as 2017 winds down.

autumn in norway

It’s been AGES, right? I say this so much. Then I secretly vow to be better at blogging…and then I fall off again. To be fair, I’ve been fairly busy, and I have so much to tell you!

Since my last post, well, if you followed me on instagram or twitter, you know that I was abroad for most of September. I got to travel with Jennifer, who is one of my very best friends and also my soul sister, and it was amazing. It’s been a month since I’ve been back and I still can’t form words. Not only did I get to eat great food, see beautiful sights, and meet amazing people, but I got to spend a month with Jennifer! Having long distance best friends is hard, so we pretty much crammed all of our girl time into those three and a half weeks.

Here are a few photo collages from the trip:

💕💕💕💕🐝🌼👯
(I stole this one from Jennifer)

Oh #copenhagen #denmark, I love you so so so much ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Well hello there Denmark! I certainly did not expect to love you so much!! ❤️ #Denmark #copenhagen #europe #travel

A wonderful day in #norway ☀️😍

I got back to Chicago and was immediately thrust back into full-time and freelance work. I worked some when I was abroad, but it was different, working in a hotel room in Italy or Denmark rather than my apartment in Chicago. There, I’d open the window and listen to the languages and the different sounds and it was so awesome. Here, Fi is still making stinky messes every 40 minutes or so. I don’t have much room to spread out like I want. They’re tearing down a building across the street and for a week straight, my entire building would shake while they were doing their work. Charlotte has grown a lot, and she is a very naughty kitten! I’m covered in scratches and bites. She’s not the little rag doll she was the first day she came home. She’s feisty and vocal and strong-minded. I’ve had to start using the squirt bottle on her. I hate doing it, but she’ll just keep being naughty otherwise. Sometimes it’s exhausting. But then she tires out and collapses on me, and holds on to me so tight, and all my exasperation with her evaporates.

Also during October, Aidan went to homecoming (I KNOW), I got a massage, I got all my watches fixed, I cleaned out a lot of clothes and things to donate, and I cleaned out the bathroom and threw out four bags of old shampoo and body washes and things. I did a panel at Windy City RWA with my fellow ChiYA bloggers. I kept up (mostly) with my Personal Power University class (don’t ask me about the homework I still have to turn in!). And Aidan popped in for a long weekend. It was cool spending time with my awesome kid. Adam’s parents also popped in for a bit, and that was cool.

The Fam

I also spent weeks trying to catch up and I think I’m *finally* there. It felt like my To-Do lists were growing even though I was steadily doing things. I haven’t been back to yoga, or barre (haha in years for this one), I barely got any new writing done. I interviewed for a job but ultimately decided it wasn’t for me. That was a weird position to be in. So much is going on all the time…and the Day Job is busy. So it does seem like the list of things to do is never ending. So, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that I came home after my massage Saturday and slept for hours and hours. Got up, maybe had a snack, and then slept all night.

But now, it’s two minutes to midnight at the time of this typing. That means November is not only looming, but it’s HERE, and it will definitely be here when this post goes live. Every weekend through the end of the year is booked except one and I just hope I can sleep in at least two of them. Soon there will be Thanksgiving and Christmas and expectations and family and oh God. I can’t even think about it now.

Instead, I’m going to bed. Till next time!

Just me

disney 2017.

My Happy Place 2017

If you’ve been following me on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, this is not news to you… but I went to Disney World again! :) We stayed in the Polynesian, which was my holy grail resort, and now I want to *always* stay there. Beautiful grounds, comfortable room and bed, fun tiki bar with yummy drinks, great service all the time, monorails, close to Magic Kingdom… it was just amazing.

(I asked Aidan if he’d rather to go Disney every year and stay at a cheaper resort, or go every few years and stay at the Poly, and he picked option 2. When I asked if he’d rather go every year and stay at the Poly every year [MY preference] he said that it was a lot of money and that I work too much and too hard as it is. I have the best kid ever.)

Some of my favorite moments:
– riding Avatar: Rite of Passage (omG AMAzING!) and seeing Pandora, which is beautiful
– seeing Bev at Garden Grill
– Lola getting a Bippity Boppity Boutique makeover
– awesome dinner time conversations
– campfire brownie
– Happily Ever After
– playing in the photo booths
– finding the rose gold Minnie ears!
– running into Josh & Kelly

It was a really, really, really good trip.

I put together a few collages for your viewing pleasure, and there’s also a link to a full album of photos. Enjoy, and I’ll see ya soon!

Magical

Very Magical

So Magical

The Magicallest

summer 2017.

As the second half of August descends upon us, I can only sit here in a bit of disbelief. Seems like it was JUST June, and Aidan had just arrived, and we were ready for a fun, busy summer. The problem with fun, busy summers is that they speed by.

We kicked off the season with a trip to the Once Upon a Time Convention here in Chicago. Aidan is not into the show, so he hung out in the hotel room and played video games. I attended a billion panels and Q&As, autograph sessions, concerts, and photo ops, and even got to chat with some of the actors in the bar. Michael Coleman is a sweetheart to the max. In fact, most of the actors were amazingly gracious and open and friendly. A few of them seemed exhausted. I sprung for the GOLD package, which wasn’t cheap, but was worth it. I got 9 autographs, had an assigned seat in the auditorium, got free admission to the concert and karaoke, and got to attend special panels. I also sprung for a few photo ops. Those were cool, but I managed to look stupid in EVERY SINGLE PICTURE. *sigh* Anyway. Very amazing experience but also EXHAUSTING. I don’t think I’ll be able to do that again, but we’ll see. I’m glad I did it.

Once Upon a Time Photos

At the end of June, the ALA conference came to Chicago. Rena and I hit up the exhibition hall and got to meet/see a lot of great authors, load up on free ARCs, and network. It was tiring but worth it! And right after ALA finished, Aidan and I went to see Aladdin, which SUCH A GOOD SHOW!! We went to Stage Door and got to take pictures with most of the main actors.

Here are some of the ALA pictures:

ALA Annual 2017

July, Aidan and I headed off to the beautiful and peaceful mountains in Salt Lake City, UT. A writing retreat for me, and just relaxing for Aidan. We were there with Rena, Traci, Nia, and Anna and it was a really great week. I hammered out a lot of my revisions, got to be in a nature, and got to zip line!! It was a great trip, I did not want to come back to the hustle and bustle of Chicago.

Utah 2017

The next day, Aidan’s best friend Benito came to town to spend the week with him, and that was great. Benito’s pretty cool, and we did things like go to Navy Pier, go on a Shoreline architecture tour, and eat dinner at Sakura. Then Rena and I trekked out to Naperville to write and to attend the Angie Thomas/Becky Abertalli event!

Summer 2017 Collage

We had a week of regular life. I turned in my revisions to my agent on July 30, and spent the rest of the day packing for Disney World! We stayed in the Polynesian, my HOLY GRAIL resort, and had a wonderful time!

MK_MSBRCART_20170731_404057053973

One last week of summer, and then Aidan headed back to Ohio on August 12. He started high school on the 14th and seems to be doing well so far. I spent Sunday at the Four Seasons getting pampered, then spent the rest of the day shopping on Michigan Ave. It was a perfect Ronni Day.

In the midst of all this was working, dealing with a sick Fi, raising a rambunctious Charlotte, writing, and freelance. Trying and failing not to overdo things—I’m still technically recovering from surgery and I did feel the sting somedays. I really need to chill out.

Now, I am gearing up for a very busy fall. Travel, freelance, work, writing. September is going to be amazing, October is going to be busy, and then it’ll be time to plan for the holidays. 2017 is flying by and it’s bittersweet. But life’s good, and I’m so excited about what’s to come!

More soon….

Greg is Weird

On April 30, 2015, my stepfather passed away.

I still haven’t fully processed it, because I can’t believe it’s real.

And sometimes I do remember it’s real, and it’s like a punch in the gut. And yet, I smile because I don’t want to make anyone else cry, even though I’m crying inside.

My mom and Greg started dating in 1995. He’d actually written her a note asking her out, so I tease her about it all the time saying he gave her a note that said “Do you like me? Check yes or no.”

Apparently, it worked. They got married in June of 2000. They eloped to Vegas, which was not even surprising, knowing them. I was so happy for them.

From the beginning, he treated me like his own. He knew the perfect gifts to give me for holidays. He and my mom flew me out to Las Vegas for my 30th birthday and paid for everything. It was crazy. He’d give me a $10 bill and tell me to get him a pop and keep the change. It was years later that I realized that was his way of giving me spending money, because while you’re gambling, beverages are free! And he was always gambling! He gave me money for the slot machines. I am not a risk-taker, so I’d win $2-3 and then quit. I was richer when I came back than I was when I landed.

I remember one Christmas, he woke my mom and me up at 3am because he was SO EXCITED for Christmas to start. And then the power went out. We opened gifts at 3am by candlelight and I was so scared the wrapping paper would catch a flame and we’d burn down the whole building.

He walked me down the aisle when I married Chris. I remember being a bit nervous to ask him. My mom said he got choked up. Then he said he’d be “honored” to do it.

He said “oinky the badoinky” instead of “poop.” He always made a sad crying noise when I had to leave Ohio and go back to Chicago or wherever.

He fed the animals that come up on their balcony. He bought entire loaves of bread for the squirrels and birds, and now they come to the door and look in, waiting. The past few days, it’s been Aidan and me feeding them. My mom will take over when we head back.

He spoiled my mom rotten. Whatever she wanted and he could get for her, he did. I could have loved him for that alone.

I never realized it, but now I know that he would have done anything for me, had I only asked. I just never had to ask.

But I guess I can’t ask him to come back.

RIP Greg. I know you’re playing the most awesome poker game and winning ALL the money! Thank you for being a dad to me and thank you for taking such good care of my mommy.

everywhere and nowhere.

Ronni

Well, it’s been a busy 12 days. I’ve had two acting classes since I last wrote, had a cold and gotten over it, and traveled to Los Angeles.

Acting is going well. My scene partner and I were really in the flow and we got some really nice compliments on our last two performances. And then, last Tuesday, the teacher said he’d want to do a One Act of the play and use me and Gabe. That, my friends, is super high praise, and almost brought me to tears. The best part is that I had so much fun working on the scene. I loved my character, I loved the situation, I loved working with Gabe. I am finally learning, slowly but surely, to let go. To take big risks. To go BALLS OUT. It’s paying off and reminding me why I went back into acting.

I’ve been assigned a new scene and a new partner. This one is super challenging and I’m really going to have to dig to figure out what the heck. But you know what? Bring it. Bring it all the way on. I’m learning how to work and research and analyze. This can’t do anything but help me. So… God help me.

Untitled

Earlier this week, I did something crazy! I flew all the way to Los Angeles to attend a special screening of the movie Divergent. The screening was through All It Takes, a charity started by Shailene Woodley and her mom that helps train children to become leaders. I wish I’d have had camps like that when I was younger!

I figured if I was going all the way out there, I was going big, so I sprung for the VIP package so I could meet some of the actors from the movie! I was so excited I could barely sleep! I got a new outfit and everything.

I was absolutely heartbroken that the main actor I wanted to see–Theo James–did NOT attend the after party, and I’m still not over it. I really, really, really wanted to meet him. You guys have no idea. Maybe you do. Whatever. But honestly, the number of near misses I have with him is getting out of hand. I’d like to just MEET HIM ALREADY OK Universe???

I did see him introduce the movie which… meh. I wanted to actually talk to him. Maybe someday. *sigh* I mean seriously, Universe. Get on that please and thank you.

Anyway, I did get to meet many other actors from the movie, including Shailene Woodley, who is the star. She is a total sweetheart. She seemed so excited that I’d traveled from Chicago for the event. Gave me tons of hugs. It was so cute when she introduced herself to me, as if I didn’t know who she was.

Me and Shailene Woodley
me and shailene woodley
she’s a sister on that priestess path

I met Christian Madsen, Ben Lloyd-Hughes, Amy Newbold, and the author of the series, Veronica Roth. I had the most fun talking to Christian, Amy, and Shai. I also met Shai’s mom, Lori, who is just as huggy and sweet as her daughter is.

(I apologize in advance for the picture quality. The lighting was dim and I was using my phone. Sometimes the iPhone 5 takes lovely photos. Unfortunately, this was not one of those times.)

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me and christian madsen, who plays al in the movie
really awesome guy, fun and super easy to talk to

Untitled
me and ben lloyd-hughes, who plays will in the movie
we are fuzzy

Me and Amy Newbold
me and amy newbold, who plays molly in the movie
absolute doll
(and jai courtney, who plays eric, in the background!)

Untitled
me and veronica roth, author of the divergent series

While I was in Los Angeles, I spent time with some friends and family. I got to see Amy, who I hadn’t seen since 2009. I always have such a good time hanging out with Amy. We’ve known each other for nearly 14 years, a fact which blows my mind.

Me and Amy
me and amy

I also got to see my brother- and sister-in-law, and we ate lunch at a really yummy place called Stacked. Basically, you order everything custom, you do it in an iPad from your table. It’s amazing. I could get exactly what I wanted. I got pulled pork with pickles and fries, and IT WAS DELICIOUS. I didn’t take a picture of my food, but I did get a picture with Eli and Melissa. I look like I’m in pain. It’s just me not being used to all that lovely sunshine.

Melissa, Eli, and Me

Let me tell you something. The second I stepped out of the airport into that mild, sunny weather, I felt like myself again. I felt like and free and happy. I knew the winter was hard on me, but I had no idea how hard. The weather was a lovely 87F and I soaked it all up like a dry plant needing water. The hot sun felt so good on my skin, and the light breeze was perfect. The sky was a deep blue, and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. It was absolutely beautiful. I even spent some time by the pool at my hotel, just letting the sun warm me all over. I loved it.

Ronni

I miss the heat.

Shine

And the views.

Malibu

And the overall beauty out there. Mountains, beaches, the sky. I kept telling Amy how lucky she is to have all those pretty mountains to look at, although driving on them would be scary as hell! All the twists and turns and cliffs? DUDE. I also miss the cool people I met out there. It was a great night of connecting… I hope we all meet again someday.

la agrees with me!!

LA obviously agrees with me. I wish I could afford to live out there. Not even necessarily to pursue acting or anything. Just to be in all that lovely sunshine, to have that beach, the Pacific ocean, the bright blue sky all the time. Not to mention, being so close to Disneyland. La la la, maybe someday.

Ocean Love

I’m ready to go somewhere else now. I don’t think Adam understands the extent of my wanderlust. He’s like “We’re going to Jekyll this summer,” and I’m all like “I CAN’T WAIT UNTIL THIS SUMMER TO GO SOMEWHERE ELSE I WANT TO TRAVEL NOW!” I’ve been looking at the Living Social Escapes and being so tempted to book one of those packages that includes flights and everything. I really want to travel out of the country.

Someday, I will.

Till next time…..

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