Day 540: Something Pink (Challenge Day 25)

Rachel, Day by Day

30 Day Photography Challenge: Day 25

Hello! Here’s is something cute and pink for you. This is a little flower on my cute, summery purse. I love this purse and I probably use it too much! I like how most of it is black and white, but there’s the the extra pink flower and line that makes it even better! My purse is sadly getting a bit dirty, though. Can you wash purses? Maybe hand wash. I’d be worried about ruining it, though. Anyone have any tips??

Yay, weekend! Scott and I went out to a bar with my brother and his friends. It was a good time. I haven’t seen some of his friends in a long time, so it was good to catch up. We ate an awesome dinner at Portillos, too. It might be good that I don’t live near one; I’d probably be there every single day. Why doesn’t the Portillos franchise expand?? They would make so much money! At least expand to college campuses in Illinois since a lot of people come from the Chicago suburbs. Think about it, Portillos! I got to see my uncle and grandpa briefly last night, too. Good times!

I wish I could afford awesome movie channels on my TV. My mom and brother have an amazing Comcast package because they can watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II whenever they want! Not that they would, though. I’d probably watch it every day! Anyway, my point is they have good movie channels.

Yay, Friday!

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Day 486: Harry Potter

Rachel, Day by Day

Color Challenge: Blue Day 3

Here is a blue Harry Potter book for you! I really liked this book, except for a certain person dying at the end. I won’t say the name. But, if you haven’t read this or seen the movie, I’m upset at you. Ok, not really. I am now going to tell you who died in this book, so stop reading if you don’t want to know. It was Sirius Black. I remember reading that part and getting really upset. I might have been at work and on a break with my brother. I started shouting, “No!” I kept looking at my brother, too, hoping for some sort of reaction from him, but he had no idea why I was upset. He probably thought I was crazy. Good times. Anyway, I like the blue color of this book, especially the Harry Potter lettering at the top. Good job, cover designers!

I did well today for the first day of Lent. I didn’t ask anyone that certain question (Are you mad at me?). Is it ok that I just typed it, though? Well, it’s probably ok since I didn’t just ask anyone. Right? I’m confused now. I did almost ask this question twice today, but I stopped myself. I hope I can do this for 40 days. I only ate one meal today since that’s what Catholics do on Ash Wednesday. Let me tell you, it was difficult. I was dumb and had three cups of coffee without any food in me, so my hands started shaking. I finally just had dinner (sushi and salad) and I am extremely full right now. Ugggg. I’m might go in a food coma after this.

Happy Wednesday!

Day 450: Year in Review

Rachel, Day by Day

Hello! So, it’s time for my 2011 year in review (sorry, this will be long) . Thinking about 2011 compared to the past few, it’s been a really good one. I had a lot of memorable moments with friends and family. The year started out great, spending time with Uncle John, Grandpa, Ray, Mom, and Scott. We went out to a fancy dinner for my Uncle John’s 50th birthday and spent the night hanging out and drinking at my mom’s house. It was a great time, except the martini I made didn’t turn out so great! Oh well.

Let’s see, what else have I done this year? I continued taking guitar lessons and really feel like I’ve improved over this year. It was nice playing tennis with work friends and going to occasional happy hours. Game and pizza nights have been fun with Scott’s family, too! Here’s a list of movies I saw for the first time this year (not in any particular order): Black Swan, The Muppets, No Strings Attached, The Social Network (not in the theater), The King’s Speech, Winter’s Bone (not in the theater), Adjustment Bureau, North by Northwest at the Normal Theatre, Vertigo (not in the theater), Water for Elephants, Rear Window (not in the theater), Pirates 4, Bridesmaids, Hangover 2, Winnie the Pooh, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Limitless (not in the theater), Cry Baby (definitely not in the theater since it’s a bit older), Bounty Hunter (not in the theater), Source Code (not in the theater), The Kids Are All Right (not in the theater), Up in the Air (not in the theater), Lion King 3D, and Sherlock Holmes 2.

I can tell you that the worst movie out of this list (in my opinion) was No Strings Attached. Ashton and Natalie were horrible actors in this movie and it wasn’t really funny. Hmmm, I think my favorite movies out of these are Adjustment Bureau and Harry Potter. Of course it was hard to say goodbye to Harry Potter and it was a great ending to the series. I loved the plot of Adjustment Bureau and Emily Blunt is a great actress. Sherlock Holmes 2 and Bridesmaids are close behind these two movies, though!

My favorite shows of the year are Modern Family, House Hunters, Amazing Race, The Office, New Girl, and Glee (not so much right now, though). I think New Girl is my favorite at the moment. Zooey is an awesome actress and I love the chemistry with her and the three boys! I definitely recommend this show.

Here are some other fun things I did and places I went this year: karaoke nights at Bentley’s and Pias, Scott’s mom’s 50th birthday party, two Blackhawks games (and they won both!), the karaoke bar for Christina’s birthday, the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Elmhurst and spending time with friends that day, a cooking class with Scott, Easter brunch with family at Drury Lane, an arena football game with Scott’s friends, Melissa’s bachelorette party (went to bars and a restaurant in Naperville, went minigolfing, got pedicures), Melissa and Larry’s awesome wedding on my birthday, going to Arlington Park Racetrack, my college friends visiting me for the weekend, the Pork and Apple festival, being in a video shoot for work, my friend Anne’s Halloween party (Scott and I dressed up as a gangster and flapper), pumpkin carving with Scott’s family, spending time at Mikey’s bar, seeing Eric’s show in Chicago (True Twilight: A Glee Musical), doing the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving, and seeing my cousin Sydney in the Alice in Wonderland play. I also bought a new laptop for myself that I’m typing on right now. I love it!

Here are some few things that were not so great this year: one of my tires blew last winter on a very cold morning, the crazy snow storm in February, firefighters came to my apartment thinking there was a fire (my fire alarm goes off a lot when I use the oven; this was embarrassing), I accidentally let a squirrel in my apartment building, and a squirrel got in Scott’s house (luckily I wasn’t there for this; we’ve had a strange year with squirrels!).

I went to three weddings this year: Josh and Jenny’s in Edwardsville, Bree and Ian’s in Dubuque, and Melissa and Larry’s up north. It was fun taking short little trips to Edwardsville and Dubuque, and it was great meeting Scott’s friends. I was a bridesmaid in Melissa’s wedding and it was fun spending the day with all of the girls and dancing the night away! Congrats to all you crazy couples!

I joined the whole smartphone world this year, too. My mom and I bought Droids on Black Friday. I think it’s pretty cool, but I still really don’t use the Internet that much. I can see it being great if I wanted or needed to check my e-mail all the time, but I don’t really. I do like my notepad app, though, since I write notes to myself a lot!

I think the biggest world news this year was that Osama Bin Laden was killed. It feels like it happened a long time ago already. I think it definitely boosted the country’s morale, especially since our economy has been struggling for so long. I never I thought I’d be glad to hear about a person’s death, so maybe I felt a little weird about the whole thing. I definitely didn’t want to see the photos, so I’m glad they weren’t released.

The Blackhawks Convention was great this year! I had a fun time with my family and sitting in on some of the seminars. It was fun spending time in Chicago again, too. Plus, I got to meet Jonathan Toews again and this time I got my picture taken with him! I had fun hanging out at the hotel bar a few nights, too. My brother got a lot of autographs just by staying up late and waiting by the front door of the hotel. Good times.

My mom was called in on Windy City Live this year, too! She won a gift card to an awesome restaurant in Chicago. Here’s the video: http://windycitylive.com/video?id=8406332

I went on some amazing trips this year. My mom, Ray, Scott, and I went to Las Vegas for a long weekend near the end of May. We stayed at Monte Carlo; the pool there was great! I think we spent time there every day, which was nice and relaxing. Scott and I walked on the strip a lot, which is always fun to do. We went to a really fancy bar called Mandarin Bar. The view was beautiful, so we sat by the window and enjoyed some cocktails. It was fun dressing up, too. On our last night, we went to a piano bar and had a great time. The woman even played a Lady Gaga song for me. Fun vacation!

I also went to the upper peninsula of Michigan with my family to visit my Uncle John. We had a nice time! We saw the 4th of July parade, played some tennis, saw many beautiful scenic areas and waterfalls, and did some gambling. I even played a round of golf with my brother, mini and real. I’m not that great, but it was fun! I always love spending time with my family. I hope we go to Michigan this year!

In August, Scott and I went to San Francisco, which was an amazing trip. You probably already know what happened there if you know me. 😉 We both had never been there before, which made it extra special. Some highlights of the trip include seeing crooked Lombard Street, having wine for happy hour at our hotel, eating great food (I fell in love with rainbow trout), seeing the Fortune Cookie Factory and the Cable Car Museum, seeing Jimmy Stewart’s apartment in Vertigo, going to Alcatraz and Ghirardelli Square, walking to Golden Gate Bridge, spending time at Fisherman’s Wharf, playing at Musee Mechanique, seeing the Full House house, seeing the Haight/Ashbury district, and going to the Cubs. vs. Giants game at AT&T Park.

Of course, the best day in San Francisco was when we walked through Golden Gate Park and had dinner next to the Pacific Ocean. Scott proposed to me on the beach after dinner and we celebrated at a bar called Vesuvio later. I had no idea that day would be so life changing, and this year! It was definitely one of the best vacations I’ve ever been on, and I’m so happy I found Scott. 🙂

I think I’ll write about what I did New Years Eve in another post since this is so long. But, to sum up, this year has been great. I did so many fun things and went to many awesome places. I got to spend a lot of time with friends and family. And I’m engaged to an amazing guy. It’s hard not to smile when thinking about 2011. I’ll miss you! But I sense more amazing times to come.

Day 448: Christmas Day

Rachel, Day by Day

Merry Christmas!! Well, not really since it’s not Christmas anymore. Who had a great Christmas?? I did!! I went to four different places throughout the day, and it was great spending time with everyone. I started out the morning with my family and we all went to church together. Then, Scott and I drove to Normal and spent time at his parent’s house opening presents with everyone. Everyone was way too generous this year! I got so many great gifts from everyone, including electronic Scrabble, wall decor, a bridal purse and coozie, pajamas, gift cards, a nice wedding book, kitchen stuff, stamps, wine glasses, Harry Potter Scene It, rainboots, DVDs, bunny towels, and so much more!! Everyone was way too nice this year; thank you all!!

After opening presents at Scott’s parent’s house, we spent some time with family at his grandparent’s house. It was nice seeing everyone again! We then went to his other grandma’s house and spent the rest of the night there. We opened even more presents, ate a delicious meal, and hung out together. We ate prime rib, ham, twice baked potato, and much more! I swear, I think I’ve gained 20 pounds in the past week. I really need to start eating healthier after the holidays. It was a great Christmas with everyone!! Here’s another photo for you of Scott’s neice, Kendyl:

Day 440: Focus

Rachel, Day by Day

So, I tried a little experiment with my camera. I took the same photo, but with two different focuses. The first one focuses on the window while the second one focuses on the tree outside of the window. I thought it was fun trying this! The photos don’t look that awesome close together, but they look cool from farther away. It’s neat when you can tell the tree is the same in both photos. You might think this is weird, but I had fun with it! I’m surprised it turned out this well since my digital camera focuses itself. As you can see, it was a dreary and rainy day today. This weather always brings me down a bit. I hope it’s sunnier tomorrow.

Wow, I just ate a TON of chex mix. I tend to eat a lot while I’m watching TV since I don’t pay attention to my food portions. I pretty much just finished the bag and now I’m really full and thirsty. Sorry, this paragraph is random. I’ll move on to another thought.

I had a nice low-key weekend! It’s nice to have those once in a while. Scott and I hung out with his family and friends, and we did some shopping, too. We rented the last two Harry Potter movies and watched them on Saturday night. I cried a bit again! I can’t believe I still get emotional at the fact that the series is over. I need to get over this!!

Do you like surprises? I think I do, but I don’t really like knowing about them for a while in advance. I tend to go crazy trying to think of what the surprise will be. It’s more fun when they aren’t expected, in my opinion. I was going crazy during the day before Scott proposed, because I could tell he was hiding something. That was, of course, a great surprise!

Have a good Thanksgiving!

Day 434: Housewarming/Halloween Party

Rachel, Day by Day

I had a great weekend!! Last night, my friend Anne (see her awesome blog here), threw a Housewarming/Halloween Party! She’s been talking about having a housewarming party for a long time now (3 years I think?), but wanted to wait until her condo was completely decorated and ready for the event. I’m glad it turned into a Halloween party, too. The first photo shows all the incredible food she made, including deviled eggs, caprese skewers, pumpkin cookies, pizza bites, goat cheese squares with raspberry chile chutney (my favorite), cupcakes, and so much more! I wish I could cook and bake like her. I definitely pigged out last night. She even made really good jello shots! In the second photo, we have Katy Perry, John Denver, and Kitty Purry. These are three out of many amazing costumes at the party. I’m especially impressed with Katy Perry; it is such an awesome costume! I love it. Scott and I dressed up as a gangster and flapper. We also had Kermit, a copy cat, a male Lady Gaga, Gem, and a cute tennis player. It was an awesome party.

On Friday night, Scott and I celebrated our one year anniversary. He asked me to be his girlfriend last year on October 21, so that’s how we determined our anniversary. It was a great night! We had dinner and drinks at Boltinis, one of my favorite places in town. We ate some really good bruschetta for an appetizer and I had a salad for dinner. After dinner and a few martinis, we went to Blind Pig and met up with some friends from work! It was a good time. We ended up at Bentley’s and did some dancing. Good times!

Has a book ever brought you to tears? I know I cried while reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I got really emotional when Dumbledore died (sorry if you didn’t know that and I just ruined it for you). I think I was reading it on a break at my summer job, and my brother was sitting across from me. He was probably confused as to why I was crying. I don’t know if I’ve been brought to tears by another book. What books brought you to tears?

Go Bears!

Day 413: Fantasy Fence

Rachel, Day by Day

Once I saw this fence in town, I immediately thought it was awesome! The material to make this is actually billboard vinyl, and this is definitely a creative way to reuse it. There’s a sign on the fence that gives you information on this art, and it mentions how most billboard vinyl ends up in landfills. There’s a lot that can apparently be made from billboard vinyl, though! For example, shower curtains, tents, tarps, and so on. I love the different colors used here, especially the sun and the sky! The name of this art is called Fantasy Fence. I like the name, too. It makes me feel like I can turn any fantasy or dream into reality. I want to do something creative now!

My weekend was fantastic. Hmmm, I’m not sure if I’ve used the word fantastic in a blog post before. I guess it’s about time for a new word! Anyway, Scott and I went out for dinner and drinks on Friday night. We had this really good bruschetta appetizer at Boltini’s, too. Mmmm, I always forget how good bruschetta is! We even did some salsa dancing, which was a lot of fun! I miss dancing and kind of want to do it more often. Maybe I should take some dance classes or something. I miss the swing dance lessons I took with Mel and Christina during college! Good times. It was a great Friday night.

Saturday consisted of shopping, playing tennis, swimming, eating food, and watching some movies. A perfect Saturday. As for the movies, Scott and I watched Source Code, The Kids Are All Right, and Up in the Air. I definitely sat on the edge of my seat throughout Source Code and I’m still confused about a few things. You should see it so we can talk about it. I really liked how it was located in Chicago on the Metra train! They were wrong about one thing, though. There’s no Dunkin Donuts on the train. I liked the other movies, too, especially Up in the Air. I’m not a huge fan of George Clooney, but I thought he did a great job in this movie. I can’t imagine firing people for a living! That would be depressing.

On Sunday, I saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, in 3D with my cousin Sydney. I’m still not a big fan of 3D, but it was an experience. If you want to read more about what I thought of the movie, click here, which is from day 403 of my blog. I had a great time hanging out with Syd, as always! I miss her a lot. I’m hoping we can have a shopping day sometime soon, too. I got to see family on Sunday, which was definitely a treat. I love them! 🙂

Gotta love weekends. I wish they were longer! Ok, it’s late. Goodnight, everyone!

Day 411: Awesome Leaf

Rachel, Day by Day

Scott and I went to The Coffee Hound on Sunday and I ordered this caramel latte. Mmm, it was delicious! I have no idea how he did it, but the guy who gave me this drink drew a leaf on top in the foam. Isn’t that awesome?? I wish I could do that! Well, I don’t think I’ve even made a latte before. But, anyway, this is really neat. I didn’t want to drink it at first since the leaf would be ruined, but I did anyway. It’s so pretty, though! I’m glad I took a picture. I must say, it was one of the best lattes I’ve ever had! My favorite latte is a pumpkin spice one, so I’m hoping this place has them in the fall.

When I got to my apartment, I turned the switch so the air conditioning would go on. Well, that’s what I thought at first. I started to get really sweaty and then realized that I turned on the heat instead of the air conditioning! I turned the switch to off right away, but it took a while for the heat to turn off. Wow, it felt like there was a fire in my apartment! I will definitely be more careful next time.

This is random, but here’s a list of sentences I’m guessing you don’t really hear anymore:
* Be kind and rewind.
* I need 50 cents to call you later on the payphone.
* I just got a letter from my pen pal! And it’s in cursive!
* Honey, take this roll of film to the store. Tell them we need it by Tuesday.
* Dang, I misspelled a word on this typewriter. If only this backspace button really worked.
* Who’s calling? I wish there was a way we could see who was calling us.
* You are wrapping the phone cord around me!
* Don’t forget to wind the camera.
* I can’t get this road map to fold correctly!
* Save that document to your floppy disk.
* Let me look up that phone number in the phone book.
* I just bought Lady Gaga’s new CD/cassette/record.
* Thanks for your help, travel agent lady.
* Let’s go buy the new Harry Potter tape!

I just thought I’d share this list that I wrote. It made me laugh. 🙂

Day 403: Last Harry Potter Movie

Rachel, Day by Day

Well, I did take this photo, but it’s a photo of a photo! I think that counts. Here’s a photo from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. The final movie. I saw it this past Sunday with Scott. I can’t believe it; it’s the end of an era. The first movie came out in 2001, so the movies have been with us for a decade. Crazy, huh? The books have been with us since 1997. It was a sad day when the last Harry Potter book was released and we all realized no new book would be released anymore, and now the same goes for the movies. How will I ever move on?

SPOILERS! DO NOT KEEP READING IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE MOVIE!

Ok, I’ll talk about the last movie now. I must say, I really really liked it. Most of the movie involved the battle between good and evil, and Harry and Voldemort. It has an epic war-like feel. The effects were great and the suspense kept me sucked in. I guess it’s a little weird since I already knew how it ended, but it was still great. Harry and Voldemort did a good job at showing their crazy connection. You can tell Harry was driven by love and Voldemort by hate. There were a lot of heroic acts in this movie, especially with Neville. He really stepped up with that random speech he gave to everyone and for killing Nagini. Go, Neville!

Harry, Ron, and Hermione didn’t have much dialogue in this movie, but I like how the dialogue and battle scenes even out in part one and two. They did have some funny one liners, including Harry’s awkward “Hi, there” to Ginny. Ron and Hermione share a passionate kiss after destroying a horcrux, and it was at the perfect time because I wasn’t really expecting it! I was happy to see them finally kiss, and they laughed at themselves afterward. I liked how they did that; it reminded everyone that these characters are still teenagers. I forget sometimes since they had so many mature things to deal with. The love stories between Ron and Hermione and Harry and Ginny were more believable in the movie than I thought they would be.

I cried at a few parts. Right before Harry goes to Voldemort to be killed, he uses the Resurrection Stone to see his friends and family that have died. His mom reached out to him, but they couldn’t touch each other. That’s when I started to cry. He was able to talk to them, and they kept telling him how brave he has been. It was a touching scene. At least I thought so. I cried at the very end, too. Maybe because I knew it was all over. I was sad and happy at the same time. You can call me weird if you want, but I don’t care. Harry Potter has been with me for over a decade! How could I not get emotional?

The movie went right along with the book, which made me very happy. I compared the book to the movie way too much, though; I’ll probably have to see it again without thinking about the book! There are only a few things I would have wanted to happen differently. Here they are:
**Harry told the public about the horcruxes in the movie, but kept them a secret in the book. I think he should have kept them a secret in the movie since this information could have caused more chaos, but that’s ok. I can live with this one.
**In the book, Harry used the Elder Wand to fix his old wand, and then put the Elder Wand back in Dumbledore’s grave. I liked this better; in the movie, he broke it and just threw it away. Fixing his old wand was a good idea.
**When Harry has the talk with Dumbledore in the book, Dumbledore explains more about his past and selfishness. I would have liked to hear about all that in the movie.
**In the movie, Harry showed himself to everyone at Hogwarts, but didn’t in the book. I like that he wasn’t out in the open in the book. I feel like people would have bothered him more knowing he was there. Oh well.
**In the book, Harry specifically told Neville to kill Nagini, but I don’t think he told him to do that in the movie. Neville did it in the movie anyway, though.
**I don’t think I like the way that Voldemort died in the movie. Technically they made it look like Neville killed him by killing Nagini since right after that, he broke into pieces. In the book, you still have to kill Voldemort after killing the horcruxes. He was killed by his own rebounding curse while fighting Harry. I liked the book version better.

I did like the ending, 19 years later. I heard in the original cut, Ron, Hermione, Harry, and Ginny looked way too old. They looked pretty much the same, just dressed a bit older. I liked that better.

So, the battle between good and evil has ended. Harry had to endure the killing curse again to get rid of Voldemort. Voldemort died and Harry lived.

What a magical story.

Day 402: Blackhawks Convention

Rachel, Day by Day

Look who I met this weekend? For those of you who don’t know him, this is Jonathan Toews, the captain of the Chicago Blackhawks. I’ve actually met him two times before at the other conventions, but this is the first time we have a good picture together! Well, I look a little odd since I was extremely excited and grinned like an idiot, but that’s ok. He actually thought he didn’t pose for the picture. The one thing he said to me was, “Oh, I wasn’t looking.” I assured him that he looked at my brother taking the photo and thanked him. Yes, we had a deep and meaningful conversation. I do think he is very cute. Look at that face!! I guess I can say I’m using a guest photographer for this post… my brother! Thanks for taking this picture, Ray!

The convention was a lot of fun! It was in Chicago at the Hilton; that hotel is very nice and fancy. I went with my mom, brother, and Uncle John. On Friday, we watched the opening ceremonies, ate out for dinner, and hung around at the hotel bar. My brother got Marian Hossa’s autograph that night, one of the many he obtained this weekend.

Saturday was a really fun day. I won a scratch and win ticket, which is how I got Jonathan Toews autograph again and the photo above. I went to a lot of seminars and heard them talk about many interesting and entertaining things! The players pull a lot of pranks on each other, especially Patrick Sharp! He is hilarious. That Saturday morning, he apparently put lotion on Brent Seabrook’s phone and Brent ended up getting lotion all over his ear. Toews talked about his love-hate relationship with Patrick Kane, too. I don’t see them holding grudges for a long time, though. I actually wanted to get Patrick Sharp’s autograph, but you had to wait in line for about 5 to 6 hours, and I didn’t really feel like waiting that long. Oh well.

My Uncle John and I walked around Chicago a bit and ended up at Buckingham Fountain. Chicago is such a beautiful city; every time I visit, I feel like I’m seeing it for this first time. We went to Bennigan’s for dinner; I miss that restaurant! There used to be one closer to my mom’s house, but it went out of business. That have very good Irish food there; I recommend it! Anyway, on Saturday night in Grant Park, they have Summer Dance with live music and dancing. My mom danced some salsa with me; it was fun! We then got some drinks at the hotel again and waited around a bit in the lobby, hoping to catch some Blackhawks players. My brother stayed up way later than I did and actually did meet a lot of players! He was very excited; I was happy for him.

Apparently there’s a Lifetime movie on right now about J.K. Rowling’s life. I’m interested, but at the same time, I don’t really want to watch it. I saw the last Harry Potter movie ever last night! But, I’ll have to write another post about that or this one will be too long.

What a great weekend!