In case it wasn’t clear from me posting this late in the day, it’s been another wild week. I’m extremely excited for the long weekend ahead, particularly because I don’t have a whole lot planned. It’s my first unscheduled weekend since April, so I’m pretty pumped. Here’s what else is on my mind:
- Help for Harvey Victims: The largest storm to hit Texas in more than 50 years continues to wreak havoc, devastating thousands of homes and displacing countless residents. As always, I urge you to donate anything you can to help the victims affected — particularly because Harvey’s on his way to Louisiana next. No matter which causes you care about, I think we can all agree this is one worth giving to.
- A USF Weekend: My good ol’ alma mater kicked off the college football season against San Jose State this past Saturday, and I had an absolute blast with about a hundred others at the tailgate and game. Bonus: We came back for a win, 42-22! Then on Sunday, we went wine tasting with a new friend, who we met while volunteering the weekend prior, and who happens to work for USF. Small world. Go Bulls!
- Wattle Creek Winery: That wine tasting I mentioned? Wouldn’t you know, it was right in SF’s own Ghirardelli Square. I generally avoid that tourist trap like the plague, but when I learned our new friend is a member — and I am too, via a sister winery — I just had to try their Sunday Funday promo. And, a Ghirardelli sundae after a few glasses of wine doesn’t hurt either.
- “Look What You Made Me Do” – Taylor Swift: Uh, duh. Seems like you can’t go more than an hour since its release Friday without hearing it, or uncovering all of the hidden meanings, or seeing all of the records it’s breaking. As for me? I’m guilty, guilty, guilty on all accounts. I don’t love every single lyric of this one, but damn, Taylor does it best when she’s pissed.
I’ve refrained from commenting publicly about last week’s Paris attacks, in large part because I am speechless. The resulting debates about terrorism, gun control and refugees are sickening, to say the least.
Here’s hoping these bring a little comfort and solace to your day.
- Only Love Can Protect Paris: This now-viral video of a little boy and his father will bring happy tears to your eyes. Watch as he tries to process the magnitude of the attacks — and then, comes to the realization that flowers and candles can protect one’s heart.
- How to Process Grief: “Not knowing how to deal with grief is a common problem for humanity,” this article begins. Taken from an elderly man’s perspective, this is absolutely one of the best explanations of the grieving process I’ve seen. If nothing else, it humanizes and normalizes how we all cope with loss.
- USF Wins Big: On the lighter side of things, my alma mater had an incredible win last Saturday, making us bowl-eligible for the first time since 2010. Taking down a ranked team and securing our spot in a bowl? I’m not mad about it.
- “Stitches” – Shawn Mendes: I’ve been toe tapping along to this song for quite some time. Mendes’s voice reminds me of a hybrid between Justin Timberlake and Adam Levine… it sounds funky, but trust me, it’s all good. Plus, he’s adorable!
It’s been a tough week, you guys. I had the best time with Magz visiting, but she went home right before a good friend of mine here moved back to Florida herself. Couple that with the true New York experience of someone dying in my building, and all I can say is: Next week has to be better.
- Homejoy: I was thrilled to use a Groupon for this cleaning service before my mom’s visit. Sure, my place was clean — but nowhere near “mom clean.” I didn’t particularly love the woman assigned, but there are literally thousands of certified employees to work with in the future.
- “How I Met Your Mother” Finale: SPOILER ALERT! I hadn’t watched much of the last 2 seasons, but knew I had to watch Monday’s finale. I was underwhelmed (not just whelmed) and thought it was a total cop-out. DISCUSS.
- Bowling with the Bulls: My alumni group is hosting a bowling event tomorrow night at Bowlmor Union Square. All are welcome to help us celebrate the 2013 grads who’ve moved to NYC — check it out!
- “The Mother We Share” – Chvrches: A co-worker reminded me of this eclectic jam via one of his many applauded playlists. Makes it easy to zone out and forget about anything going on outside my own little bubble.
My love affair with Chicago began five days ago, and I was so blessed to experience a whirlwind weekend of adventure and fun. Some favorite memories:
Thursday: After getting settled at our hotel, we enjoyed a cherry-vanilla whiskey at Miller’s Pub and my kind of people at Mother Hubbard’s Sports Pub. Ended the night with karaoke at Blue Frog’s Local 22 … Mandy Moore never sounded so good.
Friday: After taking an architectural boat tour, we had the most incredible Italian dinner at Rosebud (on Rush). Returned to Hubbard for a mini bar crawl and more lady shots at Local 22. And, one of the couples in our group got ENGAGED!! Highlight of the whole weekend by far; congrats, frands 🙂
Saturday: USF v. Notre Dame game in South Bend, Ind. was unforgettable. If you haven’t seen the ESPN recap, Mother Nature delayed the game (twice) for a total of 2 hours and 53 minutes. It was the stadium’s first evacuation in its 123-year history — and totally worth the wait for a big W! Also, Touchdown Jesus (TD JC). ‘Nuff said.
Sunday: Recover from the longest day of football ever? Never. Spent the day at Wrigleyville to catch a Cubs game against the Pirates. Crawled for hours with lots of celebratory drinks — including a few toasts to Tampa legend Lee Roy Selmon, who passed yesterday due to stroke complications. May or may not have gotten us lost on the return train trip … oopsies.
I returned to Tampa this evening, and I am still recounting events that I simply loved. Jamming every minute of every day with activities was totally worth the inevitable crashing I’ll be doing tonight.
Chicago, until we meet again. Xo, Wittyburg
I leave tomorrow for my first-ever trip to Chicago, and I couldn’t be more excited. The weekend’s itinerary is full, but it will be a welcome respite from Floriduh. Things I’m dreaming of until take-off:
Uplifting Prints: I came across this store on etsy and instantly fell in love. From snarky quotes to classic song lyrics, this shop’s options are divine. Plus, who doesn’t love a little cupcake inspiration?
Gigi’s Cupcakes: Speaking of cuppycakes, I was recently caught drooling over the creations at Gigi’s. The menu varies daily, but you can find classics (Scarlett’s Red Velvet) and newcomers (Kentucky Bourbon Pie) alike at a store near you. Sweet!
DWTS Cast: I’ve never seen “Dancing with the Stars,” but this newest cast just made its new No. 1 fan. Kardashian is adorable, Cavallari is a hot mess and Nancy Grace is always a guilty pleasure. Plus, Chaz Bono makes his debut as a post-op transgendered man. You can’t make this stuff up. Bets on how long until Chynna Phillips dances to “Hold On”?
All Things Football (yes, again): My league’s draft is tonight, Bulls Country travels to South Bend this weekend and I couldn’t be happier. I’m 99 percent sure that my excitement to see Touchdown Jesus will lead to me doing something stupid. One can only hope …
Congrats on getting over that hump, all. You did it!