This is the cupcake. This is the cupcake I couldn’t stop thinking about.  The cupcake that beckoned me away from my apartment at 9 p.m.  The cupcake that meant I had to stand in line for twelve minutes at Molly’s while groups of teenagers who apparently don’t have enough homework somehow managed to be loud while texting and the kid behind me would seriously not stop touching my back and WHY did that kid look so much like Justin Beiber, honestly, he’s got like four earrings and that weird haircut and has he had lip injections? and GOOD LORD HOW DID THAT KID AND HIS BABYSITTER MANAGE TO CUT ME IN LINE WHILE MY CUPCAKE WAS BEING BOXED UP?!

Sometimes, it’s Monday and all you want is to eat a cupcake–this cupcake–while you watch Smash and wonder where Debra Messing got that belted sweater and, let’s be honest, maybe listen to “Let Me Be Your Star” a few hundred times while you read through your assignment file from Playwriting II and wonder where you went wrong.

Just a nice, normal little Monday with Cupcake.

Sidenote: In terms of things that are #trending, I could not care less about cupcakes.  (They’ve been here forever, really, let’s just all calm down, shall we?) That is, unless, they are either a) made by my mom, or b) from Molly’s Cupcakes on Clark, in which case I will leave my apartment at night and fight through throngs of youths and maaaaybe get in an argument with the son of family friends at a Fourth of July party after he miiiiiight have expressed an ignorant preference for cupcakes from a place that rhymes with “Wrinkles.”

One of the major perks of living in Chicago–in addition to the political corruption, bracing temperatures, and opportunities to discuss The Good Wife like it’s a real thing–is the fact that this city is basically the first stop on the Friends Who Get Famous Tour. (Hello? Has anyone here even read Bossypants or early David Sedaris or that really long New York Magazine article about the Upright Citizens Brigade? This is the city where you do voice-overs for arcade games and standup at children’s birthday parties before becoming the most famous Saturday Night Live cast members ever.  It’s a totally direct, established career trajectory.)

Having lured you in with that elaborate set-up, I will now take a few hundred words to grandstand about having talented friends.

Hear ye! These are the roller skating women/comediennes/homicidal lingerie models/aerobics-instructors/gynecologists/sexy-babies of Drew’s Tumbler:

I took the picture above, and several hundred others, of D’sT rollerskating and being generally hilarious last year near Wrigley Field, and we made lots of new totally normal friends.  (I also made that crepe paper flower, but this really isn’t about me.)

They sing, they dance, they skate, they recently made their Chicago Sketchfest Debut at Stage 773, and, most importantly (for the purposes of this blog post) they are currently being featured on the iO Comedy Network in a video that I will admit to having watched forty-three times–but it’s probably closer to seventy at this point.  Have you ever wondered what Victoria’s Secret models are like in real life? This is the most hilarious sexiest and most accurate way to find out.

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When my weekly missive from the desk of Gwyneth Paltrow softly fluttered into my inbox this morning on a cloud of lavender-scented bedlinen mist, I couldn’t help but wonder, “Does anyone remember when goop used to have fun Asian-inspired recipes and pictures of obscenely expensive clothing for the children I don’t have?”  You know–the good old days of 2009?

These days it’s all cleanses and advice on small business ownership.  Gwyneth: I come to you for glamorous, condescending, utterly useless advice that I could not otherwise access in the Self Help section of the Lincoln Park Branch Chicago Public Library (which STILL will not issue me a library card EVEN THOUGH I’M A MODEL CITIZEN.)

I can only hope that next week’s goop will contain sensible, insider wisdom on an every-woman topic, such as “How to Interview Multilingual Child Life Specialists” or “Backless Gowns: the New Hoodie.”

I should start by saying that this dinner had its work cut out for it.  It took–count them–twenty-three emails to coordinate five people who live in the same city and see each other on a regular basis getting together for dinner on a Friday night.  Most of us had record-breakingly terrible weeks at work.  One of us exists solely on a diet of unseasoned chicken and cookies.  And a few of us slogged through ten blocks of late-onset-Chicago-winter slush to discover the restaurant had a parking lot and someone could have driven.
But when a Filipino friend offers to curate the experience of dinner at Isla Pilipina Restaurant in Lincoln Square, you don’t ask questions–you hop on that Brown Line and take it right to Western, bottle of BYOB white clutched between your mittens.

Warning: the amount of deep-fried pork you are about to witness may shock you.

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2012: The Year I Resolve to Do Everything No More Than Three Days Late.  (Or at least try).

New Years Eve ice skating at Daley Bicentennial Plaza; The Bean with East Coast friends
Introducing out-of-towners to reflective-bean-photography; Chicago Cultural Center
Festive friends; unbelievable NYE dinner (and sidecar) at Aquitaine in Lincoln Park
New year/new tie; aftermath: Clark Street, Chicago, January 1, 10 AM

German incense smoker; a glass of Christmas Eve Glühwein
My grandfather, the original Christmas enthusiast; German wooden village
Swiss fondue, our longest-standing Christmas Eve tradition
Christmas morning Panettone; Christmas afternoon eggnog
Christmas tree; feather fascinator
Ice sculpture at Lincoln Park Zoo Lights; Mom’s “incroyable” Bûche de Noël
My sister’s Christmas train; Licoln Park Zoo Lights