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"It's not that I don't like music," I sometimes have to explain to people, "I'm just not a music person." You see, I'm just not a music person. I'm not someone who follows bands. Or could name who sang any song. Or even someone who has a favorite band. And a lot of people don't understand that. Because a lot of people are music people. But I never have been. And I'm pretty sure I haven't had a favorite band since New Kids on the Block in third grade. And if I want background noise at home I usually put on Food Network,...

After 6 months in Central and South America, I flew back home to Chicago. It was nice to be back for a bit, though, really, most of my days were spent doing absolutely nothing and every night was spent sleeping on a couch. But it was nice, and I did do a few things...

Heather turned 31, and she wanted a Chicago-style birthday party. The original plan was to go ice skating. But it was too cold for that. So we went to Margie's for ice cream instead. Because it is never too cold for ice cream. And then we went to Billy Goat for dinner, and we ate cheeseborgers and chips and drank beer and horny goats. Afterwards Heather and Jeremy went to a show at Second City, but I was a totally lame roommate because tickets had already sold out by the time I went to buy one. Totally lame. ...

Y'all know how much I love birthdays. Especially when those birthdays are my own. I'm thoroughly of the mindset that you have a good two week window (one before and one after the actual day), give or take a few days, in which everything you do can be "for your birthday." You can justify splurging on extra drinks, new dresses, nice meals, all because "it's my birthday," or, "it's almost my birthday,' or, "it was just my birthday." True story. So, since I won't be home on my actual birthday this Saturday (don't feel too bad for me — I'm celebrating...

When a friend reads the description of the art show she's going to and it includes "all your favorite animals will be represented" and "you enter through the Chinese restaurant," you go. No question. When it's already 9pm and you haven't eaten dinner, you still wait in line to get into Big Star before waiting inside to finally get a table. And then you drink too many whiskey drinks and then you eat too many pork belly and fish tacos. But it doesn't matter when it's all so delicious. No question....

Other travelers kept telling me that when I came home from my 'round the world trip I "wouldn't relate to my friends anymore." In response I would just laugh at them and say, "I think I'm going to relate to them more...

When Jeremy suggested a James Bond-themed cocktail party for New Year's Eve I was a little skeptical. For one, it was at Orange, which is a brunch place that isn't usually open past early afternoon. For two, it was a benefit for some Tibetan medical program and I was a little afraid that we'd be surrounded by Buddhists or something or, as Jeremy later said, feel like we were crashing someone's office party. For three, it was a little pricey (for an unemployed girl like me, that is). But, it did include an open bar. And, if there is one...

A few years ago my family stopped celebrating Christmas on Christmas. It was a logical decision. Our family is pretty small and we all live close, in Chicago and the suburbs, so we can see each other at any time. And my oldest sister is married and has a whole other side to her family. Since there really is no use to do the same thing two days in a row, she hosts a party on Christmas Eve, and then we're all free to do as we please on Christmas. Every year growing up Christmas was the same. On Christmas Eve...