frances in the city

November 8, 2010, 7:03 pm
Filed under: rando

a little list of things that are making my day/saving my day:

  • This little guy:
  • sugar cookies
  • Mumford & Sons (they are seriously my life right now, look them up if you haven’t already)
  • coffeeeeee
  • coffee ice cream

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.

“Hey ___!”
February 16, 2010, 7:08 pm
Filed under: Chicago!, rando

Things that need to be said:

Hey Anne! Please come back! It was lots of fun and we were carefree with bakery-full bellies! I ate your leftover macaroni for lunch. It was delicious, but it tasted better when I ate it with you.

Hey tennis season! Give me my boyfriend back (please)! We’d like to resume seeing each other on a semi-regular basis, if that is possible.

Hey scholarship application! I’m glad we’re over and done with each other. Now we can wait patiently to hear the results. That’s slightly less stressful.

Hey library! Thanks for being a wealth of inspiration and knowledge! We’ve got a tiny problem though: I keep falling in love with your books and then I look them up on Amazon and then I find out they’re out of print and cost hundreds of dollars. And then I consider committing a federal crime and “losing” the books and/or changing my identity for the sake of avoiding fines. This is a vicious cycle, library. Please don’t make me quit you.

Hey laundry! Please take care of yourself!

Hey flat “everything” pretzels! You are great because you’re waaayy more accessible than an everything bagel. I can eat a few of you without committing to a whole bagel experience, and I’m pretty sure you’re better for me too. I bought you at Trader Joe’s, but I know you also exist at Walmarts in the deli section.

Hey Greenpeace volunteers! Please discontinue your practice of verbally accosting pedestrian traffic on Michigan Avenue. If they wanted to stop and chat, they would stop can chat and give you all the personal information your forms require. But they don’t. So please stop.

Hey portfolio website! You’re looking awfully tidy and reorganized! Too bad completely updating you requires a lot of work…sad face. Maybe we’ll work on it this summer.

Hey everybody! Remember when I worked for Barrett Morgan Design LLC this summer? One of the websites I designed the layout for is live today and that is exciting. Check it out!

Ok that’s all the loud opinions I have to vocalize today.

productive unproductivity
January 22, 2010, 4:24 pm
Filed under: Chicago!, rando

It feels like it really should be¬†a wildly productive day…but it’s not. I’ve been working¬†the past few days to catch up on some of the time I took off (5 weeks is a long time!), and I have all sorts of free time. The semester doesn’t start till Monday, so we’re really not that busy. I have all kinds of time to do things I won’t be¬†able to do once school tromps¬†all over my soul: research for projects, write scholarship essays, work on miscellaneous projects, etc. Yet somehow, I have accomplished none of those things. I have, however, read an inordinate sum¬†of items in my Google Reader, perused & ordered stamps from the United States Parcel Service (the king and queen “Love” stamps are sooo¬†cute!), chatted excessively with both my mother and father on GoogleChat, stalked people via facebook, wrapped most of my brain around the concept of Twitter, organized my calendar, mailed two textbooks, and pretty-fied my to-do lists. Basically, what I do every Friday (except for the Twitter part. that’s new. so are the stamps. can you imagine if I ordered 20 stamps every single friday? that would be so much stamps!).

Here’s what I think YOU should do on this Friday afternoon:

  • Start reading my good friend Calla-baker’s blog. Or at least read her most recent post about stress eating. About half-way through, she gloriously and accurately describes the stress that comes from monster deadlines (i.e.¬†the majority of my¬†high school newspaper experience). Plus, she’s a journalist, so she is¬†a very cohesive writer.
  • Make these¬†muffins and let me know if I can leave out the fennel seeds. That’s one more thing to buy, and I’m really not so hot on fennel seeds.
  • Ponder this:
    A long complicated sentence should force itself upon you, make you know yourself knowing it and the comma, well at the most a comma is a poor period that it lets you stop and take a breath but if you want to take a breath you ought to know yourself that you want to take a breath.     
    ‚ÄĒGertrude Stein excerpted from the 1935 ‚ÄúPoetry and Grammar.‚ÄĚ
    originally from here
  • Pick your favorite ampersand and holler back.
    I like this one:
    and this one:

Now onto le weekend!

Adventures in Nashville
November 10, 2009, 10:23 pm
Filed under: rando

Lots of lovely folks have come to visit Nate and I in Chicago. It’s fun playing tour guide, and this weekend we got to experience the other end of it. Our dear/great/best/goodest friend Katherine attends Belmont University in Nashville, and we were finally able to go see her world. You’re probably going to get sick of all these fluffy adjectives, but it was a truly great weekend.

We had a safe and uneventful flight out of O’Hare on Friday evening. We managed to locate the Garrett’s Popcorn (with the assistance of my mother), and I unknowingly snuck a pocket knife through security (don’t worry. The TSA caught it in Nashville. I forgot about it. Again). Katherine picked us up at the airport, and we headed straight to dinner at Mafiaoza’s, a “pizzeria and pub.” Another friend from Wichita/Real Life, Tori Mac, joined us for pizza and pasta. Tori looked at Columbia before settling on Belmont to study music business. Small world!

Not pictured here is the 18" pizza Nate ate six pieces of.

Not pictured here is the 18" pizza Nate ate six pieces of...

The majority of our weekend was filled with eating and catching up. Those are absolutely the two best ways to spend a weekend.
On Saturday morning (err, late morning), we went to a delightful restaurant called the Pfunky Griddle with nine of Katherine’s friends. The main menu item at the Pfunky Griddle is the unlimited pancakes. The tables have large griddles built into the center, and they give you pitchers of white and multi-grain batter and toppings and let you do the rest! A couple of Katherine’s friends ordered sides of eggs. They literally bring you the whole egg and you crack and cook it however you like. Gimmicky, yes, but so much fun. The multi-grain pancakes were sooo good.


No surprise, we smelled like pancakes for the rest of the day.

After breakfast/lunch (we never identified it as brunch), Katherine gave us a tour of her campus. It’s so neat to see friends in environments that suit them perfectly. Katherine is a classical viola performance major, and she’s getting amazing opportunities at Belmont. Her mother and I are very proud.

My one requirement for our visit was that I got a cupcake. I love bakeries. Bakeries are like the best thing ever. Nashville did not disappoint. Gigi’s Cupcakes were HUGE, reasonably priced, and had tons of frosting. Like equal parts frosting and cupcake.


Our flavors from left to right: carrot cake, Italian cream, and wedding cake.

We spent the afternoon driving around, dancing to music, and enjoying things you can’t do in a big city. Like getting half-priced cranberry-cherry limeades at Sonic America’s Drive-in. And eating Chick-fil-a. I am still confused why Chick-fil-a has not taken over America yet. Couldn’t we trade a Starbucks or Walgreens for a good clean Chick-fil-a? I could go for that.

Katherine's excitement was uncontainable. The picture of the cup is for proof.

Katherine's excitement was uncontainable. The Chick-fil-a cup is for proof that we were there. The nearest Chick-fil-a is three hours away.

Saturday evening was spent doing exciting wonders like hanging out with Katherine at work, watching Glee (Katherine and I are TV-kindred spirits), eating fried cookie dough, and watching Tay Swift host Saturday Night Live. Oh, did I say something about fried cookie dough? Let me inform you. Katherine discovered this restaurant with cookie dough egg rolls on the menu. Sinful. She says that she and her friends medicate with cookie dough egg rolls. Rough week? Cookie dough egg rolls. Need to celebrate? Cookie dough egg rolls. Some genius decided to fill an egg roll wrapper with cookie dough and serve it with ice cream and hot fudge. I took a picture, but the flash rendered it useless. Besides, concept is really all you need with this one.

On Sunday we went to Katherine’s church and had lunch with Nate’s aunt and uncle, who incidentally live just down the street from Belmont. We also visited Nashville’s full-size replica of the Parthenon (really) and the lovely park that surrounded it.


I’m so thankful that Nate and I could see Katherine in her element. Aside from the excessive eating, lovely weather, and refreshing change of pace, our general togetherness this weekend was such a blessing. We don’t get to see each other very often, and that makes it so much sweeter. Praise the Lord for such a glorious weekend!

November 2, 2009, 11:49 am
Filed under: Family, rando
Totally exciting Monday morning. That statement is contradicting itself. But whatever.

Why, you ask?



Click on it, my friend. Click on it. This is pure narcissism. It’s gone to my head. But you can go to and see all my buddies! This is very exciting for us.


So I went to Runamuc¬†this weekend. Grandma and Nathan painted. I didn’t. I tried to fix Grandma’s Quicken software (to no avail) and they painted. Another Runamuc weekend where I didn’t pull my weight.

On Saturday night (that’s Halloween), Nathan, Grandma and I ran some errands (including paint+primer in one! dog food! toothpaste! Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups!) and then met Jenn for Chipotle. Somehow most of the world still does not know about Chipotle’s Halloween Special. I don’t know how this has happened. It is the only Halloween celebration that is truly worth the effort. All you have to do is dress up like a burrito (i.e. wrap yourself in a small-to-large amount of tin foil), say “Trick or Treat” or “Happy Halloween” or really probably nothing at all, and they will give you a free burrito. Friends, that is a $7 savings. That is fabulous.
So Grandma provided the tin foil and, via the transitive property, bought us dinner. I’ve heard very noisy complaints that we did not take pictures, but the past is the past, and we must learn from our mistakes. I will say this: Grandma makes a very fiesty burrito.


Nathan took this picture with his iPhone. How great is an iPhone?

I’m so glad we got to share this lovely bonding experience and introduce Grandma to Chipotle. She liked it! She and I split the Carnitas burrito, and it was the perfect amount of food for dinner. We still had room in our bellies for homemade apple pie (a la modie).

It was a very wonderful Halloween. And all of us got an extra hour of sleep due to daylight’s savings.

Things that made this weekend great:

  • Grandma
  • free Chipotle
  • Grandma’s tin foil bib
  • homemade apple pie
  • with ice cream
  • bacon
  • candy
  • cheese
  • quality family time
  • extra sleep
  • Walmart

Ok so the majority of that is food, but we all know where my allegiances lie, so let’s not kid ourselves.


Oh Friday.
September 25, 2009, 3:45 pm
Filed under: Chicago!, rando

Friday and I are best friends. We wish we could spend more time together, but as it works out, we only see each other once a week. Such a shame. Friday, I love you. Thank you for being there for me when I need you and providing hope and happiness.

I’m at work…one more hour and Friday and I can truly enjoy each other. This afternoon we had what we believed was a fire drill. We later found out that it was the real deal, the result of a paint job gone awry. This has been my second building evacuation in two days, and I’m beyond irritated by the fire alarms Columbia has on campus. I’m used to polite fire alarms, the kind that ticks you off but gets you out of the building without beating you over the head. The ones here I believe to be manufactured by the same company that outfits luxury cruise liners with noise weaponry to ward off Somalian pirates in the Indian Ocean. My little ears were bleeding (not really) and it upset my stomach (really).

Speaking of my stomach, it was full of some delicious sesame noodles courtesy of the Pioneer Woman (my mom and I’s favorite blog for recipes with beautiful food photos). She just posted the recipe this morning and I read it and thought “I have all of those ingredients. I will make that for lunch!” And so¬†I did. I also topped it with a fried egg and the bell pepper in my fridge that was about to become fertilizer. So. Good. And then I stopped by 7Eleven and paid $1.12 for a 12 oz can of Diet Coke. 7Eleven’s pricing is out of control, and so is the sales tax. But it was convenient and a nice pick-me-up and that meets my needs.

Remember last time when I said I wanted to have nice comfortable shoes? This afternoon I’ve been talking to my dad about options (you can tell my afternoon has been jam packed with activity). I’m looking for nice little slip-ons with decent arch support that are comfortable for fall walking but still look nice. I was thinking something along the lines of this:


Dad kept popping back on my ichat with the likes of this:columbia

On reviewer said the shoes on the left would be better if they weren’t so “tractor-like”. I’m all for practical comfort, but I have to draw the line at some point (Thanks for your help Dad!). I’m willing to invest in something a little more expensive as long as I know it’s comfortable. I paid $50 for the flip-flops I’m wearing today, which seemed absurd at the time, but I wear them ALL the time. Unfortunately my toes won’t be able to stand the chill much longer, so it’s time to find something that works.

What are your favorite walking shoes? Any suggestions? Comment away, wonderful people. And enjoy your time with my best friend Friday.