Posts Tagged ‘Family’

For all the Band Aids and ice packs,

For all the times you told me everything would be okay,

For all the times you asked, “Do you need anything?,”

For all the times you told me I’m just like dad,

For all the times you stayed up late planning a vacation or helping with a school project,

For all the times you said, “Make sure your apartment door is double locked,”

For all the times you told me to study hard,

For all the times you slipped me an extra $5 when dad wasn’t looking,

For all the times you hung a B+ on the fridge,

For all the times you told me my picture looks perfect,

For all of the letters and care packages in college – I kept every letter you sent,

For all the hugs when I’ve had a rough day,

For being the family photographer,

For teaching me to always bring flowers,

For telling me to study first and play second,

For reminding me to call my sisters,

For pretending my friends and I spend as much time in church as we do the bar,

For helping me move 12 times in seven years,

For the occasional guy babysitter,

For always supporting me,

For the endless supply of costumes during grade school… and college,

For only being a phone call away,

And so much more,

Thank you. Happy Mother’s Day.




More than two and a half years ago, I moved to Chicago and embraced the city as my own. I’ve eaten some amazing food, watched the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup, survived three football seasons as a Packers fan and met lifelong friends. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to start my post-college life.

The corner stone of my Windy City experience  is my office and my co-workers. The environment is challenging but nurturing, our clients are industry leaders, and the people I work with are intelligent, driven, and some of my best friends. I’ll never be able to replicate this group of people and the environment but I’m excited to say:

I’m moving to London.


Where did this come from?

A few months ago I started searching for opportunities to diversify my experience and set myself apart from my peers. After a week in New York, I came back to Chicago and reached out to my mentors and the agency’s leadership for guidance. During one of these conversations, someone pointed out that my plan didn’t exactly line up with the goal. It was during this conversation that we started to talk about opportunities abroad and how to make the most of my skills.

When am I leaving and for how long?

My plane leaves Chicago on Saturday, March 19th, less than two weeks from today, and I’ll start working at Weber’s London office on Wednesday, March 23rd. My apartment in Chicago is already down to the bare minimum, thanks to Mama Piehl, and I’m quickly evaluating everything I own and deciding what will come with me. My work visa is for three years and near the  end of each year, I’ll evaluate my experience and work with the London office to determine if I’ll stay in the UK or move back to the US.

Am I nervous?

You bet! I’ve been looking for new opportunities since September and have been discussing logistics with London since the middle of January. You would think this is enough time to overcome any fear or doubt, however, the reality of my situation didn’t sink in until this past Wednesday when my friend Sami gave me a book about Chicago and wrote on the inside, “Now you get to keep some of Chicago with you!” Like a slap across the face, I finally felt the reality of my transition.

Thankfully, the timing couldn’t be better! My apartment lease is up at the end of this month, my family is tremendously supportive, and there is nothing permanent connecting me to Chicago. I’m going to miss my friends and it seems weird to move now that I’ve established myself in the city’s different networks and social circles, but my fear is that if I don’t do this now, I never will. As a fun bonus with this change, I’m able to cross off two of my 25 in 25 goals in one move: visit Europe and move some where new.

What’s next?

Packing and partying – but not necessarily in that order. Help packing is always wanted but it’s not expected. However, this upcoming Friday I’m tearing it up and enjoying my last weekend in Chicago. Location: TBD.



Windy City

Merry Christmas

Posted: December 25, 2010 in Joe's Life
Tags: , ,

Merry Christmas! Even when my immediate family doesn’t have to host our extended family, Christmas is a busy day in the Piehl household. Between celebrating Mama Piehl’s birthday (she’s a Christmas baby), dad cooking a big breakfast, and everyone rushing out the door to go see my mom’s side of the family, we’re all on the move… or trying to avoid the work. : )

Three Christmas traditions we celebrate every year are putting baby Jesus in the Nativity scene, putting the angel on top of the tree and celebrating Mama Piehl’s birthday before we open our Christmas gifts. I hope you enjoy the fourth tradition I started in college, a ridiculous card staring yours truly.

Do you have any fun traditions, trips, or special events that you do every December?



p.s. A Christmas note from my favorite show 30 Rock: Happy Holidays… is what terrorists say. Merry Christmas – Avery and Jack (View the full episode here.)

The day is finally here, my 25th birthday. Finally my car insurance will go down… Oh wait, I don’t have a car in Chicago.

Me during my police themed birthday party. (I got a real Milwaukee PD shirt as a b-day gift.)

Well at least I have a good excuse to crack open a beer, smoke a cigar and maybe throw back some whiskey. I love birthdays, mine and others, because like wedding invites, they are a chance to reflect on the past year, celebrate accomplishments and make plans for the future.

Normally, I start my goals on January 1st, but this year I’m hopping on the trend of creating a goal for each year I’ve been alive. Some of these goals might evolve throughout the year, but the spirit of each goal won’t change. One of the themes you might notice is an emphasis on Chicago, I’ve found that it’s tough to be a tourist in my own city and as someone that has lived here over two years, it’s time I truly embrace the city and everything it offers.

1)      Visit the Willis (Sears) Tower Observation Deck 1/3/11

2)      Spend a afternoon on the John Hancock Observation Deck 12/27/10 (Edited – During a recent visit to the JH I learned that they outdoor part is covered and blocked by mesh, which defeats the original purpose of this goal.)

3)      Run ten 5k races (My first is this weekend – you should join me!)

4)      Watch my older sister run a marathon (In April she is running the Boston Marathon!)

5)      Spend a weekend with each of my sisters in the city they live (St. Louis and Phoenix)

6)      Spend a week in New York City (Jan. 8 – Jan. 13, 2011 – Technically this isn’t a full week but 6 days is close enough.)

7)      Call my grandma at least once a month

8)      Visit the Chicago Field Museum, The Art Institute of Chicago (1/3/11), Adler Planetarium, and Shedd Aquarium (1/16/11)

9)      Go to a downtown club and order bottle service (Only once)

10)   Try a new recipe once a month

Earlier today at the Widmer Brothers Brewery in Portland, Ore.

11)   Travel to Europe (or schedule my trip)

12)   Learn to drive stick shift

13)   Re-learn how to ride a motorcycle

14)   Ride to Sturgis, South Dakota with my dad

15)   Attend every Kitten Kall meeting

16)   Take a girl out on a date every month

17)   Spend more time blogging / writing about food

18)   Spend a weekend with my parents that isn’t attached to an activity I already plan on doing

19)   Attend 10 Major League Baseball games

20)   Get a Chicago library card (1/3/11) and read one book a month

21)   Once a week go for a walk outside

22)   Volunteer somewhere for at least one month

23)   Do something that scares me (1/8/11 – Details to come.)

24)   Meet Victoria Secret supermodel Marisa Miller and or attend the Maxim Hot 100 Party

25)   Move somewhere new

Some of these goals will be easy and some of these will be tougher. Unfortunately, money might hinder my ability to accomplish all of these goals but that just means I have to look at my decisions seriously, plan appropriately and occasionally pass on other opportunities.

In addition to being a tourist in my own city, another theme throughout these goals is my family. As my sisters and I continue to create our own paths in life, maintaining a strong connection to them is extremely important to me. If everything works out, I’ll turn 26 with stronger friendships and a slew of stories to share. I hope you’ll join me on some of these adventures.

If you’ve ever created a list like this, I’d love to hear your advice.



For the last couple months, I’ve thought a lot about what makes me happy. I have things that I “love” like beer, whiskey, baseball and a strong cup of coffee, but I struggled to find an answer to the question “What makes you happy?” (#WMYH)

A little less than two weeks ago, I started to find my answer during a phone call with Papa Piehl. Papa and Mama Piehl we’re visiting my older sister Kim in Arizona and Papa Piehl told me about the awesome things my sisters were doing that weekend. He reminded me to send a note, so I wrote a Facebook status update highlighting my amazing sisters and almost immediately the responses came in about the amazing women in my life.

The final piece of the puzzle came together at the Brewers vs. Cubs game this past Tuesday when a friend of mine started to get tired. When I asked if we should call it night, she pushed back and said “Nope, you bought the tickets. I want to leave when you want to leave.” But that didn’t make sense because I can watch baseball for hours and I know she wasn’t up for that challenge – I wanted to know what would make her happy. It was at this moment that I realized what made me happy: Supporting my friends and being their “cheerleader.”

So in the spirit of being the ultimate supporter and doing something that makes me happy, I’ve decided that every Friday I’m going to highlight one of the amazing people in my life and be their cheerleader. And since supporting my older sister Kim helped me figure this out, this one is about her.

Kimberly Piehl (Don’t call her Kimmie – she’s not a fan)

Over five years ago, Kim went on a Spring Break trip to Arizona and spent a week volunteering at Maggie’s Place – a community that provides a home for pregnant women who are alone or on the streets. As a baby fanatic, it was no surprise that about 4 month later she started a one-year volunteer position with Maggie’s Place.

“Kim just told me ‘Dad, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to leave this place.'” These were the words of Papa Piehl about nine months into Kim’s one year commitment. It speaks not only to her passion for helping others but also her dedication to the women and children of Phoenix.

To up the ante even further, she’s a full time staff member for Maggie’s Place but instead of a salary she receives a comfortable place to live and a stipend every month. It’s easy to ask “How do you live like that?” or ‘What do you do for fun?”, but consider yourself forewarned, her active schedule will make you tired just listening to her. Have you ran a marathon or triathlon in the past year? Because Kim’s probably ran 2 of them in between her skiing and hiking trips to Flagstaff. And at work her energy doesn’t stop either!

The weekend I posted a comment about my awesome sisters, Maggie’s Place was celebrating their 10 Year Anniversary and guess who coordinated it, Kim did – including a special speech by Brenda Warner, Kurt Warner’s wife. If that isn’t enough, she helps coordinate the annual Christmas Party and gift distribution that Maggie’s Place hosts for current and “alumni” families. The donation “pile” is so large for this event that in years past they filled a completely empty Scottsdale, AZ house with donations. No wonder people know her as Santa!

Not only does she do amazing things for Maggie’s Place, but she’s also a supportive sister and a loving friend. I have an opportunity to work with some amazing clients like Harley-Davidson and Combos – the awesome cheese filled snack – and in April Combos hosted a NASCAR viewing party in the Phoenix area. Even though NASCAR isn’t Kim’s forte, she still brought a throng of people almost an hour way from her home in Tempe, AZ to the party. It’s actions like this that make it tough not to love and support a girl like Kim.

If your ever in the Phoenix area, let me know because you definitely need to meet Kim!


The same Tuesday I went to the Brewers vs. Cubs game, I decided to be a little dorky and do the “I think you have something on your shirt” joke to my friend, to which I promptly received the response, “You’re such a dad. You know that’s a dad joke right?” Hopefully someday I actually will get to be a dad, but until then I’m willing to accept the fact that every so often I’m a 42-year-old dad trapped in a 24-year-old’s body.