this week.

Seven years ago today I moved to this city which I both love and hate. #Chicago

This past Tuesday, St. Patrick’s Day, marked my seven year anniversary of living in Chicago. Adam, my friend Andy, and I packed trucks and my car, and the three of us, plus little Lucy, took the six hour trek to the Windy City. I was excited and looking forward to a new life with Adam. I didn’t anticipate the depression and anxiety that would overcome me once I settled in. It was quite the adjustment and I still often feel out of sorts. But there are some things that are so cool about living here:

1. Being able to do the majority of my working from home.
2. Finding a yoga community that I love.
3. All the authors I get to meet.
4. All the cool people I’ve met.
5. Being able to work on TV and movie sets.

It was an OK week. There was freelance work, meetings, yoga, A Different World on Netflix, Insurgent 3D (#hotmess), and movie theater food! See, I don’t go to the movies often, so if I am hungry when I go, I like to splurge on concessions. I had a hot dog, nachos, and Reese’s Pieces, which I am still working on actually. Makes it more special. I missed the Insurgent swag, but after seeing the movie, I’m kind of OK with that. It was OK, but I enjoyed in like how I enjoyed Twilight. Meaning I laughed for two hours at stuff that wasn’t meant to be funny, etc. etc. Good times. Daniel Dae Kim + Theo James on a big ass screen in 3D though was almost too much for me to handle. I’m pretty much over that silly crush I had on Theo, but I’ll never stop thinking he’s gorgeous, even with his stupid beard.

Waiting for #Insurgent3D. Rocking these Real3D glasses like a boss. ???? ????????

A photo posted by Ronni (@lilrongal) on


this was me waiting on the movie.

I’ve already surpassed my goal of seeing three movies in a theater this year! I saw Mockingjay Part 1 in January, The Duff in February, and Cinderella and Insurgent this month. I may go see Home at some point (a movie with a cute black girl with naturally curly hair as the lead? yes please!), and then there’s nothing that interests me really until November, when Mockingjay Part 2 comes out. I’m just not into the Avengers stuff like everyone else is. I love the movie scores, though, so there is that. I used to be into the Batman movies, but now that they’re rebooting AGAIN, man, I’m just tired!

I’m already halfway through my 2015 Reading Challenge goal, so I probably need to make it higher. Right now I am reading BURNING KINGDOMS by Lauren DeStefano, who has a really great Twitter feed.

I totally was expecting Saturday to be exhausting and overwhelming and it totally wasn’t. Maybe because I got an OK night’s sleep, and I drank a Blue Edition Red Bull. But I had to get up at 7:15am, which is just cruel for a Saturday (unless I’m at Disney World) to head to The Dailey Method for kid room duty.

I am supposed to report to duty at 8am to give moms time to arrive, and I like to use that time to you know, suck down the Red Bull and eat a Luna Bar. This morning when I arrived, the cutest baby was already there, sitting in a bouncy chair and drinking a bottle. I was a bit taken back and surprised someone just plopped the baby there. And he was happy as can be, kicking his little feet and sucking down the formula. Turns out he was the son of one of the teachers there, and turns out that he was probably my favorite of the day.

I spent four hours in the kid room today and it was truly enjoyable. All the kids were good and they listened well, and even though there were diapers, so many poopy diapers, and they made huge messes, it was still fun. And Cole, my buddy who’d been plopped earlier that day, was just the perfect baby size. Squishy but solid, adorable little face. It was too much! I didn’t want his mommy to take him home!

After that, I came home, had lunch, then headed over to Meksha for a workshop with Seane Corn. It was the third time I got to do a workshop with her and it was incredible. Seane is the real deal. She’s so frank and so out there with everything. And I love it. She’s a great speaker, and the practice today was perfect. Just the right amount of challenge and restoration.

The amazing #seanecorn and dorky me. #mokshayogachicago #flowandglow @mokshayogachicago
me and seane corn. i look like i am trying to eat her.

Seane Corn and Me
when i first met her five years ago

I ran into some friends there who I hadn’t seen in a while, some in years. That was soooo nice! I am kind of a loner, but getting love and light from people is so so so good.

So happy to see this cutie!!! @cassyoga ???????????? #flowandglow @mokshayogachicago #mokshayogachicago
me and cassandra. i met her at my VERY FIRST yoga class at moksha nearly five years ago!

I’m easing back into my yoga practice and it feels really good. It’s also brings up a lot of crap again, and that whole feeling of not knowing where I fit keeps coming back. All the worlds I am in are so different. They overlap in some ways but not at all in some others. I go to Moksha and everyone is eating healthy, raw, organic this or that. I go on set and people have no problems scarfing down the Cheetos. I go days where I feel guilty as hell for eating meat, and other days where I’m like “Screw it, I want a corn dog and I’m going to have one and enjoy it dammit.” And frankly, I LIKE steak and I like corn dogs, and I like bacon. I hate feeling guilty about the things I eat. Talk about being privileged, being able to have those sorts of feelings about food, right? I can’t remember a time that eating was something I could do without a lot of issues coming along with it. It gets confusing and scary and it’s often easier to avoid eating altogether until I can’t stand it and have to get something in my stomach.

Plus, eating healthy is HARD when Doritos and Reese’s Pieces taste SO GOOD. But I need more veggies in my life so I must work on getting more. Especially spinach. Green beans. Mmm spinach and green beans. I seriously go weeks without eating vegetables. That’s NOT GOOD at all.

And ugh, I already have new split ends. I might need to accept the fact that super long hair won’t ever be a reality for me unless I buy it and have it installed. :(

Maybe eating more spinach will help my hair grow. The biotin is working magic on my nails, which don’t even need it, but my hair. Please grow and stop splitting and breaking hair! Argh.

I got up at 7:15am. It is now 4:30am and I haven’t been to sleep yet. Either that Red Bull is potent as hell, or I’m just…still wired from the yoga workshop.

I should wrap this up now. I’m just babbling. OK then. Till next time….

summertime.

Summer

Summer summer summertime….
Time to kick back and unwind….

So far for me, this has not been the time to kick back and unwind!

It’s been a very busy couple of weeks. Friends visiting from out of town, stints at VSA, us going out of town, events… I wonder if my summer is shaping up to be a busy one? I feel like, now that it’s warmer out, everyone wants to do ALL THE THINGS.

More Friends
me with jen · me with kelly
me with mia · me with kristie

I want to show off my cute new outfit. Well, it was new a couple of weeks ago anyway.

Cute Outfit
sunglasses: Juicy Couture · headphones: Bose
crochet top, necklace, headband: Buckle · cami: Forever 21
jacket: Kohl’s · shorts: American Eagle · boots: Steve Madden

It’s been a few weeks and the temps seem like they’ve stabilized… somewhat. There are still some 50F nights in the near future, which I don’t like but I’ll take them over single digits and teens any day. Especially if I don’t have to go out in them. In fact, I managed to burn myself pretty good over the weekend. I don’t think I’ve been this sunburned since I was in college! I woke up Saturday morning looking like Rudolph. Thank GOD for my Shisiedo BB cream. It would have helped if I’d used it BEFORE I went out Friday, seeing as it has SPF in it, but I didn’t anticipate being out so long.

But before then, I had a week of socializing. My friend Kristie, who I’ve known forever on the internet, came to Chicago to celebrate her 30th birthday. Luckily, I was free to hang out, so we had sushi and got to spend some time together. I knew she was pretty but I was not prepared when I saw her in person. Girlfriend is stunning. And sweet as can be. I really enjoyed hanging out with her.

Me & Kristie

I had to work a couple of days that week, then Angelo was in town for Memorial Day weekend. We hung out Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday (and can you believe I didn’t get one photo of us? I guess I was too busy living in the moment). My friend Hillary came over Saturday night as well. I ate myself sushi-stupid that weekend. Regrets? NOPE.

Tuesday, Adam and I headed to Columbus, Ohio because my baby was having a promotion ceremony! He’s done with elementary school and will be starting middle school in the fall. My friend Jen told me to just shut the hell up right now because there was no way, right?

But it’s for real! Aidan’s truly growing up.

Promotion Ceremony

The ceremony was nice. School gyms are not air-conditioned so it was warm in there, even for me. I felt bad for all the normal people with regulated body temperatures. It was awesome seeing Aidan, hearing the kids’ speeches, and seeing my friend Kelly, who I hadn’t seen since 2008.

The next day, we dropped Aidan off at school (I was confused too, but they still had two days left!) and drove up to Cleveland to visit my mom! We ate delicious dinner at Corky & Lenny’s, and I got to see Janae and Terri and Geneva. Thursday, we had Bob Evans and then drove back to Chicago. I was exhausted, but managed to get some decent sleep. Friday, I got up and headed to Milwaukee Ave. to see my friends Reshma, Genevieve, and Amy. I hadn’t seen them since November and it was nice to catch up.

Yoga

Saturday, Jen and I headed to Grant Park to experience Wanderlust in the City, a free yoga festival. Another day out in the hot sun, but this time I was smart enough to use SPF. (OK, some friends on twitter advised me to use it because apparently sunburn on top of sunburn is NOT GOOD.)

I did two yoga classes, drank a TON of water, and Jen and I posed for a lovely photo.

Yoga in the City!! #wanderlust #wlchicago @wanderlust ??#yoga
l- jen, r- me

Then we came back to my place and went out for… take a wild guess. Here’s a hint: it rhymes with ooo-shee. Then we went out to delicious Brown Cow and had ice cream. It was as yummy as I remembered.

Hell yeah. @yumbrowncow #yummy

THEN I found a planner group on Facebook. And more planner groups. I don’t know if you remember me lamenting the loss of my Life Planner a couple of months ago. I bought a Bloom planner but it wasn’t the same. There’s something about the Life Planner that just works for me. So I ended up ordering a new one on the very last day they had the 2014 ones in stock. Then I waited on pins and needles for it to arrive. I felt so relieved when it was finally here. Now I felt right again.

Apparently, there are people who decorate the crap out of their planners. See, I use some stickers and draw a few pictures and use lots of pens. But these people go all out. It’s fun to see them. The best part is that there are people out there who are planner/pen crazy like I am and it’s fun to chat with them. I don’t feel so alone/weird now! :)

planner
my week

I spent a lot of time hibernating in the winter. I’ve made up for it the past two weeks, and Aidan’s arriving on Saturday! I plan to do a lot more activities with him, instead of us sitting at our computers all day. I’d like to go to the Planetarium, Legoland Discovery Center, the beach, the zoo, and more. I’m determined to make loads of memories this summer.

OK, that’s all for now. Till next time….

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…..

new york city! center of the universe!

New York City 2013

I visited New York City for the 2nd time in my life in the middle of October this year. I went in with three goals in mind: See the Statue of Liberty, buy macarons at Laduree, and go to Central Park. I didn’t get to see Lady Liberty this time (but got to walk past the Empire State Building which I wasn’t expecting so that totally made up for it), but I did get to go to Central Park. And BOY did I get macarons!

I stayed with my friend Wanda, who I’ve known online for years, and her partner T. I met Wanda when I went to NYC for the first time in NYC, where she took me to a restaurant with flaming cheese or something crazy like that. I was really looking forward to spending more time with her and getting to know T.

New York City 2013
Wanda

She is amazing. And her partner, T, is also amazing. I had so much fun with them. It was like being with family. Truly. I love them. I can’t help but feel like they’re so much more sophisticated than I am because they’re living in New York City and living well. Whereas I wonder every other day what the hell I’m doing in Chicago.

New York City 2013

Wanda is a photographer. She takes beautiful photos. One advantage of having someone with you who loves to take photos and is great at it? Is that I got to be the star of a lot of photos!

New York City
Working It!

My first day out and about in the city, we ate brunch at a yummy diner, then headed to the Upper East Side so I could get my macarons. Guys, I love the UES. The buildings are so pretty and everyone looks so… rich. And the stores. Oh lordy. The stores! My wallet was itching to come out, but I didn’t. I resisted. Except in Laduree. I went a little crazy in there.

New York City 2013

Can you blame me?

New York City 2013
Sweet Lord

We didn’t get much time in mid-town. We had to head to Jersey for BBQ and jazz, and that was a long trip involving a lot of trains. We walked past the Empire State Building, which wasn’t something I expected to see. I was excited about that.

New York City 2013
Empire State Building

I mean, yeah, I felt like a total dork but I rocked that dorkiness. Hell, I still geek out over the Sears/Willis/whatever the hell ever and I freaking LIVE here.

Anyway, we got to the BBQ place and ate delicious food and listened to wonderful jazz that reminded me of The Cosby Show. Then Mr. Hayes, the sax player (and also T’s sax teacher), gave me a copy of his CD and signed it for me. He also told me, in so many words, that I was pretty, making him an instant favorite.

New York City 2013
Mr. Hayes & Me

After a crazy commute home, we relaxed and then crashed.

An earlier start the next morning. I had no idea it was going to be such a long but awesome day! Wanda and I headed up near Columbia to see her church, Riverside. A beautiful building! Then we darted to Columbus Circle to meet my friend Sun, someone else I’d known online for a very long time but had never got the chance to meet! Until that day!

New York City 2013

New York City 2013

New York City 2013

Sun is just as awesome in real life as she is online. She’s so confident and self-assured, and she is so comfortable in NYC. I can tell she really loves the city and that she thrives there. I am sooo glad I got to meet her… finally!

We explored Central Park, which is, hands down, my FAVORITE part of New York City. It’s so big and vibrant and there is so much nature and it’s so beautiful. I love, love, love Central Park.

New York City 2013

New York City 2013

New York City 2013

New York City 2013

New York City 2013

New York City 2013

New York City

I could have stayed there even longer but another Laduree run tempted me away. So, we stopped there, then we all headed to Soho for MORE sweets! After that, Sun was done, but Wanda and I headed to Times Square to keep the party going!

We rode the Ferris Wheel in Toys R Us, and naturally I dragged her into the Times Square Disney Store. Because COME ON. You remember whose blog you’re on, right? :)

New York City 2013

After playing a bit in Times Square where I was made to feel super pretty again (Seriously, what is it with NYC guys? My confidence was sailing!), we headed to Bryant Park, then to Grand Central Station. My feet were like “REALLY?” by the end of that day. It was exhausting but awesome.

The next day, I had to leave. I’d been having so much fun in NYC that I tried to switch my flight to a later day so I could extend my vacation, but the prices were outrageous! I was sad to go. There was so much I wanted to see: The High Line, The Cloisters, and more! But you know, the weather was getting colder and wetter anyway so maybe it was for the best.

I picked up a few souvenirs at the airport on the way home, because I needed to be a tourist and get something that said I <3 NY on it.

New York City 2013

New York is such an intense city, especially at rush hour. I’m not sure if I could handle living there. But I love to visit. The energy is great, and there is so much to see and do. I can’t wait to go back soon.

1400922_10151999458430996_180284278_o
We’ll be together again soon!

(Wanna see more pictures? Click here!)

chill.

Morton Arboretum 2013

Chicago had a crazy night of wind and rain, and I think that the high in the upper 40s today means that the part of autumn I’m not a fan of is settling in. The part when all the pretty leaves are falling off the trees with a vengeance and it’s just rain and cold and grey… until all that rain turns to snow. I think the Christians were on to something, tossing Christmas where they did. If I didn’t have the holiday season to look forward to, I don’t know what sort of shape I’d be in. I guess mourning for the true loss of summer, jeans shorts, sandals, and tank tops.

But. Moving on from that. I had a really neat October. There was my trip to New York City, which was amazing and awesome and will be blogged about for sure because a little blurb in a potluck post won’t be able to cover everything. But I’m not completely cruel, so here’s a photo of me laughing in Times Square.

New York City 2013

There was an afternoon spent at Morton Arboretum to capture the beautiful fall colors. I visited Graceland Cemetery, where I always get a little bit maudlin. I start freaking out about mortality and letting my mind go to dark places. Maybe I shouldn’t visit cemeteries anymore. But then, how could I get photos like this?

Graceland Cemetary

There was my trip to Columbus, Ohio, where I hadn’t been for three years. Things just fell into place for me to attend the Ohio Valley Filk Fest this year. I’m not even *that* into filk, but a lot of people I adored was going to be there. Someone offered me a ride. And I made hotel arrangements with Belinda and Patrick. And with all that working in my favor, plus a chance to see Aidan? It was a no brainer. Aidan had no idea, so when his dad pulled up to the hotel, Aidan was not impressed. Then he saw me and his little face lit up like the sun. It was so awesome to see! I’d missed that little guy and scheduling this year has made it hard to see him. Last weekend was the first time I’d seen him since he left in August.

Surprise Weekend with Aidan
i was so happy to hug him again!

It was so nice to spend the weekend with him, and with some other friends in the sci-fi/con community.

Belinda, S00j, and Me
belinda, s00j, and me
so blessed to know those two beautiful women
and of course i had to represent my alma mater

I got to eat at my beloved Bob Evans with my friend Angelo, who I’ve known since college and who I adore. Even though I really enjoy the Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwiches, there is no sausage better than the Bob Evans patties.

Now that November is here, all of my shop emails are turning to holiday themes. Which I’m usually OK with but this year, I feel like it’s rushing me a bit. Probably because the place isn’t holiday ready, what with Lena’s litter box habits being very out of whack and the constant cleanup because of that. Also because we need to just do a serious deep cleaning anyway and I have zero motivation to do it any time soon. There’s cat hair everywhere. The kitchen counters need a good scrub down. I need to sanitize the bathroom again. And I will. Truly. A lovely pixie named s00j is coming to spend the night in a couple of weeks and I want to make sure that the place is spic and span for her.

Crookshanks has plopped on to my lap and is purring like a purring thing. He’s also putting his paw on my hands every time I start typing, so I think that means it’s time to sign off for now. Tonight’s plan is to kick off my weekend Singing Myself Awake. Third year in a row I get to study with Suzanne Sterling. I’m a bit nervous about the asana practices. She kicked my butt last year and that was when I had a regular and strong practice. Now my practice is weak and sporadic. I’m going to be hurting by the time this weekend is over. But it’s my fault for letting my practice slip so much. I’m also worried because I have health issues this year that weren’t as severe last year. This year they could be a hindrance, but I know that I can always modify. Maybe this weekend will kick me back into gear.

Anyway, I’m off for now. Need to shower and eat something to prepare for the asana kicking I will surely experience tonight. And Crookshanks really does mean business.

Till next time….

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