Day 783: Guster Concert

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 783: Guster Concert

Hello again! Back in April, I went to a Guster concert with my Uncle John and Scott. It was a great time! We went to the Riviera in Chicago to see them. The last time I went to one of their concerts was in 2007, so it’s been a while. They still sound awesome! It was cool being able to sing along with them. They really do sound amazing live. It was packed in there, too! They sang a lot of my old favorites and some of their newer music, too. We might have been the only three people in Guster t-shirts, but I don’t care. We have Guster pride! I hope they come back to Chicago soon… I’d go to another concert! They were pretty funny and told a few jokes between songs. Good times!

On our way home, we drove down Lake Shore Drive. It was a beautiful night to see the city! I love that road. I kept thinking about all the Cubs games I went to as a little kid and we’d drive home on Lake Shore at night. I loved looking out the window at the lights back then, and I still do now! Chicago is a beautiful city.

Speaking of Chicago, right now I’m proud of the Blackhawks and Cubs! And I’ll go knock on wood now.

Have a good evening!

Day 708: Cracker Concert

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 708: Cracker Concert

It’s me again! At the end of July, Kate and Graham drove over and we all went to the Cracker concert in town! Here’s a photo of them above. It was a great concert! The four of us grabbed some dinner before heading out to listen to some awesome music. A man named Edward David Anderson opened for Cracker; he was really good! We sat in the balcony during the opening and then stood next to the stage for the main act. Here’s a dark photo of Kate, Graham, and Scott (it’s not the greatest since it’s from my phone):

Day 708: Cracker Concert

I don’t know too many songs by Cracker, but now I think they are great! Their most popular song is called Low; I actually know that one! It was cool being right next to the band. I had a great time! Now I want to go to more concerts.

I can’t believe the summer is pretty much over and it’s almost fall! Time is moving way too fast. August alone flew by. I guess time feels like it’s moving fast when you get to do a lot of fun things! This fall will definitely be busy, but amazingly fun! Yay!

Day 703: Jimmy Buffett Concert

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 703: Jimmy Buffett Concert

Back in June, I went to a Jimmy Buffett concert with Scott’s family and friends! (See the photo of Jimmy above.) It was a fun and crazy experience. We tailgated before the concert in the giant parking lot; there was a lot of food and drinks! A lot of his fans dress in crazy outfits and definitely drink a lot! We ate some good food and hung out for a while. It actually rained pretty hard for maybe 5 to 10 minutes, so we sat in the car for a bit. At least it didn’t happen during the concert! Here’s a group photo for you:

Day 703: Jimmy Buffett Concert

You can even see the crazy storm clouds in the background. We had lawn seats for the concert, which was pretty cool. People were standing, drinking, and singing along to his songs while hitting beach balls around. It was packed! I sort of wish I knew more of his songs; I think I was the only one not singing along! I definitely knew Margaritaville and Fins, though. And he sang Brown Eyed Girl! So I knew 3 out of 1,000,000. (That number might be an exaggeration.) The concert was a birthday present for Scott’s dad Jeff, so I hope he had a good time. I did!

Have a good evening!

Day 671: December Updates

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 671: December Updates

Kendyl in her Christmas Concert.

Before I get to my year in review, I thought I’d update you on more fun things in December! Kendyl was in a Christmas Concert in the middle of December with her class, which consisted of very cute 3 and 4 year olds. They sang a few songs and then there was milk and cookies after the performance. She’s the one in the red dress with the Christmas tree. Everyone was adorable!

Scott and I headed up north the weekend before Christmas and got to spend extra time with family and friends. We got together with my mom’s best friend and her family! We ate some good Chinese food, exchanged gifts, and hung out. It was fun!

Family friends!

Family friends!

Exchanging gifts with friends.

Exchanging gifts with friends.

The next day, I met up with Christina, Melissa, and Brittany! We ate lunch at a really good restaurant called Mago Grill and Cantina. It was delicious! I ate a giant taco salad; the different salsas were amazing, too. We then went shopping for a bit. It was a really cold day and we were at an outdoor mall, so we didn’t shop for too long! It was great hanging out with them.

During the weekend after Christmas, I went to my friend Kim’s baby shower! We have been friends since middle school; I haven’t seen her in a while since she lives in Pennsylvania. She came to Illinois for Christmas, so her mom threw a baby shower, too. Click here to see my blog post about her wedding in 2010. It was great seeing her! I can’t believe many of my friends are having babies! I got to see Andrea, too, who is also pregnant! Kim is due in February and is having a boy. Her and Luke are naming him Trygve James after their grandfathers. Andrea is having a girl! Ahh, I can’t wait to meet all of these babies!

At Kim's baby shower! From left to right: Andrea, Kim, and me

At Kim’s baby shower! From left to right: Andrea, Kim, and me.

That same evening, I went to my Uncle Paul’s house and got to spend some more time with Aunt Rose, Uncle Joe, Marirose, Dominick, Uncle Paul, Aunt Carol, Sydney, Ray, and my mom! We ate dinner together, watched the Blackhawks, and played Screw Your Neighbor. Here are more photos for you!

Aunt Rose and Uncle Paul.

Aunt Rose and Uncle Paul.

My mom, Uncle Joe, and Marirose!

My mom, Uncle Joe, and Marirose!

Ray and Sydney.

Ray and Sydney.

Sydney, me, and Scott!

Sydney, me, and Scott!

It was great spending time with them! Sadly I only see my Aunt Rose and her family once a year since they living in Virginia. I’m glad I got to see them one more time before they flew home.

I also got to spend time with my grandpa and Uncle John over the weekend, which was great. I miss them a lot! It’s always a great time with them. ๐Ÿ™‚

Well, those are some December updates for you! My next post will be the year in review. I promise!

Day 656: Double Take Renee and Me

Rachel, Day by Day

Double Take

Day 656: Double Take Renee and Me

Left photo: Taken in 2001.
Right photo: Taken in 2013.

Wow, my friendship with Renee has been going on for 13 years! We met back in 2000 when we started high school. We both joined the tennis team and played the flute, so we instantly connected through those things and became friends! The photo on the left was taken in 2001, so these photos are 12 years apart. I’m pretty sure we were having fun trying on dresses at a store in Yorktown Mall. Look how young we look! We look too young to be in high school. I look a bit ridiculous in that photo with my bra straps showing and my eyes closed, but that’s ok. We used to try on dresses a lot in high school, just for fun and to feel pretty. We’d eat at the food court, too. Fun times! I remember during school, Renee and I would pass a notebook back and forth and write notes to each other about boys and things. I wonder if we still have that somewhere! We used that so teachers would think we were taking notes in class. I miss the days when I’d see her every day!

The photo on the right was taken on my wedding day of the two of us. Renee was a bridesmaid! She flew all the way from Paris for the occasion. We definitely look different, older, and hopefully wiser. ๐Ÿ™‚ Renee came to town a week before the wedding and she was able to come to the bachelorette party! I was extremely happy about that. It was great seeing her. And I’ll be visiting her in Paris soon!!

Over these past 13 years, we’ve gone through lots of happy and sad times together, and we were always there for each other. When my dad was sick and then when he died, she was always there for me when I needed her. I’ll never forget that. That’s a real friendship! We went through driver’s education class together, graduations, tennis matches, band concerts, silly crushes on boys, dances, and so much more! I don’t know how to thank her for all the fun times we’ve had. I love you, Renee!

Day 445: Bruschetta

Rachel, Day by Day

Mmmm, who loves bruschetta? I do! I went to Brendan and Anne’s Christmas party this past Saturday and I made this! It turned out really well. I was hoping for leftovers since I liked it so much, but everyone ate it all! I guess that’s a good sign. I’ve made bruschetta once before and it was alright, but I think I like this recipe better. It has tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a bit of lemon juice. and toasted the bread makes it taste even better. If you want the actual recipe, I’ll send it to you!

The Christmas party was a lot of fun. We drank, ate, and did a white elephant gift exchange! I ended up with three romance novels and Scott ended up with a history book. Somehow we ended up with the only books! There was a cool Vampire Hunters game, tarot cards, a puzzle, poker chips, a coffee grinder, and much more. White elephant is a lot of fun. Now I have to go read my romance novels. Maybe I’ll give them back next year, who knows! ๐Ÿ˜‰

It’s been a productive week! I think I pretty much finished my Christmas shopping and I’m almost done wrapping presents. Yay! I went to Scott’s nephew’s Christmas concert on Tuesday; it was really cute. He’s 4-years-old and sang a few Christmas songs with his class. I haven’t been to a little kid’s singing concert in a really long time! Actually, maybe I’ve never been to one. Anyway, it was sweet.

You know what’s sad? I don’t think I’ve watched any Christmas movies this season. Well, I saw The Santa Clause on TV, but I think I missed the beginning, so that doesn’t count. And I saw parts of Home Alone 2, but that still doesn’t count. That will change very soon, though. I plan on watching Christmas movies this weekend!! It definitely helps me get in the spirit.

So, there’s this 30-day photo challenge I found on the Internet that I want to do. There’s a specific photo you need to take each day for 30 days (like self-portrait, clouds, fruit, and so on). I might try it starting sometime in January. Maybe it’ll spice up my blog a bit. I was also thinking of doing a color challenge. I pick a color and every day for a week, I take a photo of something in that color. It could be fun looking for specific photos to take. Do you like this idea? I hope so!

You should comment more often. Just letting you know. Have a good night!

Day 390: Yellow Flowers

Rachel, Day by Day

Hello! If you’ve been keeping up with my blog, you’ll know that I love taking pictures of flowers. These pretty yellow ones are near work, so I see them every day and have wanted to take a photo. I finally took a picture of them this morning. Yay! Aren’t they pretty? There’s something about the colors yellow and green together; I love it. What kind of flowers are these? Does anyone know? I honestly don’t know much about flowers, but I can tell you they are pretty. I have yet to find a flower where I thought, “Eww, that’s the ugliest flower I’ve ever seen!” Good times. Yay flowers.

I made some cookies yesterday and they were delicious! Click here for the recipe. They are actually low carb cookies, but they still tasted amazing. Scott and I ate the rest of them, so sorry I can’t share any with you. The secret is that there are actually no almonds in the cookies, but there’s almond extract. Ha, I got you! Mmmm, but the cookies reminded me of those almond cookies at Chinese restaurants. Scott says they are better than the ones at Chinese restaurants. They are really easy to make, so I can make them again for you if you’d like. Just let me know. Yes, you. You reading this.

I’m really really really really really tired of hearing about Arnold Schwarzenegger and his personal problems. Why can’t we just leave him, his wife (soon to be ex), and his family alone? I see headlines to articles about him, but I don’t read them. I just roll my eyes. We need something better to talk about in the news. Oh, speaking of something better in the news, I just saw a yahoo article about how Hugh Hefner and Crystal Harris aren’t getting married anymore. He’s 85 and she’s 25. There are so many negative things I could say about this, but I’ll make this a shorter post.

I’ve been playing more tennis lately and it’s been great! I’ll never get tired of this sport, and it’s one of the few ways I get some exercise. I feel like I’m improving a bit, too. Let’s keep playing, tennis friends! Anyone else want to play, too? Let me know!

I had a guitar lesson today and it was awesome. I’m learning two news songs: Jar of Hearts by Christina Perri and Paparazzi by Lady Gaga. I love these songs! I definitely play them slower than normal, but you can tell what songs they are! I’ll play them for you if you want. Maybe I’ll have a little concert at my apartment. I’ll make it fancy with some wine and cheese. Maybe some caviar and brie, too. We’ll see. Anyway, my point was that I’m having a lot of fun with my guitar lessons.

Thing that made me happy today: Too many things to list. ๐Ÿ™‚

Day 365: Bunnylicious

Rachel, Day by Day

Well folks, I did it. As I write this, I’m smiling and feeling very proud of myself. I accomplished my goal of taking a photo and writing about it every day for a whole year. It feels like yesterday when I talked about starting this photo blog. I started this with a picture of a bunny and I wanted to end it with a bunny, too. Sadly, I think the weather is too cold for the bunnies right now; I haven’t seen any outside today. I thought this photo was a good alternative. Plus, it says Bunnylicious, which basically sums up my life. This decoration is at Target and it’s definitely very festive. A good ending for my photo blog. I like all the flowers and the chocolate bunnies almost kissing. It made me smile. I guess I’ve been smiling a lot today. That’s a good thing.

I really do feel like my photos have improved over these past 365 days. Some were definitely boring, but I feel like I’m able to look at something and figure out how to make it a good photo, with angles and the settings on my camera. I’m not really sure if my writing has improved, but it’s been great being able to write every day. I tend to be sarcastic and try to joke around in my writing. I hope some of you have laughed or smiled once in a while reading this. I’ve learned that it’s hard to come up with something interesting every day. You can definitely tell I like scenic and bunny photos the best.

So, let’s look back at some of the awesome photos. The one that had the most comments was Day 12: Snorts? with Pam Quinlan. She had billboards all around town, and no one knew who she was. Apparently when people googled her, my blog came up. She even commented on my blog! Good times. My two favorite bunny photos were Day 20: So Close! and Day 262: Petunia. I really miss Petunia and wish I could keep her! I hope her owners are nice to her. Day 41: Pretty Flower and Day 106: Branch were my favorite photos of nature. The branch one looks really professional and that was just taken from my office! I was able to get a photo of a celebrity this past year, which is awesome. Well, I don’t know anyone who’s really obsessed with this actor, but it’s still pretty cool. John Stamos sang with the Beach Boys and I went to the concert (click here). As for my all time favorite photos, I have seven for you. Here they are:

**Day 177: Lights. This was taken at a restaurant called Crane Alley and we sat in the actual alley. These lights look great in this photo!
**Day 225: The Union. This photo was taken on campus at night and I love how it turned out. It makes the quad look so beautiful.
**Day 274: The Bean. Scott and I were in Chicago and I took a photo of our reflection off of the bean. That was a really fun day!
**Day 321: Sunrise. This was one of the best sunrises I’ve ever seen, so I definitely had to pull over and take a photo!
**Day 342: Lindy. I love this photo of my favorite stuffed animal. I like how everything in the background is blurred so you focus on Lindy.
**Day 351: Daffodils. I love these flowers and the color yellow came out great in this photo.
**Day 364: Good Morning, Tree. Lastly, I think this photo is very artsy with the dark branches and light background. It turned out great!

Well, those are my favorites. Now, tell me, what was your favorite? If you are reading this right now, please write a comment! Tell me what you thought of this photo blog and if you can think of your favorite photo. I’d really appreciate it! Also, I should let you know that I plan on continuing this photo blog, but not every single day. When I see a great photo opportunity, I’ll take a photo and share it with you. I’ll still count the days to see how many days I can get to before I get tired of this!

Thank you, my wonderful readers!!! I’ve had a great year with you!!!!

Day 275: Cake

Rachel, Day by Day

I made a funfetti cake for my Uncle John! It was his 50th birthday on the 31st. I do love funfetti cakes and so does he, so it works out! Sorry, I left the plastic wrap on the cake; I should have taken it off for the photo. I think this turned out well, though! I like the sprinkles on top, too. They make it look pretty. I wrote in the letters, too; do they look professional? Haha, probably not. My mom did have to write in the HN! because my hands were shaking and I couldn’t do it anymore! Well, I think it turned out well! Yay funfetti cakes!

I had a great New Years Eve with my family! We went to The Clubhouse restaurant and it was delicious. I tried a flirtini, too, and that tasted great! It had raspberry, cranberry, and pineapple in it. I should try making it sometime. We then hung out at my mom’s house and played games. I’m glad my family likes to play games. My mom and I tried pomegranate lemon drop martinis, but they weren’t that great. So, we make margaritas instead! Those were good. I’m glad I got to spend the new year with my family. Fun times!

So, I usually like to recap my year around this time, and I’ll do that for you now! I know you are wondering, “What was 2010 like for Rachel?” Well, I will tell you shortly.

Let’s see… where should I start? I did more than I thought in 2010. I’m not sure why, but I had a lot of celebrity dreams this year, including Matt Damon, Bradley Cooper, Robert Downey Jr., Molly Shannon and Gerard Butler. I was dating most of them too, well not Molly Shannon. She was giving a speech somewhere. Anyway, I wonder what that means.

I went to two states this year: Utah and Michigan. My niece got married in June in Salt Lake City, so my mom, brother, and I went out there. It was great seeing my sisters again and I’m glad we went! We also went to Escanaba, Michigan with my grandpa and Uncle John. We went to the Beach Boys concert, too! It was pretty good and John Stamos was there! It was a very mellow concert compared to other concerts I’ve been to. Not many people stood up or anything, but it was fun to sing along. Good times!

I went to four weddings this year! Kim and Luke got married in May, my niece Sonya and her now husband Hunter got married in June (I wrote about it above), my cousin Bob and Libby got married in July, and Nicole and Tommy got married in October. I’m happy for all of them! Their weddings were very nice, too. Kim’s was at her church in Elmhurst. I used to go there for youth group with her when I was younger! Bob and Libby had the ceremony at a garden and the reception was at Memorial Stadium in Champaign. It was pretty cool! Nicole and Tommy got married at Starved Rock; that place is gorgeous! I want to go back and walk around on some trails.

I bought a Wii this year! That was a bigger purchase for me this year. I’m happy I bought it, though. I don’t play it that much, but I do play it when people come over! I also bought a couch for my new apartment; it’s really nice! It’s green and is that microfiber material. Those are the most expensive things I bought this year.

Speaking of apartments, I moved to a better one this year! It’s bigger, has central air and heat, and has a community pool. I love it! I can’t wait until next year when I can use the pool again!

I audition for Glee and American Idol this year. I didn’t make either of them, but it was a fun experience! Here are the videos if you still want to watch them:
Glee: http://www.myspace.com/gleeauditions?link=530770927
American Idol: http://www.myspace.com/americanidol?link=530770927

I would have to say my favorite shows of the year are Modern Family, Glee, The Office, and Amazing Race. Here’s a list of movies I saw in the theater this year: Inception, Back to the Future (at an older theater in town), Letters to Juliet, Toy Story 3, Lovely Bones, Legion, Valentineโ€™s Day (do not see this), Iron Man 2, Sex and the City 2, Harry Potter, Easy A, The Other Guys, Scot Pilgrim, and Morning Glory.

My friend, Rohit, had a pretty awesome party this past summer. He rented a trolley and we rode around Chicago stopping at some bars. I liked riding on the trolley; it was fun! We drank and danced around on a trolley. How many people can say they’ve done that? I threw a party for the first time this year at my new apartment. I made some appetizers and ordered pizza. We also played Rock Band and a drinking game. It was a good time! I would definitely throw another party. On Mother’s Day, my mom and I got massages and pedicures. We then went to a Mexican restaurant and drank margaritas. It was fun spending time with my mom and getting pampered!

I finally made it to Taste of Chicago this year and I’ve never been to it before! It was a cool experience. I don’t think I ate much there, but it was fun to just walk around and see everything. It was really crowded, too! I also went to a Cubs game this year and sat in the bleachers. I went with Ray, Soleman, and Anne D. The bleachers are very interesting; there are always lots of people around! It was fun, except for the fact that the Cubs lost. I recently spent a day with Scott in Chicago, too! We walked around a lot and went to the top of Sears Tower. I love Chicago!!

I started taking guitar lessons this year. I’m not really that good, but it takes a while to learn! I’ll keep practicing, though. My cousin, Sydney, was in Beauty and the Beast, the musical, at her school. She was a townswoman and a napkin. It was a good play! She’s a good dancer and singer, too. She had a small solo! Yay, Syd!

I guess I’ll mention the sad parts of 2010. My Uncle Pat died at the end of July, and it was sudden. We were really close, so it’s been a tough time. I don’t think I’ve really accepted it yet. My mom also had hip surgery since she was in a lot of pain before. She is a lot better, though! It was just rough seeing her go through that pain.

I had some visitors this year! Christina and Melissa visited me for a night. We went to Za’s a lot, went out to downtown Champaign, minigolfed, and swam in a pool. It was great spending time with them; it felt like college again! Uncle Paul, Aunt Carol, Sydney, Ray, my mom, Uncle John, and Grandpa visited me, too. Guess what we did? Minigolfed! I guess I do that a lot. It’s fun, though! We played games and hung out. I was happy they visited. ๐Ÿ™‚

I tailgated with my brother and his friends before the SIU vs. U of I football game. I was the only U of I fan at the tailgate since they all went to SIU, but that’s ok! We basically drank and played bags all day. We also grilled some hot dogs and burgers, too. It was a fun day, especially since U of I won!! I started dating Scott this year, and it’s been great! We met up again at this tailgate. I’m happy. We’ve done a lot these past few months! We’ve been to a lot of nice restaurants, walked around a very confusing corn maze, went to the SIU vs. U of I basketball game with family (U of I won again), and lots more!

Halloween weekend was fun! We went out with work people to a martini bar in our costumes. Scott was Waldo and I was Lady Gaga. I wore my costume to work, too. It was probably one of the best costumes I’ve ever had! Good times.

Well, as you can see, I did a lot this year. Those are the good times of 2010. Let’s hope for a great 2011!!

Day 158: Fish

Rachel, Day by Day

Here’s a pretty, fake, plastic fish for you! I saw of few of these near the side of the road in Escanaba and thought they were cool! I think it’s like how Chicago had cows everywhere in the city, but with fewer fish. I kind of wanted to pull over on the side of the road and get a picture, but we didn’t. Sorry that the pole is in the way. It is a pretty fish; I like the purple line in the middle. I have no idea what kind of fish this is, though. Anybody know?

Today, on Sunday, my mom, brother, grandpa, uncle and I went to the Island Resort and Casino (where the Beach Boys concert was) and gambled a bit. I did actually play some Blackjack on Saturday before the concert. I didn’t do so well, though. I wanted to play in honor of my Uncle Pat, though. Anyway, I did a bit more gambling that day and lost playing the slots. I think I lost a total of $30, which isn’t so bad. I can live with that. I do like the Wheel of Fortune slot machine, though! Anyway, then we went to the bar and got a few drinks. I forgot how much I like rum and cokes!

My Uncle John and I went swimming at the hotel pool while my Uncle Tom, Aunt Helene, and brother went golfing. We came up with a volleyball game with his Live Strong bracelet! We basically tried hitting that back and forth and saw how many we could hit in a row. I think we did that for over an hour. You should try playing this someday; you’ll then see how fun it is! Then, the whole family went out to dinner. It was nice to spend time with everyone.

Later on at night, my mom, Uncle John, and I drove around and tried spotting the northern lights. Sadly, we did not see them. It would have been awesome, but we were unlucky! Oh well. Another fun day/night. ๐Ÿ™‚