedside table.  The broker, building manager and I all looked at the tube then at each other. We all chuckled uncomfortably before I picked the lotion up and placed it back on the nightstand. I’ve washed my hands about 10 times since.

Two of the other Lincoln Park places were nice but very small and lacked the charm and character I was hoping to find. But at the third apartment, it was as if the heavens opened up and angels were singing. It has everything I’ve been looking for! It’s in a great location in Lincoln Park, has hardwood floors, a separate dining room, fireplace, back deck/porch area, it even has granite counter tops and new cabinetry! I’m absolutely in love with it so I hope the leasing company accepts my application.

Exterior of my new apartment

Even though I’d just found “the apartment” I kept my afternoon appointment with the last broker. It’s a good thing I did because he was ridiculously tall and handsome! Sort of a cross between McGee and Dinozzo. He showed me some beautiful places and laughed at my jokes so obviously, he has fantastic taste :) One of the buildings was a bit out of my price range but I fell in love with the two apartments we saw. They were sunny with tons of built ins, large kitchens,  huge closets, shiny parquet floors and great views. Seeing those apartments was the real estate equivalent of trying on a wedding gown outside of my budget.

Hopefully my real estate search has come to an end and this time next week I’ll be hauling my suitcases north about 15 blocks. Now I just need a job and some furniture. Piece of cake, right?

UPDATE: Here are some pictures of a similar unit in the same building. My unit is prettier.

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March 22, 2011

House Hunters Chicago

Filed under: Chicago, Houses — sashyjane @ 3:30 pm

I’ve been looking for my more permanent apartment this week since my time at this place runs out April 2. The place I saw today was so charming and in such a beautiful neighborhood that it was hard to be objective about it. But I’m going to play House Hunters and give you a rundown of each place. And like House Hunters, I’ll probably pick the place that everybody least expects.

Apartment 1

Pros: Beautiful neighborhood, convenient location, gorgeous architectural details (leaded glass windows, antique and ornate wood paneling, hardwood floors, fireplace), large living area (23×15), quiet building, historic house that’s been converted, tons of charm and character.

Cons: Small kitchen, bathroom across the hall (you have to leave the apartment to get to it but it’s still private), kitchen and bathroom could both use updating (bathroom has green carpet in it), top of my budget (rent includes heat, water, trash and electricity)

Apartment 2 (I’ll see this in person tomorrow)

Pros: Clean, decent location (close to public transit), fair amount of storage, decent sized, separate kitchen, bathroom inside the unit, sunny, safe building

Cons: Top of my budget (includes gas, water and trash), smaller living area than Apartment 1, carpet instead of hardwood, no architectural details, move in fee required

Apartment 3 (I’ll see this in person tomorrow)

Pros: Excellent price (includes water, gas and trash), cute details, separate, decent sized kitchen, sunny, pretty vintage building, good location, close to transit, front-facing unit so I can replay scenes from Rear Window

Cons: Smaller living area than Apartment 1, carpet instead of hardwood, move in fee required

So, which one will she choose? The vintage studio with lots of charm? The clean studio in a safe building? Or the sunny studio with separate kitchen?

Stay tuned…

March 18, 2011

Longing for Spring

Filed under: Chicago, Doggies! — sashyjane @ 2:48 pm

Poor little fella is hoping this mild weather will stick around so he can come out to play.

In other news, I’m going to see some of the Writing 6 shows tonight to get a taste of what I’ll be doing this time next year. It’s kind of weird going to a show by myself. I’m going to do my best not to leer and look creepy while I nurse my drink at a corner table. Fingers crossed!

March 13, 2011

The Wow Factor

Filed under: Chicago, Jesus — sashyjane @ 10:20 pm

I’ve mentioned a time or 12 that I love to watch television. Monday nights are for Dancing with the Stars, Tuesday nights are for Glee and What Not to Wear, Thursdays are for Community, The Office, Parks and Recreation and 30 Rock and Friday nights are for Say Yes to the Dress.

Say Yes to the Dress is one of those obnoxious  shows that I cannot stop watching. Almost every bride is an insufferable narcissist with an intolerable accent who has taken out a loan to afford some giant monstrosity of a dress and I find myself loving to loathe them. They all come to Kleinfeld’s with the hope of finding their “dream gown with the wow factor.” Some of them try on hundreds of dresses, not satisfied with anything in their budget while a select few walk in, try on only one dress and fall absolutely in love with it.

This is one of my favorite brides at which to violently roll my eyes.

Here they are, in Kleinfeld’s, a salon full of thousands of dresses and they’ve only tried on one. That can’t be the right one, right? The bride, let’s call her Carmen Giordano, waited three weeks for an appointment, invited her mother, future mother-in-law, first cousin, best friend from summer camp ’97, boss from that Christmas she worked at Applebee’s, high school drama coach, that girl who was sitting across from her on the bus that time and of course, her tough-as-jerky grandmother along for the experience. She went over her strict dress criteria with her hardened sales associate whose tough-as-jerkiness rivals the grandmother’s and now Carmen is looking forward to the long, laborious task of trying on dress after dress in the quest for her “dream gown.”

But what’s this? The first dress is spectacular. It combines the ridiculous pick up skirt she wanted with the strapless sweetheart top and it’s encrusted with enough “bling” to make the rap industry blush. Carmen is in love with it and she can’t wait to spend “her special day” in this dress. She tells the confession camera, “When my fiance Tony to sees me in this gown, he’s gonna be blown away.” But it’s the first dress. The first dress can’t be THE dress, can it? Not with 2,000 other dresses hanging expectantly in the stock room.

That’s how I felt about Ethos this morning. Not the loving to loathe it part, the this can’t be the one part. After last week’s misstep, this is the first church I’ve tried on my church list and I absolutely loved it! The teaching was fantastic, the music was somewhat Nashvillian and the people couldn’t have been friendlier. I even made a few friends! Hallelujah! Praise Jesus!

So now I’m faced with a dilemma: do I continue to church shop or do I come back to the first dress? Ethos gave me the “wow factor” but there are so many other churches in the stockroom.

March 12, 2011

Thai-ing something new or It really IS windy in the Windy City!

Filed under: Books, Boring, Chicago, Food — sashyjane @ 5:10 pm

Cut me some slack on my terrible title, I’ve only got two weeks worth of writing classes under my belt.

Let me first apologize for not posting more often but do you have any idea how many episodes of Pit Boss are broadcast each week? Just try to resist precious pit bulls and costumed Little People. I dare you.  Somehow I managed to tear myself away from the television yesterday afternoon and take a nice walk around town.  I bought two books on clearance from Urban Outfitters (they were each $10 and I’ve wanted this one for a while. This one was written by a couple whose wedding was featured by Martha Stewart), perused the overpriced stuff at Anthropologie and successfully avoided a GreenPeace worker on the sidewalk.

All that walking built up a thirst so I stopped in a Starbucks for an overpriced glass of tea. I whipped out my notebook and recorded the people and atmosphere. To the untrained eye, I probably looked like every other pretentious writer who goes to Starbucks to be seen writing but the careful observer could discern that I am actually a pretentious writer who goes to Starbucks to be seen writing.

After thoroughly recording my subjects, it was time for supper. Since I was already out, I decided to Thai out Garlic & Chili, the tiny Thai kitchen just a half block from my apartment.  Garlic & Chili is located in the bottom of a transient motel so it isn’t exactly fine dining but the staff was super friendly and quick. I took my chicken pad Thai and spring rolls to go and they did not disappoint. While the pad Thai recipe was very different from the dish I loved in Augusta, it was still delicious. So delicious that I spent the rest of the night prostrate on the sofa, bemoaning the fact that I ate the whole thing.

Later that night, I was startled awake by a high-pitched howling and loud smacking noises. These noises were very different from the loud clunking my living room radiator makes so it was slightly concerning. Turns out, they don’t call it the Windy City for nothing – the wind was whipping and it hasn’t stopped all day.  The sun has finally come out now so I think I’ll go out for another walk. Just as soon as I watch 5 more episodes of Pit Boss.

Shorty and Hercules photo from here.

March 6, 2011

Separation of Church and a Clever Post Name

Filed under: Chicago, Jesus — sashyjane @ 10:30 pm

I awoke this morning with plans to attend Ethos Presbyterian Church. Just a short train ride and walk away… or so I thought. I couldn’t find it (turns out it’s in a theater that I walked by 2 or 3 times) so instead, I wandered around the neighborhood, bought a packet of almonds and a cup of coffee and stumbled upon St. Paul’s United Church of Christ.

 

Inside St. Paul's

I’ve never been to a United Church of Christ. I mistakenly thought it was the Church of Christ that Annie belongs to. I thought to myself, “Annie’s solid, it’ll be nice to try something new. It’ll be kind of fun to praise the Lord in a different denomination.” Turns out that United Church of Christ and Church of Christ are about as different as PCUSA and PCA, Democrats and Republicans, ACORN and the Tea Party. You get the picture. While the theology and teaching were not my cup of communion wine, the music and the church itself were absolutely beautiful!

Exterior of The Moody Church

This evening, I attended a contemporary service (praise band, they read the scripture from an iPhone) at The Moody Church near my house. The teaching was good and solid but I prefer a more traditional style of worship. The keyboardist was pretty cute. He had sort of a Mr. Rogers appeal and strawberry blond hair. I’d just about finished planning our future together when I noticed he wore a thumb ring. Too bad, we could’ve been so happy together.

If I could blend the music and building from this morning with the teaching from tonight, I’d have my ideal church. The search continues!

Still on my list to try:

  1. Ethos (now that I know where it is!)
  2. Park Community Church
  3. Lincoln Square Presbyterian
  4. CityView Presbyterian
  5. Covenant Presbyterian

March 5, 2011

First Day of School and Other Updates

Filed under: Chicago, Writing — sashyjane @ 7:53 pm

I had my first day of class on Tuesday and it was a lot of fun!I can tell it’s going to be really good for me and that I’m going to learn more than I thought possible.

In Throw Mama from the Train*, Billy Crystal’s character Larry has a personal motto that he’s not very good at sticking to, “A writer writes. Always.” Larry teaches writing courses and is supposedly working on a novel but he can’t seem to get words on the page.

I can identify. I’ve been quasi calling myself a writer but I haven’t been writing anything. I can’t even seem to compose a cover letter for job applications because I’m terrified of putting something awful down on paper.

In class, we wrote stuff and it didn’t have to be good – we were just writing. Our instructor told us to value process over result, quantity over quality and persistence over talent. Simple but freeing advice. I now feel a lot better about applying for jobs that require writing samples. Who cares if a lot of what I write is pure crap? Of course I won’t submit everything I put on paper, but not putting anything down at all certainly isn’t getting me any jobs or improving my form.

I’ve even been enjoying my homework. But much like this blog, the hard part is forcing myself to get over my laziness and fears to just write something!

In other news, below you’ll find a little slideshow of some pictures of my apartment that I took.  Keep in mind that I did not decorate this place but it has been quite cozy and comfy.  I can’t make 3 of the pictures turn the right way… sorry.

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I haven’t been out to eat since Kristal and Yancie left but after some careful research, I’ve determined that there’s a delicious and cheap Thai restaurant (Garlic & Chili)  exactly one block from my apartment. I’m trying to hold out and not eat there just yet because I know once I start, I won’t be able to stop. Dangerous.

I went to Whole Foods today to find some Clemmy’s brand ice cream and spent the entire time scoffing at the patrons and products. It’s rather appropriate that Whole Foods is just off Superior St. because the air of superiority in that place could choke a person.  I doubt I’ll become a regular patron.

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