Q&A with a ChicagoNow blogger: Going South of I-80 with Erin Skibinski

Q&A with a ChicagoNow blogger: Going South of I-80 with Erin Skibinski

Note: This post is part of a ChicagoNow series where the bloggers interview each other in order to get to know them better.

When Erin Skibinski says she lives in Chicago's far southern suburbs, she is not lying. If you go out past Blue Island, Oak Forest, Harvey, and every other suburb us Chicagoans consider too far to visit, you'll eventually end up in the land of Erin.

The good news, though you may be far away from civilization, you are in the presence of beauty, and I don't just mean that of Erin herself. You see, Erin is a designer, DIYer, writer, mom, wife, cook, comedian, and more. She is always doing projects to make the world a better place in one way or another.

She describes herself on her Home Everyday blog, her first blogging adventure, as a hybrid of Martha Stewart, Ina Garten, Julia Child, and Sarah Richardson. Though Home Everyday is super popular, I met Erin first through her ChicagoNow blog, South of I-80. Of course, many Chicagoans know Erin through her popular writing over at Chicago Parent.

Are you still with me dear reader? Can you tell this Superwoman is super busy all the time?

As if everything already mentioned wasn't enough, Erin was also featured in the 2013 Chicago edition of Listen to Your Mother, and she wrote a sketch that was included in the Mary Siewert Scruggs Works by Women Comedy Festival at Second City in Chicago.

So, the next time you are busy and stressed, know that she does all this while raising three children that all within 33 months of age of each other. Fortunately, she has a loving husband who is there to reel her in when she is about to go crazy from her many lives.

Anyway, enough of me telling you about Erin, I'll let her do in her own words.

Me: You recently did Listen to Your Mother. What was the best thing about that experience, and what will you take away from it?

Listen to Your Mother (LTYM) was kind of a caveat of a lot of things for me. When you’re a blogger, or first starting out as a writer, it is impossible to really know who appreciates what you do or reads your writing. LTYM was proof that I had a voice, people enjoyed it, and it gave me confidence to continue on this path. I enrolled in the Writing Program at Second City because of LTYM. I also met some very talented women in the process who share a similar passion, and honestly that helps keep me inspired too.

What makes you blog? Where do you find your inspiration?

Depends on the blog. For ChicagoNow South of I-80 , I am typically inspired by other people’s writing or what is going on around me. I also like to write about the south burbs occasionally, just so people don’t forget about us down here. As for Home Everyday, it started out as a way to document my time as a stay at home mom and all my domestic interests, so a lot of inspiration comes from my kids, Pinterest or what we need for our home. For example, right now, I am on the hunt for a writing desk, so I’m sure you’ll all hear about that soon. However, Home Everyday is also evolving all the time, and I am hoping to incorporate a little more humor.

Do you really do all the crafts you talk about on Home Everyday?

Yes. Sometimes I cook, bake, mix up a drink, or make something twice even before I share it as I want to get it just right. Sometimes though, I just wing it and take pictures along the way. 

What is your favorite thing to blog about?

I have always liked writing about DIY, but lately I am really into Thirsty Thursdays. I love looking up and creating drinks and beverages. Lately, I have also really been interested in making people laugh. Life has been a bit scary as of late, and I am pretty sure that we are all suffering from media induced PTSD, so if I can make someone giggle a little bit while they are drinking a cocktail, I would say that is a job well done!

What is your least favorite thing to blog about?

I hate, HATE crying. I will avoid it at all costs. You know those people that like a good cleansing cry? I am not one of those people. I will choke it back as long as I can. Watching Steel Magnolias was a nightmare scenario for me. Beaches was worse. I will probably NEVER see or read The Fault in Our Stars - there I said it. Judge me if you want, but if I want to cry I’ll turn on the news. However, there are topics I write about that just bring on the waterworks, and I know going into the topic its going to happen - cough, cough some of the Blogapalooza topics, cough cough Jimmy (who is our ChicagoNow leader), ahem. Some of those are my best posts, but honestly, I just have to churn it out quickly so I am not a blubbering mess, because I HATE IT!

Do you still watch HGTV all the time?

Alright, here is my little rant about HGTV. What in the Sam Hill?! It is like when MTV used to show actual music videos and then it turned into slut city. Just call it SRTV for Stupid Reality TV and be done with it already. HGTV used to be actual, creative, and inexpensive ways to decorate your home, and now it is marathons of wealthy people looking for their 8th home in Nice, France complaining that whatever mansion doesn't have a solid gold toilet to hold their precious defecation. What the FRICK?! Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against wealthy people, but I do have something against stupid people, and when these people are walking through a home  which is sometimes located in a third world country, and complaining about its dirt floors instead of I dunno, perhaps sharing your wealth with people, I think they need to reevaluate their lives. Then, there’s the competition shows. Don’t.Get.Me.Started. Give me DIY Network or some old fashioned Ask this Old House or perhaps re runs of Mike Holmes or Sarah Richardson. I like Canandians, what can I say.

You are also really into Comedy. Where did you get this from? What is your favorite thing you've done in Comedy so far?

My Family. Some of my earliest comedic memories are listening to Bill Cosby’s Fatherhood on my parents’ record player. I was an itty bitty kid and laughing hysterically. “Dad is great. Gives us chocolate cake.” Then, I would listen to Bob Newhart and watch the Carol Burnett Show. When I was a little older, I can remember coming home from half day Kindergarten and watching sitcoms like The Honeymooners and I Love Lucy while I ate my lunch. As I got older, I just wanted to soak in things that made me laugh. Making someone laugh is like a super power, and I still want to somehow harness it and use it for good. So far, being a part of the Mary Siewart Scruggs Works by Women Festival back in November was a huge accomplishment for me. It was a sketch I was really proud of, and when I saw real actors perform it, I about died. That’s why I am so excited for Swing for the Picket Fences: A Writing 6 Review opening June 28 at 10:30 pm at Second City and running every Saturday through July 19.

Though there are so many more questions I'd love to ask Erin, I felt that it was time to wrap up the questions. I did tack on two additional questions though.

I asked her to tell me one thing about herself that nobody would know, and she replied that she literally has "three separate peed my pants stories". Note that I may have to get those stories for another blog at a later date.

Lastly, I asked Erin to tell me about herself in her own words, and she said "I am just a wife and mother trying to take over the world, as soon as I get all this frickin' laundry done."

Now, enough of my rambling about Erin. Go to Facebook now, and follow her yourself!

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