Tag Archives: chicago

oh my chicago. how i loved you

13 Aug

RETRO POST! this was one of my first posts back in 2011.  Oldie but a goodie…


so i can’t sleep or i guess i should say i woke up too early – like 4am too early.  is this what happens when you get on the wrong side of 40?  oh well, my  mind is going like crazy with the scent of possibility for the day.  so i’m cruisin the world wide information superhighway and i find this great article over at apartment therapy.  i realize that THIS IS MY OLD BUILDING ON ASTOR TOWER IN CHICAGO!  those of you who knew me then will see it too!

from apartment therapy: Teresa Goldberg’s apt

this is a bertrand goldberg designed building and i loved staying here for 6 years to death.  the first place i had was on the 7th floor.  look at this place!!  i lived here from about (fuzzy on dates) 1994 – 2000.  this is about as elite as you can get in chicago – in the gold coast – one block off lake shore drive right by all the action on rush and division streets, around the corner from oak street beach and i could walk to my job at j walter thompson on michigan avenue.  i absolutely loved living here.  the second place i had in this building was on the 5th floor.  it faced astor street, one of the finest streets in chicago and i could see lincoln park.  here quickly (have to start my saturday!) are some experiences i had in this phenom building:

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moving outside your comfort zone is living!

29 Jun

the other day i was cleaning out my office closet and came across all the journals i wrote in my 20’s.  there are tons of them.  all funky colors, dog-eared and written in different color inks.  i love these books.  i can transport myself back to my 20’s which were oh, so far away <sigh>

i don’t often open them up and read them, but when i do, it makes me smile.

may 13, 2001

today was an excellent day.  this whole weekend was wonderful.  it’s not too often i write about such great times.  i usually am too busy having fun to sit down and write about it!  today i had my ‘level c’ improv performance on the main stage at second city in chicago!  on the main stage!  it was awesome!  the place was packed full + we rocked it.  everyone laughed!  i think i am still nervous.  the lights, the stage, the people – !

i remember that like it was yesterday.  it was so much fun but completely + utterly nerve wracking at the same time.  i felt so alive and present because of it.  i found these pictures:




all in all i believe i took 40 weeks of improv classes.  it sure did get me out of my comfort zone.  it certainly helped me learn how to present with confidence and conviction in my ad meetings.

to be a person living with passion, you have to get out of your comfort zone.  for some that means jumping out of a plane.  for others it means taking a walk after dark.  doesn’t matter.  do one thing today that is out of your comfort zone.  otherwise you may grow old just “being.” you may think there is nothing wrong with just “being” but i say you will never know what you were meant to BE without stretching past what you know.  just do it.

i would love to hear about something you did that was outside your comfort zone.

it’s great to be alive!

18 Nov

read this if you believe it’s great to be alive.  or if you don’t.

my favorite radio station in the whole world is 93.1 or 93XRT in chicago, as everyone calls it.  i’ve been listening since i was in high school living the burbs of chicago.  i continued listening all the way through my 20s and 30s living the single life in downtown chicago to streaming it for the past twelve years (INTO MY FREAKING 40’s!) down here in dallas.


i’m not going to go into how eclectic the music selections they play are – just trust that i have good taste.  anyway, i grew up with lin brehmer.  he’s on the morning show and ROF won’t be mad by me saying…. i love him.  he’s genius, wonderful, funny and insightful.  and i LOVE his signature “IT’S GREAT TO BE ALIVE” phrase he got from frank zappa.  i wonder if lin knows someone in dallas thinks this about him.  ha!  hearing that reminds me to tell you that i truly – and maybe cheesily – think that IT’S GREAT TO BE ALIVE every single day.  if you know me, you know that is true.

can you even comprehend for one single minute, sitting in a cafe enjoying a nice dinner – maybe it was impromptu – maybe it was planned for weeks – who cares.  but you’re sitting there and a gunman enters and starts shooting off an automatic gun.  like you, i’m sure, hearing about the events in paris rocked our world this weekend.   you don’t have time to say goodbye.  you don’t have time to “work on those things that you want to change.”  that’s it.  was it good?   did you make every single day count?

sometimes i have to remind myself and my close friends that we have #firstworldproblems.  that sometimes the things that SUCK really don’t SUCK at all.  this is what having this mentality is all about.  for example…. having a hard time at work?  you’re not appreciated or maybe not being used to your capability?  well, you’re getting a paycheck, you have a roof over your head and an opportunity to change your situation.   so guess what – IT’S GREAT TO BE ALIVE!  you’re upset that you’ve gained weight and clothes don’t fit and you’re depressed?  well,  if your legs work and you can walk – then IT’S GREAT TO BE ALIVE.  so change it, dear.

i spent a lot of time with my dad when he was dying.  every single day as a matter of fact.  so, yes, many times your situation really does SUCK.  dying of cancer SUCKs.  but my dad for the nine months he lived after finding out he had cancer in his esophagus, then brain, then finally his spine is that he truly had the attitude of how knowing IT’S TO BE ALIVE.  he used his last days on earth to hug life.  to make wrongs right, to make us laugh, to squeeze my mom tight and tell her he loved her always, to encourage my sister, brother and i and to really embrace life.


he had the opportunity to do this where so many do not.  he knew this.

if you ever need a reminder how great it is to be alive go here and do something about it.  one of the best websites i’ve ever seen.  ever.  thanks JG for sending.


cabin fever

19 Jun

ROF and i are embracing the michigan lifestyle and this includes going “up north”. if you don’t know what that is, check out this video:

we’re slightly crazy about it and are thinking of renting a cabin for the summer next year. if you’re not familiar with michigan

look at a map

Screen Shot 2013-06-19 at 9.24.41 AM

it’s surrounded by big, glistening lakes. you have no idea how unbelievably beautiful this state is. if you don’t believe me, believe chef mario batali

anyway, all this thinking and dreaming of a lake house made me dig around on houzz to research my dream place. what i found was my ultimate michigan barn.

this was designed by northworks architects and planners out of chicago, il. this place is my idea of a getaway!
IMG_0231 IMG_0233 IMG_0234 IMG_0235 IMG_0236 IMG_0237 IMG_0238 IMG_0239 IMG_0240 IMG_0241 IMG_0242

you can see more on my cabin fever page on houzz here

feeling appreciative

28 Jun

if you read my “bio” or whatever you call it in the upper right hand corner, you will see that i’m the appreciator because i wasn’t sure what to focus my blog on.  i started writing this for background info as part of my job – so that i would actually know how to do it.

how i came up with that idea of “the appreciator” is:

ROF and i were taking a walk through our neighborhood.  it was about a year ago now.  and as we’re walking i’m asking him what could my focus could be…because you know, you have to have a focus.  the conversation went a little bit like this:

“so i’m thinking of writing a blog” (me)

“really?  that’s cool.  about what?” (him)

“that’s the thing, i don’t know” (me)

“why do you want to do it?” (him)

“well, my CEO wants some information on writing a blog and i want to be able to say i know how…from my perspective” (me)

“ok.  well you are a good at a lot of things” (him)

“awe.  that’s sweet.  go on.  like what”  (digging for more…me)

“well, social media for one.  you love it, believe in it and know it.  (him)

“yeah.  but that’s work.  there’s more to me.  here’s the deal.  i appreciate nice music but i don’t write it.  i appreciate great design but i’m not a designer” (me)

“go on” (him)

“and i love DIY stuff but i don’t actually DIY” (me)

“and….” (him)

“and… i love photography but i don’t do it professionally.  love good food but don’t cook professionally – but i appreciate it all!” (me)

“i know” (me)

“i’m the appreciator” (me)

“there you have it” (him)

and there i had it.  so going back to the basics, here is the short list of things i appreciate.  

my relationship with God.  my Father and hard core foundation.  thank Him that i don’t struggle with “the meaning of life”.  i have it.

husband, ROF.  Sappy and all – he is whom i appreciate the most

mom & sister.  not a “given” they are built-in friends for life and beyond. soul-mates

awesome extended family.  susan, mike, mike, bill & sarah.  wonderful people whom i love being connected to (6 more days, susan!)

wonderful aunts & uncles & cousins – seriously fun people i wish we were all a lot closer

career and all the people who have supported me and taught me and pushed me to the limits (you know who you are)

career and all the people who believe in what we do and work hard to support “the cause”! (you know who you are A & S)

friends – you know who you are too

house, i never stop appreciating you

max and wrigley.  my babies.  i love you to death

flying all over the country

flying in first class

flying in first class on vacation with a bottle of red wine

playing gin with #1

cooking dinner with #1

clean cut grass

white sheets 

being organized

our new MAC computer suite (kiss kiss kiss)

massive storms when i’m with people i love or like a lot

massive storms when there is red wine involved to calm me down

colorado – feeling little teeny tiny in a land of big mountains and low valleys and knowing that man had nothing to do with the beauty


poached eggs

the food network

mad men, damages, restaurant impossible, anthony bourdain

chevy dealers all over the country

the geigers in madison wisconsin

the dallas cowboys (ROF, stop laughing, i mean it)

the night before you go on vacation

the night before holidays

friends who surprise you on your anniversary by toilet papering your house at midnight and then ringing your doorbell while you’re watching ghost adventurers (EEKK!) and showing up with a bottle of good, no great, champagne.

knowing that your prayers are answered

central market and whole foods when no one else is in the store

church when you sing that hymn and it hits you in a way that you have to cry but no one knows your crying

remembering the feel of your dad’s hands and smiling at the thought of his “funny tooth”

a big Christmas dinner over at a big families’s house with lots of food, drinks, a bonfire and love

the east coast -hills and chills and history

woody allen

the movies: network, manhattan, annie hall, guess who came to dinner, manchurian candidate and more

good wine

bad wine

great music – house, electronic, rock, mix tapes, playlists, hip and cool

going out to eat

louie and louie’s


costa rica

the joule

making ROF coffee in the morning

are you still reading?

magazines and all the nuggets of information they contain

ideas and the execution of ideas

smart clients

smart people

passionate thinkers


ok, i’m tired now and i’m going to go.  this was not an exhaustive list by any means.

it felt good to capture some of this.  wish you would share with me some of the things you appreciate so i can too!


7am saturday sweet brew

10 Mar

the best day and time of the week is 7am on saturday morning.  now that i’m old, i am actually awake to hear the first bird churp the morning song.  it means it’s time soon to stream – via apple tv – chicago’s 93xrt radio station and listen to saturday morning flashback (ROF is uncanningly good at guessing the year before they say it)

this morning i thought about

my love affair with coffee.  it started when i was attending columbia college on michigan avenue in chicago.  my neighbor in naperville actually opened a coffee store on michigan avenue (in chicago place) and i worked there during my sophomore year.  it was quite a venture for her as a non-entrepreneur – opening a coffee shop on arguably one of the best well-known shopping streets in the country. hell0… cha ching…i’m just sayin’.

i didn’t necessarily like to drink coffee – i did – but that’s not why i liked it.  i romanticized it all out of proportion (i stole that line from woody allen’s opening monologue in manhattan.)  i love all the words that go along with coffee like brew, vanilla, steep, chicory, espresso, dark roast, latte, mug, cinnamon, morning, pick-me-up, clutch, auto-timer (ok, i like more what that does vs. the word)

i just liked the idea of it.  of course, i was smoking at the start of my love affair with coffee.  many of you would say ewww gross but truly…sigh… being 23 going to school in downtown chicago, drinking coffee at an outside cafe’ and smoking a marlboro light was just the breakfast of champions (and oh so french).  i could do that because at that age, i was for sure invincible.  going to school and being facinated with advertising and marketing and life.  it was all real good.

back then i was obsessed with paris too. 

so welcome saturday morning.  let’s all brew a great cup of joe and look forward to a great day ahead.

these photos, their credits and more breakfast goodies can be found on my pinterest board here.

planted firmly in the ground

21 Dec

i’ve thought all night about what i wanted to say about my fascination with trees.

no, it didn’t keep me up at night, i just couldn’t sleep. think it has something to do with the flannel sheets we sleep in. i woke up at 1:30 feeling as if i were on fire, in a burning inferno (drama) and couldn’t go back to sleep. thinking about trees did not keep me up.

but back to trees…. for as long as i can remember, i’ve had a spiritual connection with trees. think of everything they have been through – how long it took them to grow so big, how stable and unmoving they are (for the most part). staring at trees when i’m laying in bed or snuggled on the couch makes me think of one of my favorite bible scriptures from John:

5I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him,bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

specifically, i remember a tree that was outside my apartment on lasalle and chestnut in chicago. the apartment was huge and old and my room was all the way in the back down this long hallway. it had tall ceilings and old hardwood floors and got really cold in the winter. i loved that room. my bed was against the wall. i lived here when 9-11 happened and afterwards is when i started praying about moving to texas. i remember laying on that bed earlier in the morning and looking out the window at this huge beautiful tree and thinking about needing stability (roots) and wanting to bear good fruit. i knew i wasn’t going to get there in chicago doing what i’ve always done. so i moved.

i also like this poem by joyce kilmer


by: Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918)

THINK that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

“Trees” was originally published in Trees and Other Poems. Joyce Kilmer. New York: George H. Doran Company, 1914.

all these beautiful photos are the efforts of a lot of awesome photographers i found on etsy. please click on the photos to make them bigger and click here to see details and how you can buy them

magazines, advertising & loving your job

14 Sep

i can credit magazines for heavily influencing the direction of my life.  

both for good and bad. but more for good.

i became obsessed with magazines when I was 15 and discovered “SEVENTEEN” magazine.    one of the best parts of the month was when it arrived in the mail.  it arrived in plastic wrap –which they don’t do too much anymore.  the excitement was so overwhelming (seriously) that I couldn’t open the magazine until everything was just right.

ok, so first it had arrived (squeal!) then I hoarded it from any possibility of it becoming damaged (i.e.sister reads it first with greasy fingers)  by carrying it to my room and placing it, ever so gently, on my dressing table or desk.  now I just let the anticipation well up inside me for a few hours.  i would wonder what was in those pages, what secrets, models, stories, ads.  only when I had a full hour or two to myself, would I lay on my bed, on my stomach and open up the magazine.  then I would start at the very first page and work my way to the back.  slowly.  the smell of the printed page enveloped me.  the crispy, pristine pages responsive to my touch.  sigh.  that was all on the outside.  on the inside, was my dream.  dream hair, dream outfit, dream boy, dream design, dream bedroom.  every page of articles and ads influenced me.

and not always for good.

i really wanted to be like the things i saw in the magazines.  you know… perfect.  even at 15.

pretty soon SEVENTEEN magazine turned into ELLE magazine (one of my teenage favorites!) because it was so…french!  ha.  and VOGUE and you’re starting to glimpse how completely odd I am, right?  my bedroom at our house in naperville, illinois outside chicago was collaged with things I ripped out from magazines.  we’re talking all four walls  top to bottom.  not the ceiling because that would have been too much work.  my mom will tell you the story of the realtor saying the house was in great shape but you’d “have to do something with that upstairs bedroom”  i ripped out cool ads, hip models in creative backdrops, I kept in mind color and design when i did my bedroom artwork.


i went away my first year of college and didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life. i switched schools after that first year and really thought long and hard about what I liked.  i liked magazines.  i liked the ads in magazines.  mostly because they worked on me and they transported me to a different, perfect, place.  so i decided i wanted to do something with advertising.  an advanced english teacher of mine in high school insisted i go to columbia college in downtown chicago because it would be the perfect, creative school for me.

and it was.

i took all the marketing communication classes and minored in fiction writing BUT it was all the internships i did which shaped me.  the first internship was truly awesome.  i got a glimpse right there at the truly glamourous part of advertising and magazine ads.  i worked for a fashion photographer called john beckett.  i just found him and his studio which is now in phoenix.

he had a studio in a warehouse on morgan street on the west side of chicago (which is really built up now) he had ad agencies like leo burnett as clients as well as sports illustrated.  i was the assistant studio manager to a really fun studio manager – mary kay.  i got to pick out the models for the ads from a ton of headshots, work with celebrities nadia comanche, all the stylists.  it was straight on cool.  picture big open space, clothes on big carts on wheels, SEAL playing on the surround sound and espresso bubbling in the kitchen.  I over-romantized the heck out of it.  i  even did an “on–location” shoot.  i was a junior in college and thought I was the shit in downtown chicago, taking the train and telling models “thank you but no thank you – just not a fit.”  i loved seeing the ads in the magazines!

then I did an internship below beckett & beckett at the compshop.  they built comps for magazine ads and so much more – movies too.  then I did an internship for his wife margaret carsello who did incredible graphic design work.  I learned so much and felt like I was really living out what i loved.  and i did get into advertising!  been doing in for about 19 years now and have even have done some magazine ads.  

now I read every magazine under the sun. much to rof’s dismay.  I’m not talking people and us.  I’m talking food & wine, house beautiful and about 15 other monthly ones.

still loving

looking at the perfect. 

5 lovely links (you’ll love!)

9 Aug

today is all about etsy.

i have to admit.  i’m slow to the etsy game.  some of you are reading this and what you’re thinking falls into two camps:

1. no duh, amy.  etsy has been around forever. get with the program. 


2. what the hell is etsy?  you’re pretty cool, amy, for finding all these neat things!

there is absolutely no reason to leave your computer – like ever.  this little gem of a website has pretty much everything you’d ever want.   here is just a small sampling of a Christmas list i’m putting together – everything you can get on etsy.com

link #1: this shop is called the big harumph and they’re out of witchita, kansas.  not only do i l-o-v-e the word “harumph” but i love everything they have in their shop.   i’m thinking of collecting all these “love” posters, framing them and putting them all over our bathroom wall so when ROF gets ready in the morning, he can read them.  i love this shop!

link #2: peggy wolf is a german living in london. her illustrations for sale on etsy here are so incredible.  strong images of women.  i simply love them.  i added her to my circle  that is etsy-talk, by the way.

link #3: (left) is this the cutest damn dog collar in the world?  if you don’t have a dog, i bet you want to go get one now just so he can wear this collar.  this shop on etsy, is out of chicago and it’s called sillybuddy.  link #4 (right) this store is called luciousart and he is also from chicago (no surprise, here).  he calls his shop vintage animal and city art.  this is an i love new york card.

link #5: alfredo is in tuscon and he is a designer and makes all these (tons) of clutches himself.  they are very colorful and fun.

hope you enjoyed the links today.  make it a good one-

“the story” – finally! – part 3

27 Jul

good day!

if you’re joining in the “the story” for the first time today, then, please read part 1 and then part 2 and you’ll be all caught up and ready for part 3. which is right here.  won’t take long.

so where does this find you on this downright balmy wednesday morning …at the kitchen table with a cuppa joe, laying down with the laptop propped on your stomach (my favorite pose) or can’t sleep at night and nothing is on tv?  i hope it finds you well.  let’s get on with the story at hand, shall we?

we left off with a pretty dramatic flourish.  a crescendo if you will.  and those that know me know that is so unlike me – to be dramatic.

i remember the day vividly.  like it was yesterday.  have you ever had one of those times in your life where everything bad converged at once?  like one thing wasn’t bad enough, God goes ahead and just piles it on.  this was that year for me.

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new york in black & white

18 Jul

i could be woody allen’s #1 fan.

wait wait.  i know what you’re thinking.  and before you judge me and say “how could you, he is sic, he married his wife’s adopted daughter etc…” i understand.  but hear my story first. long before all that drama…

it was my senior year in college and i took an urban life in media and film class.  it was supposed to be a blow off class but wasn’t and i got a lot out of it. it was there that i saw my first woody allen movie called Manhattan.

the scene opens with him reading lines from the start of a play, showing black & white, romantic shots of new york city dramatically shown to the tunes of George Gershwin.  he had me at hello…

“Chapter one. “ “He adored New York City. He idolised it all out of proportion. “
Uh, no. Make that “He romanticised it all out of proportion. “
“To him,
no matter what the season was, this was still a town that existed in black and white and pulsated to the great tunes of George Gershwin. “
Uh… no. Let me start this over.
“Chapter one. “
“He was too romantic about Manhattan, as he was about everything else.

sitting in that class, i realized that someone had captured in words and music the passion i felt for life and big city.  this was about a city i loved – nyc – but it was also how i felt about my city of chicago.  i used to take the metro train from naperville to the city and walk about 9 blocks to college.  i loved the crisp, morning air and even the monotony of the 9 to 5’ers as they took for granted their big city routine.  not me!  i didn’t take it for granted,  i loved it.  i was 21 years old and had my whole life ahead of me.  the best part about that last sentence was that i knew i had a lot of good things in which to look forward.   to me, the mornings on the train  – watching the suburbs pass slowly then whiz past the beige industrial areas then the anticipation as the train slowed again to enter the big city  – all had the background music of George Gershwin.  the day pulsated with hope, zest and young optimism.  Continue reading

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