Wednesday, January 30, 2013

DIY Rainbow Keys

Even though I've been in Chicago a while, I'm still finding ways to settle in and make my life easier. I've always enjoyed doing crafty things that I find on Pinterest-- anyone who has seen my room here or in Texas will likely recognize a lot of my decor inspired by things I've pinned. This project however is less crafty and more functional, but still fun to make! 

I have a lot of keys on my keyring (some of them identical) and until recently was perfectly okay with having to try a few keys before eventually choosing the correct one to let myself into my apartment building. Now that it's getting colder, getting into my apartment as fast as humanly possible is key (haha I'm so punny) and I'd like to re-claim the 30 extra seconds it takes to get in the door. Color coding my keys with nail polish as seen on Pinterest seemed like a perfect solution to my problem. 

Here is a quick tutorial on how I did it:

Step 1:
Unhook your keys from your key ring and lay them flat. Round up some nailpolish.

Step 2: 
Apply a thick coat of pollish to the face of the keys. I decided to go ahead and paint all my keys just for fun, even though it's just the two identical ones that give me trouble.

Step 3: 
Apply a "top coat" pollish and let dry. Mine were pretty much dry in 15-20 min or so. 


Anyone else have Pinterest success stories?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

This one time... I was almost famous

Ever heard of the tv show "Chicago Fire"? Well, sometimes they film in Chicago (obviously). And not just anywhere in Chicago, but sometimes right in my neighborhood!This isn't the first time I've stumbled across their filming (I've seen them by the lake a few times also), but this was definitely the closest-- It was less than a block from where I live! Luckily, there were signs and emails sent out to the residents to warn us, because otherwise I would have probably freaked out when I turned onto Lexington and saw the sirens, smoke, and windows glowing with "fire". I stayed to watch a few minutes and got to watch a fireman climb up a ladder to the 3rd floor and "rescue" someone!

I've decided I'm destined to become semi-famous while in Chicago. In addition to my Chicago Fire experience, once when I was here on vacation we walked past a shop where Jennifer Aniston was in the middle of filming for a movie. Have you ever been in or near a movie or television filming?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

How to Survive a Chicago Winter

Last year when I started telling people I was seriously considering moving to Chicago for graduate school, the first thing that people would usually mention was how they hoped I would survive the winters there, that there would be a shocking difference between Texas "winters" and Chicago. When I moved into my apartment in August, this was hard to imagine as my mom and I sweated through moving my things up to the second floor in what felt like a sauna. Even in December before I left for winter break, it still didn't really feel like the dreaded winter weather I had been expecting, and then Texas beat Illinois to the first snow storm!

Well, it's January and my first Chicago winter is finally here! Technically, I have already survived a few since I was born in Illinois and spent a few years there before my family moved to North Carolina, but I can't say my two-year-old self has any useful memories of that time. I knew I was in for a treat because the weatherman referred to the 30 degree temps from a few days ago as if it was a lovely day, that we should feel lucky to have such wonderful weather at this time of year. Yesterday, the real cold weather finally hit. When my phone told me the high for the day was a measly 12 degrees fahrenheit I did a double take. By the evening, windchills plumeted the temperature into the negative 20s! This morning, I was greeted by a whopping zero degree forecast for my walk to school, and a windchill advisory has been issued for the surrounding area. I have never been in a place so cold that it was actually hazardous to my health! I am far from an expert and am still feeling my way through it, but here are some tips to survive a Chicago winter:

Step 1: Beef up your winter wardrobe
I waited for Land's End to have a sale before splurging on a huge puffy knee-length parka. This may seem ridiculous at first, but everyone has them and looks like an eskimo. I opted for a subtle puple color to show my TCU pride :) Other new additions to my wardrobe that I love -- an awesome hat with extra insulation around my ears, and gloves that still work with touch screens. I am still experimenting with scarves and how to wrap them. Today I tried wrapping a scarf around my lower face to cover my mouth and nose, but by the time I was halfway through my walk to class ice crystals were forming on my scarf due to the condensation of me breathing on it! That was definitely a new and unexpected experience haha. 

Step 2: Wear layers... Everywhere
I thought I had this down until I ventured outdoors last night to the rec center. The way there wasn't so bad, but the way back was terrifying! I spend maybe 20-30 min outside in my full winter gear, but just my tennis shoes and one pair of socks. When I returned to my apartment, I was legitimately concerned about the possibility of frostbite in my feet. All my toes were numb, white, and took an incredibly long time to warm up once indoors. Today, my pinky toe on my right foot is still somewhat numb. I'm not sure I will leave my aparment again for any non-necessary reasons until May, and I will never underestimate the power of layering socks ever again!

Step 3. Get the right equipment
Thankfully, I am now the owner of an ice scraper, snow shovel, and my very own jug of cat litter to use for my car thanks to my wonderful grandpa :) Other items that I recommend are an electric blanket, and a window insulating kit. My bed is pushed up against a large window so having an extra layer between me and the sub-zero temperatures outside has made a huge difference, and will also hopefully help with utility bills.

Thanks for reading and I hope this helps anyone who find themself up north during wintertime!

Monday, January 14, 2013

A Year in Review

So this is later than I would have liked, but I like to think being present and engaged in the life going on around you rather than the one happening via technology all the time is a good thing :) Here is 2012 in a nutshell. It's been one exciting year!


I wrapped up a life-changing four years in color guard at the annual stockshow parade and attended my last band formal with Amanda and Cristi. I stepped out of my comfort zone and joined the ranks of general chemistry teaching assistants. Other January highlights included my first stockshow/rodeo with Lauren and Emily!


I celebrated Valentines day with our annual color guard single ladies dinner + movie + baked goods with my roomies. This tradition has become such a staple in my Valentines Day celebration. February also included my second try at father-daughter skeet shooting. It was freezing but unlike the previous year I actually hit some targets!



In March I played lots of Bingo, saw the musical "Rent" for the hundreth time with Emily, Lauren, and Erika, and went on a beach/rainforest adventure in Galveston for spring break. I watched my last round of TCU tulips bloom, participated in my last LEAPS with Alpha Phi Omega, and  played entirely too much "Pop-5" with my roommates.


April started off with me and Cristi dominating at the APO Easter egg hunt. I was given my first speeding ticket, and my roommates set our counter on fire. On my mom's birthday, Emily and I attacked her therapy room and filled it with lots of balloons -- one for every year old she is. Despite Emily's inability to blow up balloons, the surprise worked out great. I presented my honors thesis project at the student research symposium, went to my first Ranger's game and last Black Diamond, and finished the Warrior Dash! Also, this happened:



I graduated from TCU, cum laude and having completed my honors thesis :) I was so blessed to have both friends and family in the audience to support me! What a thrilling but bittersweet end to a fantastic four years at TCU. I couldn't have dreamed of a better college experience. Go Frogs! Leading up to this momentus occasion, I attended my last APO semiformal, had fun with the Chemistry kids, and went on a full day adventure with Cristi and Amanda to the Fort Worth Zoo, the Water Gardens, and then into Frog Fountain.

Also, this happened:


We vacationed in Florida as a family, and it was a blast! Also, I attended my last of many Harry Potter midnight showings with my awesome sister. My dad and I headed to Chicago to tour UIC and find me an apartment.


I spent a lot of my summer working at my parents' clinic and helping out with one of the families that gets services there. We also watched the McKinney fireworks like we always do :)


After spending a jam-packed few weeks with my friends and family and helping a little bit with ADPi recruitment, I moved to Chicago and started my first semester as a graduate student in Occupational Therapy! Woah!


According to my lack of pictures taken in September, nothing exciting happened at all. Go figure. 


I had the honor of being a bridesmaid for my best friend/college roommate/sorority sister, Pamela and her now-husband Daniel! It was seriously a joy to see two of my friends take this next step in their relationship and I had so much fun celebrating their marriage with many Texas friends who I missed dearly while at school.

Oh yea, and this happened:


The highlight of my November was getting to spend time with many of my Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins in Bloomington


My first semester of graduate school came to an end with a raging Tacky Christmas Sweater party, complete with matching Good Will tacky sweaters. I spent several precious weeks at home in Texas for the holidays catching up with friends and family. We even had a white Christmas!

Whew. That was a beast of a post. Better late than never no? It's been a great year, if 2013 has even just a fraction of the fun, excitement and growth as 2012, I'll be set :)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Year, New Blog, New Adventures

It's time for a new blog! The Horned Frog Blog served me well, and while I'll always be a TCU horned frog for life it is time for a new chapter of blog-ness :) 

First, go listen to this song by Needtobreathe, because this is the vibe I'm going for.

Really exciting things are happening for me right now and I hope to use this blog as a way to chronical all the beautiful things in my life. My anthem for 2013: 

Hey now, this is my desire                                             
Consume me like a fire, 
'Cause I just want something beautiful
To touch me, I know that I'm in reach
'Cause I am down on my knees.           
I'm waiting for something beautiful

Thanks for reading and cheers to 2013!