epic adventure: getting there.

Earlier this summer, Aidan and I embarked on an epic three-week vacation, just the two of us. We were both super excited. We were going to do new things, and I was just happy to have all the time to hang out with my {awesome} kid. The trip started off smoothly enough. We got to the airport, we got to go through TSA-precheck, and we were at security in no time. Things were going great until a storm rolled in and we got grounded just as we were pulling from the gate. Two hours we sat in the plane. And I was freaking out. I’d arranged for a limo to take us from the airport to the resort as a surprise for Aidan and I was worried we’d get tagged as a no-show. The flight status wasn’t updating (it said we were in the air and on-time!) and I was so worried I’d miss this limo surprise for Aidan.

We did get off the ground eventually, though. Thank goodness. I was starting to feel like Chicago wasn’t going to let us go.

On Our Way!

We finally got to Orlando, and the limo guy wasn’t there! I called them and they said not to worry, there was some sort of back up. They’d gotten my message and the flight info and he’d come find me by baggage claim. Meanwhile, Aidan was standing there with HIS bag. My enormous purple bag was no where to be found. Cue more panic! All my cute outfits and hair thingies and OMG nooo!

After a lot of running around and freaking out, we found out that the bag had come in on another flight, so it was on another carousel. Meanwhile, this limo guy, who had finally found us, was so patient and helpful. And when we went out to the limo…the look on Aidan’s face made everything worth it!!!

Riding in Style!

The limo ride included a 30 minute grocery stop, but Aidan and I had a list so we were done in 15. We’d also packed a bag full of snacks and brought that with us on the plane. This trip, we were doing food differently. Instead of eating all of our meals and snacks in the park (I didn’t buy the dining plan), we had a few sit down meals, a few counter service meals, and we ate breakfast and snacks (except special Disneyfied snacks) that we’d brought with us. Every morning, Aidan loaded his bag with granola bars, chips, Pop-tarts, and a bottle of water and a bottle with an energy drink. I did the same. When we got hungry, we’d snack on our bars. Ice water is free in the parks if you get it from a stand with a fountain, so we’d just drink down our energy drinks (I know!) and then fill the bottles up with the free ice water. Instead of sneaking to the food court and dropping $10 on a pizza when the late night hunger pangs hit, I just made myself a turkey sandwich and ate it in my room. Or the night we got back early, I took it to the Movies Under the Stars, and watched Wall-E while I chowed down.

But I’m getting ahead of myself! We got to the Resort (Pop Century) and because of their newfangled system, we didn’t even have to go to the desk to check in. I’d checked in online, and while we were at the airport, I got a text with my room number! We were able to go straight to the room!

And it was a nice room, with a nice surprise waiting for us on the bed:

IMG_4491

After unpacking our groceries and changing, we headed to Downtown Disney. Aidan of course wanted to go to the LEGO store, I wanted to do my own shopping, and I’d thought we’d have dinner there. But we ended up eating at the food court at the resort, which is fine by me because I happen to love that food court. Then it was bed time, because it was Animal Kingdom the next day!

That’s all for now. Next time, I’ll talk about our time in the parks, the awesome dessert we got at Garden Grill, and more. :)

time to sit back and unwind.

Flowering tree! ???????????? #spring #Chicago #tree #flowers

Finally! Seems that June took ages to get here! And when it arrived, it brought temps that felt more like November 1 than June 1, but it’s finally warming up, at least for a couple of days. See-saw summer weather: Chicago’s M.O.

this weeks weather

Today is Aidan’s last day of school, then this weekend, he’s off to the National Jr. Youth Leadership Conference. He arrives in Chicago on June 13, and June 15, we take off for a long vacation, just the two of us. I’m so looking forward to it. Disney World, the beach, good times.

Aww yiss. #disneyworld #disney #magicband #yay
yay!!

Apparently, Aidan is now measuring at 5’1″…which just happens to be MY HEIGHT. My son is my height now. His feet are already bigger than mine, but now he’s on track to be taller than I am before long too. I mean, I knew it was coming but it’s still crazy. I hope he doesn’t act too stubborn when it comes to taking pictures when we’re on vacation. I need photographic proof of this height thing.

upload
this was from april this year.
he was one inch shorter than me here.

A few weekends ago, I went to see a show at Second City. I enjoyed it. The show was called “#dateme” and was based on a girl’s experiences with some dating site. OK Cupid I think it’s called? Anyway, they had this picture-taking thing set up outside the theater so I took advantage:

#dateme #thesecondcity #Chicago

I also got to meet Sarah Dessen again, and she was a lovely as ever. I remember, 11 years ago, when I discovered her books and fell in love with her writing. And I used to wish so hard I’d get to meet her. And now, this is the what…fourth or fifth time I got to meet her?

This author. ???? @sdessen #author #booksigning #Naperville #inspiration

Speaking of authors, Meg Cabot is back with *two* new princess books, and I was lucky enough to meet her as well:

Me and Meg Cabot. She's amazing. ???? #author #megcabot #Chicago #Naperville #booksigning

Honestly, if I ever leave Chicago, Anderson’s Bookshop will be one of the top five things I’ll miss.

These days, I’m kind of at odds. I’m restless, waiting for my vacation to get here. I should probably start packing. I got a new suitcase. Purple this time, with the 360? spinner wheels. Because the last time I went to Orlando and was lugging my luggage, the big suitcase kept flipping around. It was awkward and embarrassing! A guy had to help me on the escalator! So with this one, I shouldn’t have to deal with that. Plus my lovely pink bag was starting to rip and all that stuff. You know how it goes after the airlines batter it for a while. I got a good deal on this case, too. I went to Sears–which, I don’t even care, I love Sears–and the case I ended up getting had a regular price of $159.99. It was 50% off, so that took the price down to $79.99. I had coupons and Shop Your Way Rewards, so my total cost was just over $50. Not bad, huh?

I have new shirts and shorts and bathing suits to wear, and new shoes too. They’re not *that* new because I remembered I needed to break them in, so I’ve been doing that. All I need to do is pack everything sometime in the next ten days. Probably buy Aidan some vacation wear (his dad bought him a bunch of “nice” summer wear for his conference, but he’s not going to want to wear khaki shorts and polos at the beach, right?).

…and my mind just went blank. I guess I didn’t have much more to say. Probably the next time I update will be when I am back from vacation. So, till next time……

long update.

Summer 2014 Collage

Oh hi! Long time no see! :) Sorry about that. It’s just that every time I thought about blogging over the past few months, I just felt like BLAH, nope. Overwhelmed, maybe. I don’t know.

Summer’s on its way out. Yesterday’s high was 60F but it hung out in the low to mid 50s all day. You can only imagine how sad that is making me. I feel like we barely got a summer.

In my long absence from the blog world, I hung out with Aidan, we all went to Jekyll Island for a week at the beach, and I read a lot of books. We went to Ohio and Aidan started middle school. I went to two launch parties for ClassPass and attended a Flywheel class (my first ever spin class. I didn’t like it. My butt was sore for five days because of that hard bike seat. I did like the part with the weights, though.), and a class at The Dailey Method (my first ever barre class. I LOVED it.)

I started acting classes at the Second City Training Center and so far I like it. A lot. The teacher has a real gentle and patient nature about him which I appreciate. Plus he has us do a few yoga moves during the warmup. Cannot ever go wrong with that! This week we started off by playing Red Light Green Light. So fun. We’re working on monologues, and this week I’m doing beat work. It’s challenging. But I know it’ll do nothing but help me.

I’ve also been doing freelance work for Berlitz, which has been fun. I’ve been doing various gigs all over town for Chicago PD (the director was great to work with–he kept calling us “background celebrities”), T-Mobile, etc., and I did a live event for Ravinia which was too much fun. Long days on set. Tiring but I learn a lot and really learn to exercise patience, dig down into the reserves, and call on my experience of working long days in ad agencies. I also realized that no matter how exhausted I am, the word “ACTION” still gets me pumped. So there’s that. Working hard…maybe one day you’ll see me with a speaking part. WAIT. I did have one for the movie Cool Apocalypse. That was fun. :) And I’ve been selected to be part of the hospital core on the show Sirens, so hopefully I’ll start working on that soon and you’ll see me being a nurse or something more often than not.

(I was in that commercial. You can’t see me. At all. But believe me I was there. I have confetti to prove it.)

I’ve been writing a lot. Eating too much. Not getting enough exercise (I know you are SO surprised about that!). I went to a house concert and saw Ginger Doss perform for the first time since 2011, and it was sooooo amazing. She is one of my favorite people to see perform because her voice is magical and her energy is golden. She has so much joy and gratitude to be doing what she loves…and it’s palpable. God, that was a good night.

Jekyll was a lot of fun. A week in the sun, on the beach. I got burned and good, but I don’t even care because now my skin is a gorgeous golden that will be fading way too soon. C’est la vie.

Adam’s mom got this idea for our family photo from Pinterest: we all wore blue, white, or khaki. No shoes. You know the boys grumbled about it but they went along with it anyway. And it was a great idea. Look how amazing we look:

Untitled

I honestly can not complain. I had a pretty good summer. Depression is a funny thing. There were some days that I didn’t even want to get out of bed. I hate that there were days I was feeling sad and overwhelmed when it was summer, my favorite season. I should have been out playing and doing yoga and hanging out. Instead, I just wanted to hole up in the house under a blanket. Sucks. And now it’s getting cold and darker earlier and I hate that. I’m a night owl but even I find it hard when it’s pitch black at 4pm.

My 2015 Erin Condren Life Planner arrived. I LOVE it. It’s the first time I ever used the custom colorway and asked for customizations other than the stock photo. I am very happy with how it came out! It’s my two favorite things: rainbow and pink. And polka dots. BONUS. :D

She is here!! My 2015 planner!!  #lifeplanner #eclp #erincondren #eclifeplanner14 #weloveec #organizedlife #pink

I want to start taking The Dailey Method classes all the time. I went Sunday and I’m going again this coming Sunday, and will probably go the next Sunday if nothing else is going on. I need to figure out how to budget that in. Either that place or any barre place really. I plan to try out The Bar Method as well. I also want NEED to get my yoga practice back up and running. Seriously. My pants are all too tight and that is NOT OKAY. I was going to Betty’s Tuesday class but my acting class conflicts, so I need to pick a new class to attend and I think I know which one I’m going to for sure. I want to add at least one more class a week as well. I need something to keep me accountable is what I need.

My child is now in middle school. Can you even? Look at this handsome kid:

Aidan
You guys, I swear he is so super awesome. I hope I’m still saying that when he’s a teenager! :)

Anyway, that’s the gist of what I’ve been doing while avoiding my blog. :) I hope to be better about updating. I really do. But for now, I leave you. Just like summer is leaving me. :(

Summer 2014 Collage

Goodbye summer. I know you technically still have 11 days until you’re gone, but it’s pretty much autumn already. I hope it’s a good one.

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….

summer 2013 wrap up

So…. it’s the time of year again. Adam is burning the Leaves candle from Bath & Body Works, and there is a definite bite in the air. Fall is coming and will officially be here in just over a week.

I do love autumn, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to mourn the end of summer. I will miss the hot temperatures, the sun, wearing all the cute shorts and tank tops and sandals. Now it’s time for boots, sweaters, jeans, browns, golds, and reds.

Here’s a quick(ish) wrap up of our summer. Just that little last hurrah before I have to dig out the heavy stuff.

We Are Family

I spent the first part of my summer working way too much. I was working so many hours that everyone was commenting on it. Adam told me that I didn’t have to work so much, and Aidan kept saying, “Mom, all you do is work. You said you’d play with me.” That did it. I made some changes so I could spend more time with Aidan.

You all know we kicked off summer break with Disney World, but did you know we also made a few day trips? We went to zoo, we went to Six Flags Great America, and we went to the Iowa State Fair!

Lincoln Park Zoo

The Lincoln Park zoo was fun. We don’t go there often enough which is a shame, because it’s free! And giraffes live there! We saw really cool animals and exhibits. I didn’t get to hold any snakes or anything, but I still had fun.

Six Flags Collage

We went to Six Flags Great America, where I FINALLY got to meet my friends S.Abdul and his wife Brenda! I’ve known them for years online (seems to be a recurring story with me, huh?) and he’s such a huge coaster buff. I knew he’d lead me well at Six Flags. Because I am more familiar with Cedar Point, he explained all the rides to me in Cedar Point terms. “There’s a Troika over there!”

We went on a Saturday in July, so I knew I’d have to be picky about which coasters I rode, because otherwise I’d be standing in line all day. I really wanted to ride X-Flight and Superman, and I got to ride them both, and with Batman as a bonus!

The best part was Aidan’s growing bravery. He was interested in most of the thrill rides–at least, the spinny rides–and I had a blast riding them with him. I was so excited to finally have a spinny ride partner again!

That is… until we went to the Iowa State Fair.

Iowa State Fair

I was ready, with Aidan, to RIDE ALL THE THINGS. Unfortunately, I got sick when I got off of ride #3, which has never happened to me before. I mean, OK, the ride that did me in was the Tornado, and it nearly did me in a few years ago at the Ohio State Fair. This time, it won, to my great embarrassment. So I was “off” for the rest of the day, but I didn’t let that stop me. I’d paid $25 for the wristband so I was determined to get my money’s worth! I even rode the Gravitron, a ride I’d been wanting to try for years and no one would ever ride it with me or wait for me to ride it.

IT WAS AWESOME.

I rode it by myself at first, then I came off and told Adam and Aidan that it was the COOLEST THING EVER, so they rode it with me. So that was twice for me, then I was done. Adam and Aidan rode again, and then we were done with rides.

We had fun anyway. I didn’t eat much. We saw some animals, saw some art, some some miniatures and dollhouses that were awesome. Adam ate all the fried things. We saw some of Adam’s friends. It was a good time. Unfortunately, I was still dizzy and a bit queasy for a few days. But do I regret it? NOPE. Well, maybe riding the Tornado. NEVER RIDING THAT ONE AGAIN.

…more iowa state fair

Summer

My cousin Falandos came to visit for a weekend, and that was so much fun! Sadly, I hadn’t realized I wasn’t fully recovered from Iowa, so I ate something bad for me and got sick again. BOOO. So Falandos has to come back so we can hang out without me feeling icky.

We got to see s00j sing and have her and Ryan stay a night–that is always THE VERY BEST. So much love for those two. Truly.

I went on my third ever camping trip–but this was my first time actually staying in a tent. I went to the Sukhava Bodhe Yoga & Music Festival. My friend Reshma and I, both of us having no clue what we were doing, managed to survive a night in a tent. I had to have help pitching the tent (a loaner from my friends Missy and Rory), but now that I’ve seen it done, I’m confident I could pitch it again easily. Reshma brought an air mattress. We had bug spray, flashlights, all the stuff one needs when camping at a festival.

Now, let me tell you something about me. I love nature, but I really love my luxuries. That means running water, a bed, a hot shower, and lights to read by. So imagine my surprise that I ENJOYED CAMPING. Even when we were hit with massive thunderstorms, I felt awesome because I’d fixed the rain cover so we didn’t flood! And we had the great idea to hang the lantern from the hook at the top of the tent using my doo-rag, so we had decent light. And Reshma, our friend Amy (whose tent flooded so we had her come in with us) and I had the best night, listening to the music on the main stage, and talking. At about one in the morning, I had to pee, and I was irritated by that. I had just gotten comfy and my bladder HAD to talk.

But when I finally got my flashlight and stepped outside, I WAS SO GLAD. The stars had come out and the night sky was BREATHTAKING. I actually woke Reshma and Amy up so they could see it. Reshma kinda grumbled and rolled back over, but Amy peeked out and gasped like I did. I was so glad… because I thought I’d miss the stars because of the storms.

Anyway, we did well, considering it was our first time. And because it was a festival at a retreat center, there were hot showers (that smelled like pennies), and there were vendors selling hot food. I had the most yummy grilled cheese.

…more sukhava bodhe

Some of the new things I did this summer:

– got sick on a ride (boo)
– got henna (twice)
– slept in a tent
– rode the gravitron
– attended a lunasaugh ritual
– been a background actor in not only one, but two movies (one a major motion picture)
– costume fitting for major motion picture
– met some amazing authors
– jury duty

…Just to name a few! So, all in all, it was a great summer. The only bad thing about it was that it was too short. And flies. Flies suck.

Here’s hoping for a mild autumn!

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