Category Archives: Personal

Here We Go Again

Guys, I haven’t blogged in over a year! I’m a terrible person.

In that time, I’ve been doing a lot of what you’d probably expect me to be doing from the content of this blog: reading, eating out, home improvement, and a whole lot more. Clearly, if you’re looking for speedier updates, you should follow me on Instagram or Twitter. But, in case you’re not a social media user, below are some of the highlights of the past 13 months.

PS: You know it’s been a long time since you’ve blogged when the entire WordPress user interface has changed. Whoops …

We took a trip to Nashville/the Biltmore last fall. I have a bevy (I was just looking for an excuse to use that word) of recommendations based on my research so hit me up if you're planning to visit.

We took a trip to Nashville/the Biltmore last fall. I have a bevy (I was just looking for an excuse to use that word) of recommendations based on my research so hit me up if you’re planning to visit. Pictured here is Hatch Show Prints inside the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Me and close to 50 other St. Louis Tigers trekked down to Oxford, MS, for the Mizzou vs. Ole Miss game. Anyone familiar with Oxford will understand that my definition of a Library is completely changed. Pictured here is The Grove.

Me and close to 50 other St. Louis Tigers trekked down to Oxford, MS, for the Mizzou vs. Ole Miss game. Anyone familiar with Oxford will understand that my definition of a Library is completely changed. Pictured here is The Grove – tailgating spot extraordinaire.

I spent a quick two days in NYC this spring to shoot a commercial - first TV shoot and it was awesome.

I spent a quick two days in NYC this spring to shoot a commercial – first TV shoot and it was awesome.

We got a dog! This little pest is named Ginger and she terrorizes the neighborhood. Seriously, she has more energy than we know what to do with. I could probably spend an entire blog post talking about the joys and despairs of owning a pet.

We got a dog! This little pest is named Ginger and she terrorizes the neighborhood. Seriously, she has more energy than we know what to do with. I could probably spend an entire blog post talking about the joys and despairs of owning a pet.

Katherine graduated! She is now a master from Virginia Tech who has decided to double it with a masters from OU. The girl will be in school forever.

Katherine graduated! She is now a master from Virginia Tech who has decided to double it with a masters from OU. The girl will be in school forever.

We took a trip to Chicago to grace the Windy City with my presence. I know she missed me.

We took a trip to Chicago to grace the Windy City with my presence. I know she missed me.

We moved! So, you can ignore the house tour that is only two posts ago. This probably means that I should do a tour of the new place ...

We moved! So, you can ignore the house tour that is only two posts ago. This probably means that I should do a tour of the new place …

Per a long STL tradition, I made a trip down to the lake this summer. Good times were had all around along with the sunburn from H-E- ...

Per a long STL tradition, I made a trip down to the lake this summer. Good times were had all around, along with the sunburn from H-E- …

I started grad school! I'm enrolled in the part time MBA program at Washington University, which is basically eating up all my free time. I'm sure some posts related to that craziness will follow.

I started grad school! I’m enrolled in the part time MBA program at Washington University, which is basically eating up all of my free time. I’m sure some posts related to that craziness will follow.

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Life Update!

So … I moved to St. Louis. Surprise! With that comes a lot of change – new job, new house, new city, new friends, but overall, I’m excited! Sure, I’m sad to leave Chicago; I’ve spent three wonderful years there but it’s time for a new adventure, one where I’m hoping to unlock the charm and cultural potential of STL.

There are a couple of posts I have in the works so I recommend sticking around. I promise (at least I’m going to try) that I’ll post a little more regularly a.k.a. I have a new job and I’m not as busy as I was at my old one. At least not yet.

In the meantime, let’s do another shameless plug for my Instagram account that I keep MUCH more updated with my whereabouts:

I made a trip down to CoMO for graduation. I also realized that I've been out of college longer than I was in college. I feel old.  PS: Bonus points if you can identify the iconic Mizzou building in this picture.

I made a trip down to CoMO for graduation. I also realized that I’ve been out of college longer than I was in college. I feel old. PS: Bonus points if you can identify the iconic Mizzou building in this picture.

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I visited my parents in their new hometown of Austin, TX. A mandatory meal at the famous Salt Lick was on the schedule.

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And now, I present to you my first car: a Honda Civic! I calculated the MPG after dropping $40 at the gas station and it came to about 36 – not bad!

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And, We’re Back!

Hey there, blog readers – long time no chat!

It blows my mind that February was the last time I posted on here and it blows my mind even more that it’s already May! Of course, I have a slew of excuses as to why I haven’t been around more but I’m just going to give you one and leave it at that: work.

Similar to the last time that this happened, I thought I would share a life update through pictures. If you want more, you can always follow me on Instagram or keep up with me on Twitter.

Talk soon!

I attended the Westminster Dog Show at Madison Square Garden in NYC!

I attended the Westminster Dog Show at Madison Square Garden in NYC!

My parents visited for a weekend good food, sight seeing and Frank Lloyd Wright overload.

My parents visited for a weekend good food, sight seeing and Frank Lloyd Wright overload.

I went on a musical theater rampage: Book of Mormon (x2), Big Fish, Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Catch Me If You Can.

I went on a musical theater rampage: Book of Mormon (x2), Big Fish, Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Catch Me If You Can.

Five of my fellow Hotdoggers reunited in Cincinnati - go Reds!

Five of my fellow Hotdoggers reunited in Cincinnati – go Reds!

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Friendsgiving Pt. 2

I know I’m overdue for part 2 of my friendsgiving saga but work had me running at a hundred miles a minute this week, which culminated in an hour-long new business pitch yesterday. I can now say goodbye to reviews, decks and brainstorms! A least for a while.

The Big Day

Don't be fooled by the bland colors - taste makes up for them!

Don’t be fooled by the bland colors – taste makes up for them!

As mentioned here, I started preparations on Tuesday. Cornbread stuffing, sweet potato casserole and pie were my contributions to our friendsgiving feast and I needed to get a head start if we ever wanted to eat on Thursday. I learned quickly that getting everything to be ready at the same time is probably the hardest element of planning a meal. Coordinating all my dishes with a turkey, rosemary rolls and mashed potatoes, courtesy of the Scholtz clan, was like solving a math problem where you factor in cooking time in relation to temperature and hope all your timers go off at once. In the end, good food and good friends (including a lonely neighbor) make for a delightful friendsgiving. While I missed home and family, this was the perfect way to start off a four day weekend!

The Unexpected Hit

You know you're jealous.

You know you’re jealous.

Never one to shy away from a good time, we found ourselves the next day at Medieval Times. No joke. Greeted with a flurry of “my lords” and ” my lady,” we knew we were in for an experience as we walked the drawbridge into the castle just northwest of the city. Our knight, the yellow one, didn’t win the tournament or the fairest maiden in the land’s hand, but he did provide an entertaining two hour show. I was surprised at the number of splinters and sparks that flew at the clash of lances and swords. I was not surprised at the quality of the feast. Let’s just say that the tomato bisque was more like Campbell’s tomato soup.

The Disappointing Flick

Katniss facing Bradley Cooper head on.

Katniss facing Bradley Cooper head on.

My last Thanksgiving activity was to do what so many do over the long weekend: see a movie. My first choice was Anna Karenina, which I’ll probably see this weekend, but we eventually settled on “Silver Linings Playbook.” Hailed as a must-see and Oscar contender, I went in with high expectations and walked out disappointed. The heart of the story is good, it’s the pace of the movie that’s bad. Let’s put it this way, it’s very slow and is probably more suited for Redbox!

What have you been up to as of late? Did you like “Silver Linings”? Big plans for the upcoming weekend?

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Time to Be Thankful

I’m thankful for pie – can’t wait to dive into these today!

All over the internet, Facebook and TV, you catch celebrities, friends and newscasters proclaiming what they’re thankful for. What’s great about this holiday is that it forces you to take inventory on your life and boil it down to what’s dearest to you.

At Thanksgiving, my family traditionally goes around the table and shares what we’re thankful for and since I’m not home to do it, I figured I’d use this outlet to celebrate and reflect.

Family: This one is obvious and usually comes first for most people but I’m very fortunate to have a close-knit family. All of us experienced change this year  and through it all, we supported each other with long phone calls and an abundance of laughter.

Friends: Having spent three years in college, more than 2,000 miles away from familiar surroundings, I had to rely on other people, namely my friends, to be my support and my home away from home. Luckily the relationships that I cherished at that time are still alive and well today – crazy to think that I’ve known some of them for close to eight years now! I’m also extremely lucky that I’ve been able to make close friends since graduation. My friend Alison wrote about her love for these cities but more than what those cities have to offer, it’s the people living there that make them all the more precious. Thank you, friends! You keep me on my toes.

And that’s it! I know my list is short but when you have those things, what else do you need? With that, I’m off to chow down on some sweet potato casserole, stuffing and pie. Notice the missing turkey because we all know that sides are the best …

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Friendsgiving Pt. 1

This year, I’m not going home for Thanksgiving but I’m not letting it get me down either. Instead, my roommate, his sister and I are holing ourselves into our small apartment and gorging on our own feast, complete with wine pairings.

Now, if I had left this to my roommate, everything would be store-bought and fantastically artificial.

You think I’m joking but he really did send around an email stating that if we didn’t commit to cooking some items, he would just buy them. Yep, sounds like the worst, most unthanksgiving Thanksgiving ever.

After divvying up most dishes between his sister and me, my roommate bought the turkey and, as I told my mom, will “stick it in the oven and hope for the best.” Cross your fingers, say some prayers and wish him luck that he doesn’t burn down the apartment and that we have an OK bird to eat tomorrow.

You might be wondering why part one of this saga is coming to you on Wednesday. Well, I had to get a head start on cooking since some ingredients to the overall dishes require a little prep and pre-cooking themselves. Any ideas what I’m using pecans and cornbread for? Let me just say that they’re definitely going to be the stars of the night.

Things to expect over the next couple of days – or week, depending on how long it takes me to write: family favorite recipes, a fantastic Friendsgiving recap and an overall good time.

What are you looking forward to for Thanksgiving? Going home or Friendsgiving it up?

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The Dreaded Crossword Puzzle

Because everyone loves a good before and after shot.

Crosswords are very intimidating – I get it. This is common thinking for everyone before they get addicted themselves.

I first started doing crosswords my junior/senior year of college when I was trying to keep myself entertained during class (Marketing 3000 did not have the most engaging professor). I had already knocked out the Sudoku in the student paper and the only thing left was the empty grid that was just begging to be played with. I surprised myself at how many words I was able to guess correctly, all while being depressed at how many I didn’t. The advantage was that I could only go up from there and what they say is true, practice makes perfect.

If you do enough crosswords, you’ll start recognizing patterns and remembering common words. That’s why I want this post to be a challenge for you to take a stab at a one and stick with it for at least a week. Not only will you eventually grow to love them, you’ll increase your vocabulary and ward off dementia in your old age. Look it up.

The first step is to find a source of crosswords. I’m lucky enough that the Red Eye paper offers one  each morning that I do on the way to work but there are plenty of online resources for you to find good ones like USAToday.com or LATimes.com. Keep in mind that crosswords get harder as the week progresses so if you find yourself knowing fewer words on Friday compared to Monday, that’s normal.

What no one explained to me before I started out is that there are a set of rules that every crossword follows. It’s not a free-for-all like I originally thought. The most common are:

  • Singular and plural: If the clue is plural, odds are there will be an S at the end of the answer. For example, “swamp plants” is usually “reeds.” It’s the same with “and” and “or” as “Nat King and Natalie” would result in “Coles” versus “Hanks or Hardy” would be “Tom” with no S. Simple right?
  • Tenses: If the clue is a verb in the past tense, the answer will usually be in the past tense as well. For example, “kept for later” would be “saved” while “keep for later” would be “save.”
  • Abbreviations: This is very similar to the first two rules. If the clue has an abbreviation in it, so will the answer. A common one is “J. Edgar Hoover’s agcy.,” which means the answer is “FBI” not “Federal Bureau of Investigation.”
  • Perhaps, for one, e.g.: All of these words indicate that the clue is just an example of an overarching category just like the answer for “Sprite, for one” could be “soda” or “pop.” No, we’re not going to dive into that debate in this post …
  • Most clues are synonyms for the answer: In reality, very few puzzle answers require any historical or pop culture knowledge. All you need is some common sense and a grasp of the english language. For example, “destroy slowly” is another way to say “erode” or “at a distance” also means “afar.”

Are you still with me? Good because now comes the concrete advice on how to solve crosswords:

  • Use a pencil: I actually only ever use a pen because I like to live on the edge but in reality you should use something that you can erase. You will mess up, especially in the beginning, so it’s important to be able to fix the word you originally inscribed.
  • Think outside the box: A common word can have many different meanings. Examples that come to mind are words that can serve as nouns as well as verbs. For example, “air” could mean “broadcast,” “atmosphere, “breath” etc.
  • Solve across and down at the same time: It’s exciting when you get the word correctly but before jumping the gun and writing it down, double check that it’s right. The easiest way to do this is to figure out the words that intersect it. If the letters line up, odds are you’re on the right track.
  • Always check the answers: This can be super annoying sometimes, especially if you’re not online or impatient like me, since you have to wait until the next day to know if you’re right. Trust me, this is the only way you’ll learn even if there are a few “duh” moments. The main purpose is to identify patterns and commonly used words to keep an eye out for next time.

I know that this is a lot to keep track of but believe me, the more you practice, the better you’ll get. On that note, let’s try it! I’m using the USA Today crossword from last Monday, since we determined that the beginning of the week is easiest. I pulled out some of the clues below since the answers to them are some of the most common crossword words:

  • Nile vipers = Asps. Notice how the clue and the answer are both plural. See, we’re already applying our rules! Also, another clue for asp is “Cleopatra’s snake.”
  • Nabisco item = Oreo. This is the crossword puzzle’s favorite cookie. And by that, I mean the ONLY cookie. An alternative clue for this is “cookie sandwich.”
  • Instrument with a double reed mouthpiece = Oboe. If Oreo is the crossword’s cookie, oboe is its instrument.
  • Omen = Sign. This is an example of the synonyms. One thing you should note is that “omen” is usually the answer, not the clue.
  • Wrap for a rani = Sari. The clue could have also been “Indian wrap.”
  • Home to future ham = sty. I don’t know why crossword creators love this word so much but it’s a staple. Another clue for it could be “pig dwelling.”

Before I leave you to try for yourself, I thought I would add all of the usual suspects that I can quickly come up with below. Think of it as a cheat sheet:

  • Ace – expert, pro, highest card
  • Ewe – lamb’s mother, ram’s mate
  • Ale – stein contents, pub order
  • Lea – valley (this was a new one for me)
  • Tee – the shirt kind and the golf kind
  • Ado – “Much ___ about nothing,” riot
  • Din – noise, ruckus
  • Iota – small amount
  • Abet – aide in criminal activity (who knew, right?)

Finally some common categories that you’ll encounter:

  • Celebrities: Ella Fitzgerald, Tina Fey, Adam Sandler
  • Biblical references: Ark, Adam, Eve, Eden, Cain, Abel, Noah, Moses
  • Months (abbreviated and not abbreviated): Feb., April, Dec., Oct. are used the most
  • Birthstones: opal in particular is very popular, also referred to as a gem

I know this post got very wordy and long but I guess what I’m trying to get at is that I knew nothing of this when I first started. These are all things that I’ve picked up along the way and that you can too if you practice and challenge yourself. Not only will you come out feeling very smart, nothing can get in your way when you’ve completed a puzzle at the beginning of the day.

Have you tried doing crossword puzzles before? What are some of the challenges you’ve run into?

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The Blog Lives!

Something prompted me today to revive this blog so here it is – a post! I can’t pinpoint exactly why I stopped blogging in the first place but here are potentially a few reasons:

  • I got a new job
  • I went on vacation for two weeks
  • I moved
  • Summer

Some of you might be confused at the notion that summer could totally derail a habit or routine but, if you live in Chicago, you completely understand. Patios open up, Cubs games become a staple and street fairs invade the city. There is just no time for anything else. Throw in a new job and apartment and you have the recipe for a blog that is shoved in the corner and forgotten until cold weather rolls in and you decide to dust it back off.

Instead of recounting all my experiences from the past five months, I thought I would illustrate them through the goodness that is Instagram. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so consider these next 6,000 words an official update on what I’ve been up to.

Anything I didn’t touch on? Post your questions below!

Ladies and gentlemen, the Golden Gate bridge herself.

I explored San Francisco’s backyard: Napa Valley.

Mandatory Cubs watching during the hot summer months.

Katherine, the little sis, moved to Virginia Tech with the help of Yours Truly.

Football season started back up, which means a couple of trips down to Columbia, MO, with the crew.

I was reunited with this beauty in Madison, WI, for a weekend.

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Pardon the Interruption

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Well, it’s been officially over a month since I last blogged a.k.a. major failure on my part. At this point, I should probably extrapolate on all the amazing things that have prevented me from posting sooner however, that’s not the case. It’s not to say that I haven’t done anything fun! For example:

  • I performed my first wedding ceremony, which means I’m now fielding requests from all over the globe to reproduce my tear-jerking masterpiece.
  • I decided to move out of my very awesome studio apartment into a two bedroom with my good friend George. I’m sure there will be more updates coming soon with the apartment search and the impending loss of being able to do absolutely anything that I want such as leaving dishes out for days, sleeping overnight on the couch and loud singing in the shower.
  • I started looking for a part-time job in order to officially kick the beast I call student loans to the curb. On that note, if my Chicago friends know of any place hiring an inexperienced bartender, server, host or social media junkie, please send them my way.
  • I finally ate at a slew of restaurants in my neighborhood that I’ve been dying to try since I moved to the wonderful street of Barry. They include the likes of Crisp, La Tacorea and of course the classic Domino’s (I’m not even going to link to that one because you should know what it is).
  • I saw the Hunger Games, along with the rest of the world, and, unlike the rest of the world, thought it was just OK.

Those are the fun updates. Now for the just “meh” ones:

  • I began running home from work. No, that doesn’t mean that I’m in a hurry to get home. It means that I physically jog the 4.7 miles home every day, except for when it’s cold. Or rainy. Or I don’t feel like it.
  • I finished “Devil in the White City” by Erik Larson and “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy – reviews coming soon!
  • My two year anniversary with Foursquare came and went on Monday with very minimal hoopla although I have wracked up SIX new badges since we last talked – air high five!
  • I saw Mizzou basketball embark on one of its most exciting journeys only to watch it crash and burn quicker than you can yell M-I-Z. Needless to say, I didn’t watch a game or look at my bracket after that. Side note: how ’bout them Wildcat?!
  • I started work on a new client, the one that’s probably branded on all the cleaning products under your sink. Don’t believe me? Go check and then get back to me.

I think that’s it! It’s crazy how you can sum up a month in 10 short bullet points. Don’t worry, there are plenty of stories coming your way that range from “I can’t believe that woman thought I could live here” to “this bar requires a photo on the application because they only hire ‘attractive’ people.” Exciting things happening in the life of Adam. Be sure to tune in for more!

PS: My new favorite website is What Should We Call Me a.k.a. the easiest way to put me in a good mood.

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The End of an Era

I will be the first to admit that I’m not a huge sports guy. Growing up, I did the required P.E. classes, participated in a few individual sports outside of school (think karate and badminton) but other than that, never took too big an interest in the activities that seemed to capture the attention of so many.

Once I graduated high school, I packed my two suitcases and crossed the Atlantic to land at the University of Missouri, home of the Mizzou Tigers.

Like most, I was drawn to the academic beauty of a college campus, savored the many late nights staying up talking with friends and basked in my new-found independence.  In my mind, this was going to end just like it does in the movies with four years of learning stored in my head and a diploma under my belt.

What I didn’t account for was athletics. With the growing love for a school you’re proud of, comes the growing dislike for anything and anyone who would say something negative about your Alma Mater. Needless to say, kU/kansas and anything related to the blue and red bird would spawn immediate reactions, most of which involved playful taunting and bashing. With this unexpected passion, I dawned my black and gold to cheer on the Tigers at sporting events I never thought I would one day be able to sit through such as football, basketball and baseball – the American trifecta of sports. My voice turned raspy after every game and my stash of ticket stubs grew with each season. I was hooked on hating the kansas Jayhawks.

Two of my favorite sports memories, one old and another recent, involve Mizzou’s biggest rival. The first is the 2007 Mizzou vs. kU football game. The Tigers were ranked #3 and the Jayhawks were coming in at #2. ESPN College Gameday was present to psych up the fans and give their take on the historic Border Showdown that was settled by our win and the first #1 ranking for the Tigers since 1960. My fingers were cold, my spirit high and my faith renewed as everyone left the stadium to newspaper boys selling copies of the local write-up that showcased a bold #1 next to the picture of QB Chase Daniel. Words could not describe how proud we were.

My second greatest sports moment took place on Saturday. Undoubtedly you’re probably aware of our decision to leave the Big 12 for the acclaimed SEC Conference, which launched unbridled criticism from our enemies across the state line. Their decision was final: they wouldn’t play us again, thus ending a 121-year-old rivalry, the second longest in the nation. This meant the most recent basketball game was going to be the one of the last chances to witness a Border Showdown. Through my good friend Carrie, I was able to snag a ticket and stood for most of the game, 20 rows up from the court.

To say the least, the atmosphere was electric. We were convinced that there was no way we were going to walk away losers. Through countless fight songs and moments of watching the game through my fingers, we rode the highs and lows of a basketball showdown. Trust me, there was a moment when the entire arena was silent for fear of distracting the Tigers that were trailing behind our opponent. A couple well-timed shots and a few minutes later, we had won. Fans streamed from the building skipping, chanting M-I-Zs and throwing high fives, elated that we closed this chapter by coming out on top.

What this long-winded essay is meant to say is that without kansas, I wouldn’t be the Mizzou fan I am today. I wouldn’t be as passionate about watch parties every Saturday and I wouldn’t engage in back-and-forth banter with anyone walking around in kansas sports gear. So while I’m sad and resentful at the enemy we all love to hate for deciding to not move forward together in coming years, I can’t help but say thank you for entertaining so many Mizzou alumni and students for so long. You bring us together and make us stronger and give us memories to recount for our children and grandchildren in years to come.

But don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change our move to the SEC for anything and you should rest assured that at the end of the day, Mizzou will move on and be all the better for it. With that, I bid you farewell kansas and hope that we do meet again someday so that our mutual hatred can be reunited on the football field. We’ll remind the country what a true rivalry is meant to be. M-I-Z!

What’s your favorite sports memory? Do you have any distinct memories associated with rivalries?