Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A plug for local business---

I am going to post photos and an update about our new home in Mishawaka, but not until our new bed and couch get delivered this evening. (Yep. I finally bought a queen bed... I can cross that off my 101 List!)

But while I'm thinking of it, there's a candle company in Naperville that I stumbled across months ago. They make soy-based candles in the basement of a building. It's a husband/wife/dog team and the first time I visited, they showed me how they make the candles. For my mom's birthday, I couldn't get there in time while they were open, so I bought one online and asked them to mail it with a small card. They came through for me and on my last evening in the area, Ken and I went to the store one more time. I mentioned he had mailed a candle for me earlier in the week... and he said, "Oh! Rachel! I remember!" I didn't want to buy a candle that evening because we were a bit cramped for space as it was (and I knew Ken would kill me if I bought more stuff after he packed the whole apartment). So I told him I was going to sniff and figure out my favorites so I could order them online. He did better --- he sent me away with sample vials of all the different scents they offer. Totally above and beyond. Anyways, I am trying to support local businesses, so here's their website if you need a nice gift for someone... Wayfarer Candles

I love the Pear and Pink Peppercorn one. Fig and Cassis is nice too.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Coldplay throws party for 20,000 Chicagoans
CONCERT REVIEW | Brits try hard to stay up close and personal with their fans

July 23, 2008

BY JIM DeROGATIS Pop Music Critic

Even after several million albums sold, British art-rockers Coldplay are still conflicted about their status as an arena act, and that's one of their most endearing traits.

On the one hand, front man Chris Martin and his bandmates do everything they can to maximize the big rock spectacle, the grand theatrical gesture and the musical bombast.

On Tuesday, the first night of a two-night stand at the United Center, the musicians came out dressed in pseudo-Napoleonic uniforms and began to perform in front of a giant backdrop of Delacroix's French Revolutionary painting, "Liberty Leads the People," which happens to be the cover of their new album, "Viva La Vida."

Several big globes hung from the ceiling and flashed video images of the band as it played; at times, the group deployed more lasers than any band since Genesis, and during the song "Lovers in Japan," a seemingly endless rain of colorful paper butterflies fell on the crowd.

On the other hand, Martin has never been afraid to let his inner geek show: He's the anti-Bono, dancing like an awkward little urchin instead of striking cool larger-than-life poses, and never hesitant to do his Schroeder routine at his black upright piano.

Throughout the 90-minute set, the bandleader frequently thanked the fans for their support, sounding genuinely surprised at his own success. And he, guitarist Jonny Buckland, bassist Guy Berryman and drummer Will Champion did everything they could to get up close and personal, running to the end of the platform on stage right, performing two songs at the end of the platform on stage left and eventually hopping down from the stage altogether to briefly perform acoustically in the midst of the fans in the first tier off the floor.

None of this made the show as intimate as the one the group played at Metro to celebrate the release of its last album, "X&Y." But it felt as special as any party for 20,000 can, and the goodwill the band created extended to the audience indulging two renditions of the new song "Lost" for the benefit of a video filming, as well as the heavy sampling of the more arty, less anthemic songs from "Viva La Vida" sprinkled between guaranteed crowd pleasers such as "Clocks," "In My Place" and "Yellow."

Yeah, it was awesome.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Today Ken and I journeyed over to the Hoosier state to start the relocation process. We had a couple of apartment complexes in mind, but all the information/complexes on the internet were completely overwhelming. My main criteria: washer and dryer in the unit.

We checked out the first place and it was completely acceptable. A bit more than we wanted to spend and we didn't really see anything extra special that would warrant the cost. And the washer/dryer was down the hall and there was only one of each.

The next place had incredibly unfriendly staff and was the sort of place that you know police frequent regularly. Washer and dryer? In the complex next door. Upon seeing the mediocre and smoky apartment, we crossed it off the list and left in a hurry.

At lunch, I got ahold of Carly and we headed off to check out her complex. And it was here that we fell in love. On the spot, we picked an apartment and started the leasing process. We are saving a considerable amount of money on our apartment and the complex has a very popular pool. And... a washer/dryer in the apartment. Carly will be just down the block and will be called on moving day to lend a hand. Hi, neighbor!!!

Then we rushed off to Elkhart because Ken had an interview for a bartending gig. He was in there for awhile and by the time he walked out, he was employed and starting in less than two weeks!

On to my employer. I wanted to say hello and make sure I'm not going to regret my decision. The office was in chaos because we are moving to another location on Thursday, so the packing has begun. Thank goodness I'm coming in after the move! The boss decided everyone needed a drink and we headed off to a local pub for some drinks and appetizers. There are only 7 in the office and 6 made it out with us. I think that although I'm *really really really* going to miss my current co-workers, I'm going to get along fabulously with this group as well. There are two girls who did JET in Nagano and are roommates. We were already discussing "movie nights" for the nights when Ken is slaving away at the bar.

And now we're back...with a move-in date a week earlier than originally intended. I'm mentally packing up the apartment and am now even more excited to call Indiana home. :)

Here's a very exciting photo of an apartment we saw where we're going to be living. We're on the third floor so we get to enjoy vaulted ceilings and cute window.

P.S. - I've been updating my 101 List if you haven't checked it in awhile. I haven't written very exciting entries, but at least you can see some progress!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

G'day, mate!

As you can see, the name of my blog has officially switched to "Into the Bend." The reason being... I have been offered --- and I have accepted --- a position at a company in South Bend, Indiana, and we will be in the next few weeks to start yet another chapter of life.

I wasn't looking for a new position as I was absolutely content at my job for the timebeing. I love my current co-workers and wasn't sure I could leave them. But then, out of the blue, I got an email in my inbox from a company that I had applied for in September. They had contacted me at that time, but their email was diverted to my spam folder and by the time they called, I was already employed. So, I got the email asking if I was at all interested in going through the interview process for this new position. I don't like shutting doors...and one thing led to another... So now I'm moving to SB!

What's this new job entail? It's a study abroad company, focusing on Australia and New Zealand with some Asian short-term programs mixed in. I will be taking over the Sydney files, which make up the bulk of the students traveling. We basically get students interested (from all over the States) and guide them to choosing the right university for them overseas, helping them prepare, and then being supportive of them during their semester. The company is on the high-end market, which I am used to. So basically the people we sent on trips are parents of the students we are sending to study abroad. But I can definitely identify with the excitement of heading overseas as a college student. I absolutely believe that the experience is life-changing, as cheesy as that is.

The company is small and there is a ton of opportunity for growth. I'll be not only managing files, but traveling to Oz for orientations, perhaps making college visits, will probably do some creative marketing, and assist wherever else I am needed. I'm sad to be leaving my current position, as it truly has been an awesome experience and I really don't mind going to work each day (which is sometimes all you can ask for), but I think this is a good career move.

So, that's me. Another upheaval. :)

Monday, July 07, 2008

What's more American than onigiri?

Hope you all had a great 4th of July weekend! We had a busy few days, taking in a couple of festivals. Josh, Laura, Zack, and Krystal came up on Friday and we headed to the Lisle Balloon Festival for some carnival food and fireworks. I love this setting on my camera!

It's hard to believe that this time last year, I was enjoying some fireworks in an alley with Bridgit, trying to catch a glimpse of some fireworks on base. And their lame attempt at a 4th of July party.

On Saturday, we headed to the Naperville Ribfest to grab some quick (and expensive) lunch with Zack and Krystal. Nothing like Americans feasting on greasy hunks of pig flesh to make you proud.

We had the afternoon free yesterday and finally made it to Mitsuwa, a Japanese grocery store. What a flashback. And where do all these Japanese people live?!?! We heard the usual grunts, the crazy kids running around, and stocked up on our goodies. Among the highlights: Pocari Sweat (remember sucking that down, Bridgit?!), azuki bean mochi that tastes perfect, and my favorite Pucca! We could have bought a lot more, but held back a bit. It was hilarious to remember various grocery store encounters.

In other news, the name of this blog could soon appropriate become "Into the Bend." Details to come later as life works itself out.