Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Posts from the Road

Some favorite postcards I picked up on my trip!  

This card is three dimensional!

Great retro typography

Ok, we loved North Dakota... And the zig-zag edges...
Final Destination :) 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Road Trip Diaries; Day 1

A few weeks ago my old college pal, Lauren, called me up and asked if I would drive across the country with her. She had secured an employment opportunity in Everett, Washington and she needed someone to keep her company along the way. My answer: “I’m unemployed and I just bought a new suitcase! I’m there!”

And that is how the story begins.

Day One: (11/06/11) I headed north on an Amtrak to Chicago after a short visit with Ted. There I met Lauren who had driven in from South Bend, Indiana. I jumped into her over-stuffed Toyota and we headed on our way. I unfortunately was starting the trip off with a bad bout of pink eye, but with hopes that it would disappear in a few days, we didn’t even let that phase us. The drive on day one was full of catching up – so many good stories and gossip to tell! 

We practically flew through Wisconsin and Lauren drove all the way to Saint Cloud, Minnesota where she had arranged for us to stay with her friend Joe. By the time we got there we were both beat! I took a shower and fell asleep while she and Joe got a chance to catch up. 

Road Trip Diaries; Day 2

Day Two: (11/07/11) We woke up early and left quietly so as not to disturb Joe’s roommates (although they did not have the same courtesy the night before…) and we got back on the road. North Dakota was a lot more fun than expected! We stopped at the Welcome Center and picked up about 20 brochures that would take us all the way to Washington. The lady there really loved her job.

Anyway, things were going really well – the scenery was gorgeous! – until we lost the luggage carrier that was attached to the top of the car!! I am not kidding, this was a scene out of a movie. We are driving along and we hear a funny thumping noise, we look at each other and shrug, I look in the rear view mirror and we realize was happened and start screaming and I pull over and before I know it Lauren is dodging traffic in the middle of the highway chasing down the giant duffel. Thank God some nice men pulled over to help us – they threw the giant bag on the back of their truck (with very little effort) and drove it to our car on the side of the road. They pulled some spare bungee cords from the bed of their truck and helped us secure the carrier again. The stupid thing didn’t budge after they were done with it. We said thank you and were on our way once again. Few! No real damage but we agreed, that was enough excitement for one day.
The Badlands by Moonlight

As we are getting close to Montana we pull over and get a glimpse at the Teddy Roosevelt National Badlands. This is breathtaking so we decide to take the driving loop around the park. Hands down, the best $10.00 I’ve spent in my entire life. It took almost two hours to do the loop, but I wouldn’t trade that time for anything. Words cannot explain the sights we saw. Truly amazing. 

We finally get to Montana!! And they have a nice big “Welcome to Montana” sign so I beg Lauren to pull over so we can take a picture with it. This is what you’re supposed to do on a road trip after all, right? I snapped some photos and we scurried back into the car because it was now freezing. We stopped for some dinner in Glendive, Montana but when it came time to take care of the bill I realized my wallet was not in my pocket. And it was not in my purse. And it was not in the car. Ok, freaking out. I remembered having it when we were at the Montana sign.

The Bed & Breakfast
So, we drive back to the sign and look for it... By this point it is pitch black, extra thank you to Daylight Savings Time, and we can’t find it. Lauren secretly wants to kill me, but she kept her cool and was really nice about it all. We decide to call it a night and try to find a hotel near the border so we can wake up early and look for it in the morning. Ok, great plan, except this part of the country is over-taken with oil workers and every hotel we find is full. (Except Beaver Creek but that place was way too sketch and the guy at the desk had a face tattoo. No way.) We are at our wits end; if we go further it won’t make sense to come back and look for the wallet, but there was over $100 in cash in the wallet, not to mention if I don’t have an ID, flying home will be an absolute nightmare. We finally find a bed and breakfast (thank you Ted and your google skills.) We settle in for the night in coziest little room – we both took 45 minute showers to help us calm down. This was the best nights sleep we’ve ever had. 

Road Trip Diaries; Day 3

Day Three: (11/08/11) We wake up early and leave before the sun rises – unfortunately we were driving east, but we managed to avoid the sun in our eyes. By the time we got back to the “Welcome to Montana” sign, the sun was just coming up. It was a magic moment, we had searched all around the sign and were starting to drive further up the road slowly with our eyes peeled, and we found it!! It was another moment of excited screaming, arm waving, pulling over, and running to the middle of the road. My tiny brown Coach wallet was sitting there on the yellow line, all puffed out from being run over by a car. The zipper was broken but it was still intact. All of the cards inside the wallet were crushed into tiny pieces but somehow my drivers license and debit card, which had been tucked in the outside pocket of the wallet had flung out and were lying in the grass a few feet away, unharmed. Is that a miracle or what? I think God was telling to give up on credit cards. We spent a few minutes rejoicing and then headed back on our way!

For some reason, our GPS took us on the scenic route through Montana rather than staying on 94. We took Montana 200 on a more northern route across the state. We are convinced that this route has much prettier views, steeper hills, and sharper turns. Let’s just say that there were points when I was driving where my knuckles were white and my palms were sweating, and I thought, this is the reason why there aren’t many cars on this road. Anyway, we got some amazing photos and saw the best views.

This is what I saw when I closed my eyes at night.
We then  drove to Missoula, Montana where we were staying with Lauren’s friend, coincidentally also named Lauren, her boyfriend BJ, and their three-legged dog, Kona. They have a tiny, cozy house and they made us feel right at home. Lauren #2 made us tortilla soup and we drank wine and we shared stories for a few hours. We told them all about our trip and they told us about being stalked by mountain lions. (It’s true! You have to hear the story from them, it’s crazy!) So all was going great! Until about 1am when I couldn’t sleep – which is not normal for me – and my tummy was doing summersaults. Let me spare you the details, but just know that I didn’t sleep much seeing as I spent most of the night in the bathroom. Ick. How on earth did I get sick? Some things are a mystery. 

Road Trip Diaries; Days 4 and 5

Day Four: (11/9/11) I woke up feeling like I didn’t sleep at all, but that didn’t matter, we were back on the road. I took a big spoonful of that pink medicine and hopped into the passenger seat. By this point in the trip and after all that we had been through, we weren’t going to stop for anything – Get Us To Washington!!!

I slept a good portion of the way and we listened to Chelsea Handler’s book on tape, and finally, one day of our trip that doesn’t have something crazy to report. We got to Lauren’s new apartment in Everett and we trucked all of her belongings into her room and sat back and relaxed. We made it. The trucker guys from North Dakota made that luggage carrier look light, but it was indeed, very heavy. After we unpacked a bit, we rewarded ourselves with some hot soup from a little restaurant down the road and I fell asleep at an unusually early hour.

Day Five: (11/10/11) Lauren and I woke up early and showered and headed out on some errands. We then headed to Seattle to see a few sights before she sent me and my food poisoned, pink eyed, lost wallet-ed, pathetic self back to Chicago! I laughed and thought, “She’ll be glad to be rid of me!” The rest of the story remains for Lauren to tell!

This trip, even though we had our rough patches, was really amazing. I am so glad I was able to drive across the country! I saw some of the most beautiful sights in the United States and I cannot wait to find an excuse to go back. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Interviewing Dilemmas

I have been unemployed for exactly two months today so in honor of that great achievement, I thought I'd share this little tale with you:  

Chapter First: Arrival 
The morning of an interview is always a rush. "Why didn't I do __ in advance?" "Do I look good enough, is that a hole in my tights?" "Do I have enough change for the bus?" So there is never enough time for brewing coffee or even popping a pop tart, so breakfast at the train station, $6.45. Swipe. Everything is more expensive in Chicago, everything is also a lot farther away than I think... So here comes the dry cleaner bill because not only did I speed walk the 5 blocks to the interview, but that $4.00 coffee just spilled down my $200.00 J. Crew blazer. (Yes, all events taken from real life encounters.) Luckily I always carry an ample supply of Kleenex in my pocket, so now picture this - little white fuzzes all down my blazer. The homeless man on the corner was laughing so hard that he didn't even ask me to buy a copy of Streetwise. Ok, I'm finally here. 

Chapter Second: Interviewing 
I technically can't spend money during an interview but somehow I manage. Once the interview is over, I hand them my leave-behind. Being a designer, this is one of the most important parts - the only piece of your portfolio that you leave them with. So naturally, I spent $60.00 on enough paper and envelopes for 25 interviews - and that was with my employee discount! So each leave-behind is worth practically $10.00 because God help me if I have to go on 25 interviews. 

Chapter Third: Homeward Bound
So now I have to tromp my sweaty, dirty butt back to the train station and I am parched! All of that walking and talking about myself, I need water!! $2.00 for a bottle - why do I love Chicago again? Ugh, come to think of it, it will be 2:00pm before my 12:30 train gets me home so I might as well get a sandwich with that water, wait, that thing is tiny, give me some chips too! $10.00... 

Next stop, the ticket window. I used my last 10-Ride punch on the way in. $51.00 between my stop and Ogilvy, what a deal! That's 20% off the price of individual tickets and you can share it! As it turns out, I don't want to share it... 

So now I am sitting on the Metra thanking to goodness that I can't spend any more money for at least an hour and a half, until I remember that I have a smart phone and a credit card and a new Rue La La boutique just opened. And since now I'm angry I should buy myself some discounted designer to cheer myself up. Needless to say, I bought a new purse and didn't get the job... 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halfway to 50!

Hi Readers! This is my 25th blog post! Woo woo!!

And all I have to share are some silly photos from this weekend... Enjoy!

This can only be found in Madison, Wisconsin

I accidentally took this photo while I was walking down the street LOL!