Been a minute but the past few weeks have been a few hair-pullers and a lot of laughs. This time around I could probably fill up 15 LOL moments but I'll stick to "head nods of approval." Let's go. 1. My godsister getting married:
I won't say her name on this blog, but I almost ended up in another lane of traffic while I was on the phone and found out she sent a photo wearing a wedding ring. I saw her wedding photos this week on Facebook and stole plenty of them. Is it stealing if you let the bride know you did it? Probably not. She got married in the Bahamas, and the background was beautiful. It was great seeing my godsisters all dressed up and watching the bride-to-be seal the deal with her boyfriend (now husband). I'm extremely happy for her and looking forward to her party next month. 2. "G.I. Joe Retaliation":
I loved that movie. Click here
to read my movie review.3. "Tyler Perry's Temptation":
Folks were mad about this movie. I was not. Click here
to read my review.4. Cracking jokes with Mom at a movie theater:
This is one of those had-to-be-there stories, but she asked me for some lotion while we were sitting in a movie theater. I gave her a high-five instead and she started rubbing her hands together. It took her a minute to realize that I gave her a high-five with the hand with no lotion on it. We both laughed way too loud and long. We ended up with the giggles so bad I thought the guy behind us was going to move into another row, but eventually we got ourselves under control before the previews started.5. Watching my grandfather do the Truckin' dance:
I would say he's got that Denzel/Sam Jackson swag, but he's 89 so his cool was around before they were even born! And whenever he is in a dancing mood, it's a treat. I've got a couple videos of him dancing with my father and one he recently did on his own while we were in his living room. He gets it in! I love it. I know he was never on the dance floor alone during his pre-married days.
I've had a lot to smile about this week, but the top of the list has to be: 1. Fitting into my old jeans: You could see my smile from Rogers Park to Brainerd Park when I decided to test out a pair of jeans on Friday that I haven't been able to wear in over a year. Not only could I comfortably fit into those jeans, but I can now wear the other two pairs of jeans that I'd hidden in the back of my closet. These were my three favorite pairs of jeans that I just couldn't handle donating to charity when I started gaining weight around the fall of last year. I was a stick figure as a kid and then went to a medium size around high school and stayed there. Got to college and became "thick," then lost a whole lot of weight (as in a size 12 to a size 6-8) during a weight training course after transferring to my second (and the only one I claim) alma mater. That yo-yo effect made me a little cocky when I gained weight again, thinking it'd just drop off. Nope! This time around I joined Weight Watchers after reading Jennifer Hudson's book because I'd shot up to 195 lbs. in January. Hell no! No way was I going to stay that size. And let me tell you, Weight Watchers works. I dropped so much weight within the first few weeks that I got an e-mail from WW saying I was losing weight too fast. I've been a vegetarian for eight years so it's definitely not hard to eat healthy and I've always been an exercise enthusiast, but Weight Watchers showed me that portion control is key. I was strutting my ass off this weekend wearing two of the three pairs of jeans that I missed out on in most of 2011 and 2012. 2. "The Family Hustle" and "Insanity" workout routines: This week I decided to exercise along with T.I. and his family during their Obama challenge and then Steve Harvey had Shaun T on from the "Insanity" workouts. I woke up sore all over, but it was fun to do all of those exercises. I'm a longtime supporter of Shaun T's "Hip Hop Abs" workouts and own the entire first set so it's good to see him on anybody's show. It gave me new ideas for working out at home because going to the gym can get old quickly. I prefer working out at home if the weather doesn't allow me to go for a nice long walk or jog.
T.I. is a brave man to do that pregnancy-style sit-up routine he did in the gym. I was laughing at him right along with Tiny and her friends, but like he said, "I don't care what you say it looks like. That's what you s'posed to do." Now I can do sit-ups all day, but that touch-the-ground one is major! And yes, I had to laugh at Shekinah getting a colon cleansing. Never in my life would I do that. After Kourtney Kardashian leaked on a bed, that was it for me. I was thoroughly grossed out by the entire process.
1. Al Green at Ravinia: I'd never been to Ravinia although I'd heard about it. A co-worker had a ticket she didn't want. I thought to myself, "Hell, I'm already off on Fridays and haven't been to a concert in a couple of years. Go!" And so I found someone to go with me and off we went. It was great. I could barely see Al Green from the lawn seats, but I enjoyed watching couples, friends and even kids dancing around to songs like "Love and Happiness" and "Let's Stay Together." Although I enjoy "Tired of Being Alone," my all-time favorite song of Al Green's "Simply Beautiful." (By default, I'm pretty crazy about "Their Eyes Were Watching God" for the song and Halle Berry and Michael Ealy together. Whoa! That kiss!) Pat Quinn pronounced Friday Al Green Day and I have no qualms about it.
2) Justin Halpern's "I Suck at Girls": I thought "Sh*t My Dad Says" was funny as ever and the television show was pretty good. Like the first book, I'm laughing out loud while reading this one, too. His experiences with women are so awkward at times, and the advice he gets from not only his father but his boss is beyond crazy. My favorite lines so far: "Why did you chase after her like a rapist?" Dan asked. "I just chased her. I didn't do it like a rapist," I snapped. (A girl he asked out took off running, broke left and he just kept running after her like a lost soul.)
I know people shouldn't wait for a new year to have goals, but why not use it as a little push to get the show on the road? So here are my seven new years resolutions for 2012.
1) Stop checking work e-mail from home: Unless it's something personal or for fun, I'm going to stop working from home. I've had two bosses plus my boss's boss tell me to enjoy the weekend. I'm a bit of a workaholic (and get it from my mother), but I'm going to make a point to enjoy myself 100% off the clock.
2) Eat out at fast food restaurants less: Vegetarian or not, I eat too many fatty, greasy foods (like French Fries) from fast food places. My wallet and my body will thank me. My goal is to only eat out twice per month. That's reasonable and realistic instead of once or twice a week like I've been doing.
The reason I liked doing the "Five things I'm digging right now
" was because it forced me to find the "bright side" of something. I need to do that more often and thought that was a cool way of doing it (original idea courtesy of Andy Cohen). So in the same spirit of it and since I'm done with that for 2011, I'm going to do a list of 365 things I've been digging all year. They're not in order, just the first things that pop into my head that I liked the entire year. (I started today as of 2:30 p.m. I finished on 12/31/11 at 10:38 p.m., in between running errands. HAPPY (almost) NEW YEAR!)BOOKS1. "The John Carlos Story
" by John Carlos2. "Is Marriage for White People? How the African American Marriage Decline Affects Everyone" by Ralph Richard Banks3. "The Vampire Diaries" (Stefan's Diaries only)4. "There Are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in The Other America
" by Alex Kotlowitz5. "The Conversation" by Hill Harper6. "Michelle Obama: The First Lady in Photographs" by Deborah Willis and Emily Bernard7. "Change for a Twenty" (I genuinely enjoy my own books)8. "Round Trip" (I've said repeatedly it's better than "Change for a Twenty")9. "Love Your Life" by The Oprah MagazineCHICAGO (SURROUNDING AREA)
1. Looking out the window on the #147 CTA bus at Lake Michigan2. Walking the four-mile trail at Skokie Northshore Channel3. Walking the two-mile trail at Lincolnwood Channel Runne Park4. Quench! restaurant on 79th (Pretty inside with a seating area)5. Chi Tung6. Chicago Public Library7. The New 400 Theater8. RCN (cable)EYE CANDY1. Ian Somerhalder2. Taylor Lautner
(Facial hair compliments him; his athleticism makes him breathtaking)3. Idris Elba
(No matter how many times "Daddy's Little Girls
" comes on, I watch it)4. T.I.5. Chris Brown (He's growing up to be really handsome)6. Morris Chestnut7.
Justin Timberlake8. Brad Paisley (Dated a guy who looked exactly like a light-skinned black version of him; started heavily listening to country music from November to December)9. Paul Walker10. Alex Meraz (very good-looking in person)11. Ian Ziering (Didn't pay much attention to him on "90210" but when I saw him at Comic Con last year I was so surprised at how gorgeous he is. Age has done him well!)12. Trey Songz
(Super friendly and as attractive in person as he is on his videos)13. Joseph Morgan (Klaus from "The Vampire Diaries")14. The guy who lost his balance on the Red Line and fell on me (woke me RIGHT up, and his outfit was impeccable; I couldn't stop checking him out)15. Drake16. Richard Gere (He looks better with age, don't know how he does it)17. Tone Kapone (Don't listen to the radio much but I saw him at the 2012 Real Men Cook and the Sprite StepOff a couple years ago. He's really cute and I never knew what he looked like before.)18. Q-Tip19. Evan Ross20. Obie Trice (He's underrated in the hip-hop game and my gawd, THOSE LIPS! Every video I see with him in it, I look at his lips 75% of the time. He's kiss-worthy.)FASHION1. Multi-colored shell bracelet from
Queen Ka'ahumanu Center in Maui2. Ralph Lauren Polo Jeans Co. orange fleece3. Light yellow zip-up sweater4. Gray suede/sweater heel boots5. Brown suede/sweater heel boots6. Black sweater flat boots7. Black cape with gray lining8. Baby blue top with brown afro woman silhouette9. Multi-brown shades wooden bracelet from Maui10. Black hematite bracelet from The African Store
(located in Ford City)11. Kohl's shopping
(When there's a coupon, I never leave empty handed.)12. NY & CO shopping
(Sale or not, I never leave empty handed.)FOOD1. Archer Farms salt and vinegar chips2. Thai tofu fried rice from China Hut3.
Kona Hawaiian Blend Micro-Roasted Coffee (drank it every morning)4. Gardein stuffed turk'y5. Gardein Mandarin orange crispy chick'n6. Chocolate martinis at Olive Garden7. Salad dressing from Olive Garden8. Mushroom ravioli from Olive Garden9. Fresh bread from Olive Garden10. Water with a splash of lemon juice11. Avocado slices with tomato slices12. Tortilla chips13. Granola, fruit and yogurt plate from IHOP14. Hot water cornbread15. Black eyed peas (vegetarian)16. Collard greens (vegetarian)17. Macaroni and cheese (my mother's)18. Dried apricots19. Archer Farms dark chocolate cocoa mix20. Open Nature's Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Heaven (granola mix)21. Green tea22. Brown tea with lemon juice and honey23. Grapefruit juice24. Grapefruits25. Red apples26. Strawberries27. Bananas28. Strawberry banana smoothies29. McDonald's iced coffee (light ice, light sugar)30. McDonald's Filet o' Fish (the only fish I can handle eating for Omega 3)31. Starbucks hot chocolate32. Argo Tea iced coffee33. Corn on the cob34. Mashed potatoes from Ruby Tuesday's35. Simply Asia Spring Noodles bowl36. Watermelon37. Green grapes38. Red grapesFRAGRANCES1. Fergie's "Outspoken"2. Lady Speed Stick "Fresh Infusions"3. Cool Water4. Victoria's Secret "Heavenly"
(original fragrance)HAIR1. Vitale Olive Oil relaxer2. Parnevu leave-in conditioner3. Silk wrap caps4. Pantene shampoo for women of color5. Pantene conditioner for women of color6. Distinctly Basics by Rachel Rose black ponytail holders7. My haircut from Donte's on 9/17/2011 (thanks
Francine!)HEALTH1. Doing Beyonce's "Let's Move" routine for 30 days2. Swimming laps in the Maui Seaside Hotel pool3. Renewing my membership and working out at Bally Total Fitness (now L.A. Fitness)4. The results from my yearly physical (everything is tip-top, minus weight)5. Logging at least four workouts per week on TeamBeachBody
6. Julie's Health Club blogs
7. Chicago Tribune's Health page
8. LA Times Booster Shots
9. Updating @BlackHealthNews
on Twitter10. "Mistletoe may help kiss away some ills
" article (fascinating because I only knot about it for kissing)11. "Muscling past myths" (It forces me to get up more at work)HOME APPLIANCES1.
Breville BEW600XL Hot Wok2. Brother MFC-440CN multi-printer3. Insignia 26" LCD TV 720P4. Full-size bed5. All 18 pillows on my bed6. Labrador Retriever comforter with pillows on my bedHOME DECOR1. Looking at Halloween decorations2. Black couple embracing and kissing (painting above my bed)3. Ebony cover of Marvin Gaye about "black cool"4. N'Digo cover of Pres. Barack Obama (Nov. 13-2008)5. Mos Def photograph of him sticking out his tongue while in a car driver's seat6. Wall photograph jewelry boxMEMORIES
1. Watching my 99-year-old Aunt Marguerite open her Christmas photo calendar
2. Solo travel to Maui to do what I wanted to do 100% of the time
3. Spa day in Maui (pedicure, manicure, head/back/shoulder/foot massage)
4. Going to Chi Tung with Grandad
5. Getting the surprise fruit basket on Christmas Eve delivered from my godfather
6. Having my mother home this Christmas, healthy and happy
7. Posing for photograph on the porch with Faith nuzzling my chin
8. Posing for photograph on the porch with Faith "smiling" and leaning by my face
9. Crying laughing about the health club story with Darcel
10. Kendell calling me up at work to invite me to his high school graduation
11. Watching Kendell walk across the stage for graduation (super proud of him)
12. Hanging with Mom, Dad and Grandad at Real Men Cook for Father's Day
13. Going to the midnight release of "Twilight: Breaking Dawn
" with my mom
14. Walking Faith (I do it 99% of the time when I'm at my parents' house)
15. Cracking jokes and chatting about entertainment with Yonnie and Kendell
16. Seeing what's new and strange in the world of Crosley (sp?)17. Chit-chatting with Mom in Olive Garden18. Hanging with Mom at Ruby Tuesday's and checking out our forgetful waiter19. Photograph of my mother and my godfather trying to look hip-hop (LMAO)20. Close-up photograph of Grandad and I at Real Men Cook21. Photograph of my mother and I on my 29th birthday with her leaning on me22.
Seeing my op/ed tattoo piece
on page 2 of the Chicago Tribune23. Posing for a bunch of family photos with my brother, mother, grandfather and father on Thanksgiving 201124. Getting a 365-day dog calendar from my mother, who knows I really want a dog25. Mild flirting at the health club (may not amount to anything but it was inspiration to work out when I first joined)26. Clearing snow away with a bucket because I don't own a shovel (my grandfather loves this story)27. Working from home for two days after Feb. 2, 2011 snowstorm28. My grandfather and father dancing in front of a crowd at Real Men Cook 201129. Fifth tattoo, fourth cover-up, love my roses (thanks Bobby Sax!)30. Dragging Fernie around to take the holiday photo for the Chicago Tribune31. Xephon adding me as a Facebook friend (very flattered by that)32. Dad calling me up to tell me how he wouldn't participate in Earth Hour33. Me taking Dad's call (#32) as an invitation to bumrush their house and unplug everything; he and I talked for an hour and a half in the dark34. Going through my letter box, reading all the letters and cards I got from family and friends while I was in collegeMOVIES1. "Hachi"2. "Eight Below"3. "No Strings Attached"4. "Friends With Benefits"5. "Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned"6. "Tongue Untied" Wanda Sykes comedy7. "Higher Learning"8.
"Daddy's Little Girls
"9. "Something New"10. "10 Things I Hate About You"11. "New Moon"12. "Twilight"13: "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse"14. "Sleepers"15. "The Client"16. "Runaway Bride"17. "Iron Man"18. "Iron Man 2"19. "Transformers"20. "Jumping the Broom"21. "Never Say Never" (The shoveling scene is my favorite; Justin Bieber is eye candy but I just felt too much like a cougar putting him there until he's legal)22. "Happy New Year, Charlie Brown"23. "Losers"24. "Gran Torino"25. "Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest
(singles and artists
" by Andre 3000
" by Rihanna
3. Rihanna's "Loud
4. "The Noose
" by Tech N9Ne
5. The "99 Problems
" remix in the movie "No Strings Attached
6. Mos Def (everything)
7. "In the Morning
" by Drake and J. Cole
8. "Can't Get Enough
" by J. Cole
9. "5 o' clock
" by T-Pain
'" by T-Pain
11. "Default Picture
" by T-Pain
12. "Momma Told Me
" by Crystal Waters13. "Pretty Little Heart" by Robin Thicke14. "Sexy and I Know It" by LMFAO15. "Birthday Cake" by Rihanna16. "Take Care" by Drake17. "Stay" by Tyrese18. "Syllables" by Eminem, Jay-Z, 50 Cent19. Obie Trice
(everything)20. Crystal Waters
(everything)21. Chris Brown
(everything)23. "Love Calls" by Kem24. "I Can't Stop Loving You" by Kem25. "I Like It" by Debarge
family26. "Perfect Day" by Jim Jones27. "Should've Kissed You" by Chris Brown28. "Dancing in the Dark" by Dev29. "Otis" by Jay-Z and Kanye West30. "Marry You" by Bruno Mars31. "Someone to Love Me" by Mary J. Blige, Diddy32. "All This Love" by Debarge33. "Love Me in a Special Way" by Debarge34. "Say Something" by Timbaland35. Drake (everything)36. "Complicated" by Robin Thicke37. "Lost Without You" by Robin Thicke38. "Pretty Young Thing" by Michael Jackson39. "Strangers in Moscow" by Michael Jackson40. "I'm Only Human" by Luther Vandross41. "Love Her Like She's Leavin'" by Brad Paisley42. "Somethin' 'Bout a Truck" by Kip Moore43. Afroflow (everything)44. "Woo" by Erykah Badu45. "Bag Lady" by Erykah Badu (Dr. Dre remix)46. Big Daddy Kane
(everything)47. "Got My Country On
" by Chris Cagle48. "Don't Worry, Be Happy" by Bobby McFerrin49. "Like We Never Said Goodbye" by Clay Walker50. "Better Than I Used to Be" by Tim McGraw51. "Radio" by Musiq Soulchild52. "Smack That
" by Akon53. "Back to Life" by Andrea Lewis54. "Run the World" by Beyonce55. "Motivation" by Kelly Rowland56. "Deuces" by Chris Brown57. "Look at Me Now" by Chris Brown58. "Fallin' Down" by Chris Brown59. "Cruisin'" by D'Angelo60. "Sergeant Louise" by Donnell Jones61. "Marvin's Room" by Drake62. "Doing it Wrong" by Drake63. "Show Me a Good Time" by Drake64. "Find Your Love" by Drake65. "Mahogany" by Eric B. and Rakim66. "Head to Toe" by Eric Roberson67. "Softest Lips" by Eric Roberson68. "U R the One" by Mos Def69. "The Panties" by Mos Def70. "Kiss Me on My Neck" by Erykah Badu71. "I Want You" by Erykah Badu72. "Collard Greens and Cornbread" by Fantasia73. "1, 2, 3" by Field Mob74. "Best Night of My Life" by Jamie Foxx75. "Yep Dat's Me" by Jamie Foxx76. "She Got Her Own" by Jamie Foxx and Ne-Yo77. Andre 3000 (everything)78. "Raindrops" by Jeremih79. "Leavin'" by Jesse McCartney80. "Ordinary People" by John Legend81. "I Ain't Going Out" by Jon B.82. "Pretty Girl" by Jon B.83. "What Goes Around Comes Around" by Justin Timberlake84. "Runaway" by Kanye West85. "Where Would I Be" by Kindred Family86. "Paris Tokyo" by Lupe Fiasco87. "The Show Goes On" by Lupe Fiasco88. "Human Nature" by Michael Jackson89. "Butterflies" by Michael Jackson90. "Smile" by Justin BieberNEWS1. Reading Clarence Page's column
"2. Reading Jon Yates' "What's Your Problem?"OBJECTS1. My birthday card from Dad, who wrote his own entries on the inside about the truth and myths of being 302. Mumble stuffed penguin (from "Happy Feet 2")3. Charlie Brown musical stuffed decoration4. E
lementary school graduation photos of Xakir (super handsome nephew!)PEOPLE
/MANNERISMS1. People who hold doors for the people behind them2. Women who think nothing of complimenting other women (no cattiness)3. Men who know "hello/how are you?" go much further than pick-up lines4. People who try to learn how to pronounce my name and don't give me unsolicited nicknames 5. People who say "let's go to lunch" and follow through with their plans to do soPOLITICS1. The troops coming home from Iraq2. First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaign3. The Obamas' new family photoSKIN CARE1. Aloe vera (everything from first-aid products to lotion)2. Cocoa butter (everything from lotion to soap)3. Vaseline cocoa butter lotion4. Vaseline cocoa butter petroleum jelly5. Suave cocoa butter with shea6. Palmer's cocoa butter formula with Vitamin ETECHNOLOGY1.
AmazonBasics 3-Button USB Wired Mouse2. Smoke Silicone Skin case for my mp3 player3. Insignia Pilot mp3 player4. Kevin Hart's YouTube Channel5. Following @OchoCinco on Twitter 6. TiVo7. TiVo's website to record stuff when I'm not at homeTELEVISION1.
"2. "The Vampire Diaries"3. Timbaland special on E! Entertainment4. Kathy Griffin's reenactment of her dog eating a used condom (hilarious!)5. BET Hip Hop performance with Heavy D doing "Nuttin' But Love"6. Somaya and X.O. scenes on "Love & Hip-Hop"7. Open mic night with Kyle doing scat music on "Living Single"8. Rudy meeting Stanley on "The Cosby Show"9. "The New Adventures of Old Christine"10. The "you lost to a girl" scene in "The New Adventures of Old Christine"TRAVEL1. Maui Mall
(walked over there every day for five days)2.
Maui Seaside Hotel3. West Maui Mountains4. Riding the Sugar Cane Train in Maui5. Writing for Chicago Tribune's Taking Off blog6. O'Hare Airport (never appreciated how great it is until I compared it to LAX)7. Maroon blankets that American Airlines give you for flying to Hawaii8. American Airlines for giving me an extra 2 days free of charge after late flight9. Yotel's Times Square in-airport cabins for overnight sleeping (cool idea, haven't used them but would have that time I had to sleep overnight in LAX, click here for more)10. Celebrity travel with Sinbad11. Celebrity travel with Larenz Tate12. Updating the Trib's Hawaii travel story galleryTURN-ONS (physical)1.
Goatees2. Caesar haircuts3. Khakis/jeans that are loose but sit on the waist4. Shades of smooth brown complexions (from buttercup to dark chocolate)5. Clean fingernails6. Direct eye contact7. Carefree, white teeth smiles8. Slim-to-medium muscular build9. Tall in height (although I've dated guys between 5'8 and 5'11 who were just as attractive)11. Holding a bookTURN-ONS (mental)
1. Bookworms2. Voters
(in all elections, not just presidential)3.
Direct requests for dates (no b.s.-ing around)4. Making money only in a legal way5. Paying bills on time6. Having your own place, with your name on the lease/mortgageWEBSITES:1. SoulVegFolk.com2. BlackMusicTube.com3. TeamBeachBody.com4. AOL's Listening Party5. AOL Radio6. Chicago Tribune7. Luis Gomez's "About Last Night"8. Twitter9. Jaehakim.comWORK1. Meeting the MoD team (some of the Breaking News team are very entertaining to work with)2. Working with Colin (He's one of the coolest bosses I've ever had; he means business but he "gets" my personality)3. Keeping in touch with my old bosses Sonja and Ruth (two other bosses I have nothing but good things to say about and still touch bases with to this day)
4. Going to lunch with Darcel (great person to vent and laugh with)
5. Going to lunch with Fernie (she's always got jokes)6. Argo Tea Iced Coffee from Charlie to thank me for training him (nice surprise)7. Training Charlie and Lauren when they were new (MoD team members both really cool people)8. Trading dog stories with Molly (both of us are hardcore dog lovers)9. Working with Danielle G. (She's always helpful since the day I started)10. Working with Mike Z. (If I need a photo, he's got it. One of my favorite folks at the Trib for being so easy to work with.)11. Chatting with Pam (Easy to work with, even easier to chat about everything from family to why we hate pants with words on the butt)12. Creating and updating the "Relationship & Sex News Gallery" (Interesting and educational topic that people need to be informed about, especially STIs/STDs)13. Working with Gilda Squire of Gilda Squire Media Relations again. She is one of the most professional publicists I've met, and I've worked with quite a few publicists.YOUTUBE VIDEOS1. "Puppy Christmas
"2. The last two boys on "I Told My Kids I Ate All Their Halloween Candy"3. Halloween light show to "Party Rock"4. "Rethink Breast Cancer presents 'Your Man Reminder'"5. Ian Somerhalder with Aisha Tyler on "The Late Late Show"6. Tahj Mowry singing John Legend's "Ordinary People"7. Tahj Mowry singing Michael Jackson's "Human Nature"
Confession: I haven't been back in Chicago for 24 hours (flight landed at 6 a.m., today and I'm already restless and ready to go back to Hawaii). It's not just the 33-degree weather or avoiding loud people on the el, but Maui is just such a positive place to be. It's impossible to be in a bad mood there. Immediate relaxation. So my "5 things I'm digging right now" will be combined for last week, this week and next week as "15 things I'm digging right now." They'll also all be about the past six days I spent in Hawaii.
1. Kona Hawaiian Blend Micro-Roasted Coffee: I always tell people I can't drink coffee. It's not that I don't like it, but it gives me really bad heartburn. However, I just wanted to try a little bit of everything so I checked out the free coffee in my hotel room and loved it. I didn't get heartburn once. This stuff was so good that I was drinking it three and four times per day everyday. I usually drink a mug of tea everyday, but this coffee won me over. I'm pondering on getting a coffeemaker just so I can continue drinking this.
2. Maui Bus: I avoid tourists every time I go on vacation. The reason is that when I'm around tourists they spend more time comparing their hometown to the location they're in or glued together. I'd rather hang out with locals and get the real feel of the area. Due to a late flight, I lost a day on my car rental and I just decided to not keep the car rental reservation at all. I couldn't have been happier because it forced me to walk around, get to know the neighborhood and ride the bus to see areas I'd have never seen if I had to concentrate on driving. I didn't miss paying $4.44 per gallon for gas, and $2 for an all-day bus pass is far better!
I'm back from Hawaii. My flight touched down around 6 a.m. today, so I'm unpacking, running errands, checking e-mails (I didn't get on the Internet for six days, which is huge for me) and stopped by YouTube to upload a couple videos before I go pick up my photos. Interested in seeing a couple of places I went for my 30th birthday on 11/11/11? Here you go:
I decided to take a walk around the Maui Seaside Hotel where I was staying. I started at Lono Ave., and went to Ka'ahumanu Ave., towards the West Maui Mountains. I stopped at the Kahului Harbor.
While I was on vacation, I took a ride on the Sugar Cane (steam engine) Train. It went from Lahaina Town to Ka'anapali Resort and around the West Maui Mountains.
1. Whoopi Goldberg's "Is it just me? Or is it nuts out there?": I figured this book was going to be good because I like Whoopi. There were times when I leaned over a bench I was sitting on (during my workout walk) and just laughed. Hard. It was good to get a carefree laugh or two in while reading this. (I reviewed this book for the Trib, but it hasn't gone live yet.)
2. China Hut: I ignored the restaurant when it first popped up around my neighborhood, but since I refuse to go back into Loving Hut I needed another nearby restaurant for my lazy cooking days. I got crab rangoon (the only seafood I can still eat) and vegetable fried rice from there, and it was delicious. Maybe I'll stop asking my grandfather to take me to Chi Tung now that I found an Asian food restaurant around me that I actually like.
So you may not see my name as much as you did when I was a freelance reporter
, but I'm definitely still editing and creating content. I'm randomly asked, "Where'd you go? And what is a Digital News Editor anyway?" I was hired by the Trib in October 2010. As of 2012, I'm on the national MoD (Media on Demand) team and update National Nation/World News, Entertainment, Sports and Travel. I also update the Chicago Tribune's Health page
. (When I was first hired, I used to produce the Chicago Tribune Health Chats
until they ended Aug. 2., and occasionally gave my two cents in the The Stew blogs
(when I worked on the Food & Dining page
). Here are some samples. Enjoy!Articles/News and Entertainment galleries:Pencil this in: Removing tattoo ink is costly, painful ordeal
(print version, pg. 2)Beyonce, Michelle Obama dance for 'Let's Move' campaignMalcolm X's story critical in race relationsBlue Ivy Carter photos released Politicians with tattoos
(photo gallery)Miami steals Oklahoma's thunder, NBA title
(photo gallery)2012 BET Awards (photo gallery)2012 Olympics bloopersOlympics 2012: Multiple exposures Inside the White HouseCeremonial first pitches with celebs 2012 BET Hip-Hop Awards2012 Soul Train AwardsBing's Top 2012 celebrity couple search Bing's Top 2012 most searched person Celebrities and their behind-the-scene siblings2013 BET HonorsPhotos: Building collapse in Bangladesh Travel photo galleries/Taking Off blogs I've created: Making an airport delay romanticCelebrating Juneteenth with Canadian historyStorm snarls 350 O'Hare flightsFinding the right company for your bus road tripFinding pooch friendly hotels in ChicagoPet travel shopping tips, making pet travel comfortableSegway in the cityCityPASS provides admission to five VIP locationsTop 10 most educated American citiesBest and worst airports for sleepovers, Ellen's travel adviceFrom greenest to happiest: Healthiest cities for womenStay at the W Hotel for $109 this winterWest Coast flights on sale for $99 from ChicagoMillennium Knickerbocker celebrates 85-year anniversary with $85 dealFive islands, 15 nights on the Celebrity Century cruise in Hawaii for $1099 Celebrate Dr. King's birthday and MLK Day in ChicagoGet your reggae or rock fix at the Hard Rock Hotel for $109Head to Orlando for $174Spirit Airlines adds $2 DOTUC feeCelebrating Singles Awareness Day (S.A.D.) abroad, Bangkok trip for $585Best dating spots in ChicagoDelta now offering Wi-Fi service on all shuttle flightsTravel round trip to the East Coast from Chicago for $110Groupon offers $109 deal for Silversmith Hotel and Suites stayVisit our northern neighbor for $79 at the Radisson Milwaukee North ShoreAmericans voted worst-behaved travelers Jacuzzi and chocolate night at Comfort Suites SchaumburgTraveling overseas: Passport Day is SaturdayBeware of airline offensesEnjoy a cocktail cruise on Lake Michigan in the Red Witch shipAirline price drops affecting Chicago travel to top five locationsChicago history: $8 for two-hour guided walking tour World War II memories: Spin around for a 40-minute ride in planeMost travelers eat at airport restaurants, not on airplanesGetting fitness routines in while travelingEarth Day: Are travelers concerned about their carbon footprint?Mother's Day spa idea with TravelzooGet travel notifications for NATO weekendMemorial week vacation ideas from $65 and upHome trading vacations: Live in mine, I'll live in yoursCheck out a Chicago Cubs game in dining style for $69Chicago in top 10 for most congested cities in the U.S.FMCSA cracking down on bus company's public safety violationsWant a window seat? Pay for itChicago in top 10 for best cities for your skinMost travelers read on flights but what about the rest?Airline freebies -- from alcohol to bedroomsDeals Magazine's half-off sale on Chicago's Finest River Walk TourTravelers sound off on what plane services they're willing to pay forGo Airport Express: Traveler survey for money-saving tipsWin a trip to London as a 'Red Hot Reporter' for the NFL International Series game16 cheapest countries for alcohol loversCelebrating your anniversary by travelWho travels more: Republicans or Democrats?Travelers share 'must pack' travel item, what's yours?Year in Review: Travel news of 2012Italy tops survey for America's most desired destinations for 2013Top 10 cities with most content workersTop 10 cities with most discontent workersTop 10 best cities for online datingTop 10 worst cities for online datingCDC: Staying healthy on a cruiseMighty little seat (travel gear review)Splash of color: Colorful vacation spotsFuture of flightTop 10 high allergy citiesNEW! Travel review: Pillowcase with a hoodHealth photo galleries I've created (click here for all of them):Holiday safety tips for pregnant womenHPV: Most common STI for over 50 percentCelebs log off Facebook, Twitter for World AIDS DayTips for avoiding lead in toysHealthy eating: Snacks under 105 caloriesAvoid trans fat on the menuHealth safety tips for winterHealth tips for the new yearParents guide to having STD, sex talkStop smoking: Tips to quit for goodFamily health history questionsPros, cons of pet ownership with childrenCreating an emergency health bookPap smear test guideSex education from lyrics, musiciansSex, relationships survey: Men versus women
(also featured in Redeye
)Essential workout travel itemsWatch your calorie count at coffee shopsPreventing computer eye strainGetting a workout without the gymFinding health advice onlineSafety tips for motorcycle, bike ridersHealthy wedding planning tipsKeeping teeth healthy with vegetablesVegetables for healthy blood pressureKeeping takeout food safeVegetables for healthy skin, infection protection10 ways to get a flat stomachHealthy eating during Memorial Day weekendSafe summertime tipsHelp your body, watch your drinksPreventing carbon monoxide poisoningPreventing pubic lice ('crabs')Six reasons exercise benefits you
Safety tips at outdoor festsIncorporating omega 3 from nuts, seeds
Getting omega 3 from veggies, spices, fruit
Preventing pink eye
30 must-have items for your first-aid kitIn case of emergency health tipsFighting fatigue in schoolAvoiding workplace stressRisk factors for getting diabetes12 most common skin irritantsTop health news for 2011Getting past the workout roadblocksHealthiest American citiesWhat do these vitamins do for my body?Healthy food tips for February: American Heart MonthHealth effects from teen dating violenceMarch 10: National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness DayHealth risks for medical tourismReminders for losing weight5 reasons to include nuts in your mealCelebrities suffering from sleep disordersTop 10 best cities for your skinHealth tips for 2012 London Olympics visitors'Spare Parts' at The Rag Factory in LondonMaking water safe to drinkCreative ways to show support for breast cancerMovember: Prostate, testicular cancer awareness December 1: World AIDS DayYear in Review: Heath news of 2012Men's Health lists worst cities for menMen's Health lists best cities for menWomen's Health lists best cities for womenWomen's Health lists worst cities for womenTips for preventing heart diseaseAvoiding 'bad' night meals for 'good' foodReduce stress with these foodsWomen's Health gives tips for better sleepCDC: Staying healthy on a cruiseTop iron-rich foodsWinter weather: What to do for hypothermiaWhat nutrients are in your salad greens?Sorting through calories at the salad barAdding fiber to your foodStress Awareness Month: Tips for overcoming work stress First Lady and the younger generationTop 10 U.S. cities for yogaWhat to eat before, during and after exerciseBook Reviews: 'How to Get Out of Your Own Way' by Tyrese Gibson
'Is it just me? Or is it nuts out there?' by Whoopi Goldberg'Silver Sparrow' by Tayari Jones The John Carlos Story: The Sports Moment That Changed the World' by John Wesley Carlos and Dave Zirin
'The Wealth Cure: Putting Money in its Place' by Hill Harper'Moonlight on Linoleum: A Daughter's Memoir' by Terry Helwig'Is Marriage for White People? How the African American Marriage Decline Affects Everyone' by Ralph Richard Banks'Piano Rats' by Franki Elliot'O's Best Advice Ever!: Make Over Your Life with Oprah & Friends' by the editors of O, The Oprah Magazine'Art & Soul: Stars Unite to Celebrate and Support the Arts' by Brian Smith and Robin Bronk'Machu My Picchu: Searching for Sex, Sanity, and a Soul Mate in South America' by Iris Bahr'The New New Rules: A Funny Look at How Everybody But Me Has Their Head Up Their Ass' by Bill Maher'One Day It'll All Make Sense' by Common with Adam Bradley
'The Plot Against Hip Hop: A Novel' by Nelson GeorgeThe Stew blogs I threw in my two cents on:Ten @ 10: Food related cold remediesTen @ 10: Great food readsTen @ 10: Magic & misfires at the Thanksgiving tableTen @ 10: Favorite food shops in ChicagoTen @ 10: Most difficult foods to eatTen @ 10: What to hoard next timeTen @ 10: Last-minute V-day giftsTen @ 10: Learning to do withoutTen @ 10: Food so good they have to danceTen @ 10: The first (edible and drinkable) signs of springTen @ 10: Easter basket must-havesTen @ 10: A few more sandwiches we have lovedTen @ 10: The foods of childhood reconsideredTen @ 10: What do you bring to a Memorial Day cookout?Ten @10: Tis the season for street festsTen @ 10: Favorites from Taste of Chicago
Ten @ 10: Food for the FourthTen @ 10: Trite sayings your server saysTribune blog entries I threw in my two cents on:20 resolutions worth keepingSweet surrender (Sunday section, Feb. 13, 2011, Section 6) -or
- Celebrating the bitter...and the sweet
(online)Must-hit eateriesMust reads for your travelsJulie's Health Club--FDA to hold tattoo webinar: Are tattoos and permanent makeup safe?2011 travel yearbook Tribune travel resolutions