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Big Star.

22 Mar

big star.


Chicago friends, I have a confession to make: my favorite bars seem to be hipster bars. I don’t know how it happened, nor do I know what will break my hipster bar streak, but it started with Handlebar and the Violet Hour (which isn’t so hipster, but it’s in Wicker Park so it counts) and now it’s come full circle with Big Star. I first realized it was a problem when we took my parents to brunch at Handlebar and my dad tried to flag down a random, plaid-shirt wearing hipster, thinking she was a waitress. And then, Thursday night, I went to Big Star for the first time.

And yeah, the bouncer was a jerk to me, plaid blazer and all. I know I look like I’m twelve, thanks, but I’m not. You are, however, so original for pointing that out. And sure, the girls in the bathroom did look like they had stepped out of page twenty four in last the Urban Outfitters catalog, right down to the kicky little cowboy boots.

But the Big Star margaritas.

And the guacamole. Oh my god.

The thing about Big Star is it was downright energizing. Maybe it was the music, maybe it was the margaritas, or maybe it was the fact that it was St. Patrick’s Day and I didn’t see a single person wearing green. But Big Star is the type of place that makes me want to take up salsa dancing and start honoring Thursday Margarita Day.

Disclaimer: I still love plaid shirts, and yes, I wear them too. They didn’t do anything wrong, nor should they be a casualty of this trend.  Also, I don’t have photos of said night of margaritas because I really didn’t think carrying around a couple thousand dollars’ worth of camera gear was worth an artsy margarita shot and a few off-kilter candids. Maybe next time. I did, however, save the postcard that came with our receipt just because I hate photo-less posts.


Operation Layla

10 Mar

You may have noticed the donate button that’s over on my sidebar now, or seen me using the #operationlayla tag on Twitter. What is Operation Layla? Simply put, it’s a joint effort between an amazing group of friends to help one of our own when she needs it. Here is Layla’s story, which you can also see on Jars of Love.

This is Layla and her husband Josh:

One month after her 30th birthday, Layla was diagnosed with early stage cervical cancer (1A Adenocarcinoma). She was extraordinarily lucky that it was caught early, and was able to have a simple surgery to remove the cancerous cells. Three years later, Layla had been in horrible pain that affected nearly every aspect of her life. Temporarily uninsured due to a job change, she paid out of pocket last October to go to the doctor and make sure that the cancer had not returned. Thankfully, it had not.

However, her doctor believes that she has pelvic adhesions and Endometriosis due to the previous surgery, but it can not be diagnosed until an additional surgery (laparoscopy) is performed. The doctor also found out that Layla has cervical stenosis, which basically means her cervix has completely shut due to the scar tissue from the previous surgery. These issues make her miserable most of the time, making simple things like going to the bathroom and menstruation horribly painful, and sexual intercourse impossible. He stated that if she did want to have children one day, even sperm could not pass through her cervix, and she would have to have intrauterine insemination. The doctor wanted to schedule surgery as soon as the insurance at her new job went into effect. Her company fired her the day her insurance became valid, ten days before Christmas, plainly stating that it was because of her health issues.

Fortunately, she was able to get on her husband’s insurance, which went into effect on February 1st. As soon as she could, Layla scheduled surgery for March 22nd. Then her insurance company dropped a bomb: because she had gone to the doctor (even as a self pay patient) within a three month period prior to her enrollment date, they were considering her health issues to be a pre-existing condition, and would not insure any doctor visits, medication, or surgery for them for 388 days.

388 days is a long time to wait when you are in near constant pain and can’t work. The sooner Layla can have this surgery, the sooner she can return to work (hopefully with a nicer company!) and start living her life again. Her doctor has been nice enough to work out a deal with her, decreasing the amount of her surgery to $4,000, the cost of the anesthesia to $500, with additional fees for biopsies of removed tissue to be determined, if Layla can pay as a cash patient.

The problem is, Layla is unemployed due to this, has used her savings to pay for living expenses and medical bills, and has been denied loans for the surgery because of her unemployment status. She does not have a close family, so she can’t ask them for help. Surgery is scheduled for March 22nd, and Layla and her husband are still trying to secure a loan through several banks.

So how can you help?

Anything you can contribute will make a difference, whether it’s listing some old clothes on Ebay and sending the winnings, baking for the online bake sale we have in the works, spreading the word on your own blog, getting others involved, or clicking the donate button. If you want to be involved, leave me a comment letting me know and I’ll fill you in on the details!

NYE Blast

2 Jan

I hope you all had a wonderful New Year’s! R & I spent it with a group of friends and rang in the new year with champagne and karaoke.

We don’t usually do much on New Year’s Eve, because when you work for your future mother in law, you’re scheduled every holiday without fail. You can’t say no to family! This year we worked until 8 pm and had a shift starting at 8 am, but we made it through somehow.










I’m so grateful for wonderful friends, nights together, and meeting new people. How did you spend your New Year’s?

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