frances in the city

from my phone?
December 14, 2011, 3:43 pm
Filed under: Chicago!

Did you guys know you can update WordPress blogs from your iPhone? Pretty crazy. I’m in my last marathon critique of the semester and I am SO grateful. Come 4:50 today I’ll be one advertising course away from a degree, the rest of my spring classes are basically fun times (with a lot of hard work).

In general, this has been a pretty easy semester and finals season. Praise the Lord! I’ve been able to spend time with people I love, and I am so thankful for the abundant free time I’ve been blessed with.

This Sunday was a fun day with two of the first friends I made in Chicago. Alison rented a zipcar and drove us to Hyde Park for brunch with my old roommate Megan. I love them both so much but we aren’t able to hang out very often. Alison is moving to the Mississippi delta this summer for Teach for America but is going home to Kentucky for the time in between…it’s crazy that she’ll be graduates and gone after this week! After a tasty breakfast, we went to Promontory Point Park to film a video for Alison’s “Goddess” class. Yes. That is the name and subject of a class. Megan was featured as the goddess, and I passed the time taking pictures of a nearby COYOTE straight chilling at the beach. It was acting like a cat, basking in the sun in the middle of the city. What. Definitely made the day memorable.

Afterward we went to Megan’s apartment for tea and studying. It was so good to do work with Megan–we used to be together constantly and I’ve missed the casualness that comes from living together.

God is blessing me so abundantly in this season. He always provides just enough time to get things done. I’m looking forward to making it to Sunday when I’ll join my parents in Wisconsin before driving back to Kansas for Christmas. I HOPE THERE WILL BE FUDGE!






sweeeeet saturday
November 5, 2011, 2:36 pm
Filed under: Chicago!

It’s 2 pm on a Saturday, and it’s already been quite eventful.

My friend Blue is a film student at Columbia, and this weekend she is shooting a short film she’s worked a very¬†long time on. She asked a few of our lady friends to prepare lunch for the cast and crew each of the days of the shoot. This morning I got up and made a LOT of pasta and an alfredo sauce and baked two giant pans of pasta with broccoli. It was a fairly simple process, just a little tedious. A few of the crew members are vegetarian, and the costume designer can’t eat gluten, so those things were taken into consideration. I had the meal all ready to go, wrapped in foil and wiggled into a cart, except for the giant pan that was resting on a box lid balancing on top of the cart. I pushed it out to one of the busier streets to catch a cab, and when I turned the cart just slightly, the box top slid off and the aluminum roasting pan fell face down¬†on the sidewalk. I didn’t know what to do and was so flustered. A sweet couple out for a walk stopped to apologize, but there was nothing any of us could do! Fortunately, probably only four or five (of the intended 30 servings) were sacrificed to the concrete, and I turned the pan right side up and wailed a little, and then got in a cab. There was nothing else to be done! It was pretty horrific, but I’m thankful there was enough of the gluten-free pasta and salad to feed everyone.
They’re filming on the roof of an apartment building in the middle of downtown, and the set/view was incredible! I see so many buildings from street level only and rarely have the opportunity to see some of the tops closer. The one in this picture is supposed to look like a¬†champagne¬†bottle.¬†Classy, right?

After dropping off lunch, I stopped for a coffee from Intelligentsia, which is such a treat. They have all these fancy ways of brewing coffee, I usually don’t understand what’s going on. I’ve been making French press coffee in the little press Caroline got me for my birthday, and there are so many more flavors in each cup! I didn’t intend to become a coffee snob, and I’m probably not full blown, but I’m so thankful to be able to appreciate all of these little things!

The weather today is quintessential beautiful autumn in Chicago. So glorious. I walked all the way back to my apartment since it felt so nice. God has used Chicago to teach me so much about contentment. The present is such an enormous gift, and knowing that the seasons will change makes me embrace what is happening now. I won’t be able to walk a few miles without gloves in two months. It will be miserably cold. So for now I will walk every chance I get and enjoy all of the leaves changing colors and the clear sky.

I wish I had a photo of Halloween to share. I was a lobster and it was my favorite costume ever. Pictures from our dance party at church should be up before too long, hopefully I’ll remember to put one here later. I’m very excited to be acquiring an iPhone in a few weeks, for many reasons but specifically because I’ll have a decent camera to upload pictures with. Wouldn’t it be nice if I shared bits of my life more frequently?

Also, here is a photo of a dachshund wearing a shark costume last weekend. Best. Ever.

a little bit of lately: the flood
September 1, 2011, 12:21 am
Filed under: Chicago!

I spent the end of July and the first half of August living out of three suitcase, depending on the kindness of friends and eating $7 dinners. The city of Chicago received eight inches of rain in two hours one evening and sewage backed up into my (recently acquired) ground level apartment. I was at Runamuc for the weekend and had no idea how bad the flooding was; I only knew they had asked us to evacuate our apartments for the immediate future. I spent that Sunday worrying over which sketchbooks were on the floor and what papers were safely in a plastic tub under my bed. As it turned out, sometimes imagining the worst can be the best: when I entered my apartment late that night I was truly¬†delighted to see that we had lost none of our things, that the water had seeped in through the edges of our walls and damaged only the perimeters of our living room, bathroom and hallway. We were so fortunate. The apartment complex I live in had to deal with 32 damaged apartments, 26 of which were occupied. I opted to stay with friends in my old neighborhood, choosing quality time in a home over camping in a hotel room. Their hospitality was so wonderful and most of the time it felt like a slumber party. My dear (dear) friend Tayler baked over 300 cupcakes for her friends’ wedding. So that was one adventure. We also watched a lot of 90’s Nickelodeon and braided each others’ hair (really). I finally moved back into my apartment the third weekend of August. Both of my roommates were in different states, and I was able to unpack boxes at leisure and reorganize things without a committee. I¬†acquired¬†a beautiful couch and chair that make lounging and chatting ideal, and I’ve got more fire in my belly than before to make our apartment into a home.¬†¬†God is so good to me, and he reminded me that things are just things, and inconveniences like this draw me closer to Him and His people.

It’s a new season! Summer is ending, and I’m hoping to catch up little by little. I know it’s been a while, but it’s been the very best sort of busy.

as settled as I’ve been
November 5, 2010, 5:24 pm
Filed under: Chicago!

ever wonder what my desk area looks like when it’s clean?
nope? then check back later.

I’ve lived in my present apartment since August of last year…so I guess we’re going on 15 months together. The majority of our apartment is carefully curated and decorated (and naturally I’ve never shown you what the rest of it looks like), but I avoided all beautification of my room for a whole year. I knew what I wanted to do, but time + money weren’t playing well together and it wasn’t really a priority, so I just put it off.

WELL. I finally hung shelves above my desk two-ish months ago. Naturally, there was some mis-measuring and they aren’t quite correct, but they’re functional. And last weekend I simplified my bulletin board plan (really, there was a highly involved plan) and bought four cork squares. Both of these are incredible improvements and have freed up my desk space exponentially. Another cool thing about it is that it looks like I actually live here. I’m for it.

theory: this could lead to productivity
actuality: all of this is the result of procrastination, so there you go.

check out that cleanliness. finally everything has a place.
you may notice that the shelves don’t line up with the brackets. that’s because they don’t.
the only pictures I take these days are either of this nugget or food.¬†¬†¬†¬† yeah…cat lady in training.

About that soup right there…it is delicious. You can read the recipe here. My mom was flying back to Kansas a few Sundays ago and weather delays made her miss her connecting flight. Frustrating, but she was able to spend the night here with me, eating soup and pumpkin muffins and watching Pretty Woman. So if you’re wondering if curried sweet potato soup is worth your time, you can hassle her about it.

the leaves are changing colors.
October 3, 2010, 2:39 pm
Filed under: Chicago!, rando

I love October. I like jackets, I like boots, I like pumpkin spice lattes (amen), I like clear skies, I like wearing my flannel jammies with the window open, I like it all.

cream cheese pumpkin muffin.

Autumn makes me feel nostalgic and hopeful at the same time. I always remember my first fall here (two years ago!) and the exploration and excitement. Understandably, that sense of possibility radiates with particular strength whenever the semester and season kick off. People also like to visit in the fall, and that makes for some very beautiful days. Excitement.

My mom is coming to visit me next weekend. I’m beside myself with joy.
I’ve been working for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, did I ever mention that? I’m helping out with the design and production of what feels like every tiny little piece of printed material necessary to operate & direct a major marathon. It’s been an incredible experience, to see the organization and planning of a HUGE event (35,000 runners and nearly 2,000 volunteers!), to work for a well-respected and recognized marathon, and to be part of something so dang inspiring! I had NO idea how much goes into this one event (there are 50+ people whose full-time job is just to plan the marathon!), and it’s fun to be part of that. Right now things are CRAZY busy/stressful. It reminds me of newspaper deadlines in high school, amplified times a million, but similar comradery and ambition. Mom is coming to visit for marathon weekend (10/10/10, the date to motivate!) and we’re going to do a little volunteering and have a lot of fun. I’ve never experienced this kind of anticipation, where you work SO hard for SO long for one specific event. The closest thing I can compare it to right now is Christmas, and that’s not even quite right. But my MOM is coming and there will be 35,000 people accomplishing something so huge and we’ll probably find wonderful treats, and that’s close enough to Christmas.

I’ve made myself square meals and done a lot of homework and haven’t spent a single dollar this weekend. Novel concept, being responsible.

Have you heard of Mumford & Sons? I’d heard rumblings for a while, and I finally downloaded their CD yesterday. Holy. Cow. Excellence. I don’t know a ton about them, but I’ve been told they’re Christians making mainstream music that points somewhere wonderful. They have banjos, Caroline, though I’m sure you’ve already heard of them.

God has been blessing me with joy and contentment and peace. I’m so thankful, and I just thought you’d like to know. None of those things are dependent on good moods or sunshine or things aligning the way I’d like. None of those things depend on me.

project weekend kick-off
September 25, 2010, 5:30 pm
Filed under: Chicago!

As you may have assumed from my absence, things are BUSY. But then, when are they not? I calculated the other day that between work, classes, and other commitments, I’m occupied 43 hours a week. That number seems a little small for how busy I feel, but it’s still a lot when I consider it doesn’t include homework or socialization. The fruit of all this scurrying about is three-fold: 1, I’m managing my time like an adult, 2, I’ve been incredibly productive, and 3, I feel like I earn my weekends and free time. Three Fridays ago, I treated myself to a pumpkin spice latte at 3:30 in the afternoon. It was sooo tasty. I told my mom about it, who mentioned she was reading a book and eating a bowl of coffee ice cream. My momma invented earning the weekend. This got me thinking…treats like this are so savory when they cap off¬† a busy week, so why not make a point of celebrating the end of a workweek? I’m trying it out, and it’s fun to have an excuse to seek out a treat. Last week I went to Beard Papa’s after Uncle Kenneth suggested I seek out lava cake. I ended up with a strawberries and cream cream puff and some SUPER tasty chocolate cookies (that can be likened to tiny lava cakes after an 8 second spin in the microwave). Yesterday I went and picked up a chocolate coconut cupcake at More.
Hurray for weekends!

a few quick pictures
September 24, 2010, 11:46 pm
Filed under: Chicago!

Deary me, it’s been so long. I don’t even know what to say or where to start.

So why not begin with some phone pictures of things I ate? That’s totally characteristic.

My summer best friend Alex turned three at the beginning of September. LOOK AT THIS KID'S DESSERT SPREAD. Have I mentioned that his parents own a bakery? Greatest party ever.

Remember what I said about Alex loving letters as much as I do? His birthday cake was phenomenal. SO MUCH LETTERS. Six layers of chocolate cake.

on fire.

Chorizo and chickpeas. So cultured.

Summer corn and shrimp soup with avocado. SO good, primarily because of the shrimp. The recipe mentioned using rotisserie chicken instead. I could get behind that.

Since I can’t link to recipes inside captions, here’s the link for chorizo & chickpeas, and the corn soup. I heartily recommend both.

On the very short list of “things I took pictures of with my camera phone that are not food, or at least food I intend to eat” is this little gem.

Luxe's first night at the apartment.

Luxe moved into our apartment with her mom Alexis. Since mid-August, they’ve been keeping us company and making us feel warm and fuzzy. Luxe is currently sitting next to me on the couch. It’s nice to be welcomed home, even if she just uses me for my affection. And I’m ok with that.

We’ll talk again soon. I promise!