Things I Apparently Hide From My Friends

It’s always sad to have a friend leave after a fun weekend.

Luckily, I get to see Laura again next weekend for a second round. For now, I’ll put my feet up and rest from all the crazy.

And for those of you who are curious, here’s a quick rundown of what we got into:

1. Laura got ridiculously stuck in rush hour traffic. Not that we were on a super strict time schedule, but it caused us to break out the beverages early due to the stress it caused.

I was more than happy to oblige with vodka lemonades. And don’t ask why I have vodka called Ice Kube. The store manager convinced me it was better than Svedka. I think he was just trying to get rid of it. What a trickster.

2. Laura’s schedule and Rod Tuffcurls’ tour dates finally aligned.

Laura drank the kool aid. And is upset this is the first time she’s been able to witness the greatness.

She is now an official Rod Tuffcurls fan. FRIENDZ!

3. Because of the late night dance-a-thon at the Rod show, we scrapped the idea of running on Saturday. And decided a walk to the beach was more appropriate.

This was also Laura’s first time visiting the beach. She could not believe Chicago had this lil’ hidden treasure.

Chicago is the awesomest. I simply cannot state this enough.

4. It’s a shame we didn’t run. However, there was plenty of walking. Not only did we walk on Saturday, we also wandered the neighborhoods on Sunday before she drove home.

I got to show off my new laces during said walk. Laura brought my belated birthday gift with her and it involved accessorizing my kicks. I’m now the coolest kid on the block! Weee!

5. We ate ALL THE FOODZ.

And dressed up to do so. Before silly shenanigans with some of our dude friends, we took ourselves on a dinner date to Frasca Pizzeria and Wine Bar.

Sure, I made homemade calzones the night before, but the polenta fries at Frasca blew my sweet cooking skills out of the water.

A garlic aioli was involved as the dipping sauce. I should apologize to the guy I was chatting with all night.

However, a little aioli didn’t deter him. Thank goodness.

6. Being too lazy to even pour ourselves bowls of cereal, we took ourselves out for breakfast on Sunday morning.

Laura requested a coffee shop atmosphere. She suggested Starbucks, but I quickly shot that down.

There are so many better places than Starsucks… come on, girl.

Bakin’ and Eggs is a super cute lil’ joint for breakfast and people watching. However, it is NOT a place to be snarky. When the waiter asked how I liked my eggs, I worked SUPER hard to keep from spitting out “unfertilized, thanks”. Being a lady is SO DIFFICULT sometimes.

The chilaquiles (baked corn tortillas mixed in with tomatilla salsa, onions and parmesan cheese) were delicious. SUPER hot, but sometimes a good kick in the face like that is what you need to wake up. Am I right?

7. My official recovery came in the form of a 4-mile run this morning. I could have easily slept more, and totally justify it, but the strong desire to feel “back to normal” consumed me. And pre-5am gym time is apparently my normal.

I don’t understand it, either.

Have a great start to the week, kiddos. It’s crunch time in the office, so I hope I’ll be staying busy and happy and breezing through it all before a nice lil’ Labor Day vacay. Fabulous!

Laters!

It’s MY Kitchen

Hola kids!

How’s the lazy Sunday going?

Mine is fab. As usual.Any day that starts with alphabet pancakes is fab in my book. (And yes- I heart Sheldon)

Hannah was the friend who usually crashed at our house in college and would break out her breakfast-making skills amongst the beer bottles and cocktail glasses from the night before.

Turns out she’s still got it. :)

In this instance, I mixed the pancakes and turned over the batter to her. She makes a pretty awesome mickey mouse pancake, too…

This is really saying something about her skillz. My roommate hardly cooks, so it’s pretty much considered MY kitchen. Letting other people mess around and use it takes a lot for me. It’s mine. Don’t touch.

Like on Friday night- I had complete control of the kitchen and made chicken artichoke calzones!I’m not overly exciting when it comes to cooking (since I’m more of a baker). So when I break this out, you know it’s a big deal.

Or actually, I guess it was more “assembling”. Because really, it’s all the ingredients I put on a pizza. Just instead, I put it IN the dough.And made it all pretty. The braiding thing was learned from my obsessive browsing of Pinterest. I like it because it’s super easy but looks way impressive.

When boys come a callin’ again, guess what I’m serving?  ;)

Check out that cheeeeese…. yeah buddy.

Hannah also had really good timing with  her trip up to see me. She was my fill-in date for a Second City comedy show.

Yes. I had bought the tickets. And not all the people they were intended for were going to be able to use them.

I also haven’t made mention of the man friend.

I’ll let you piece together that puzzle.

But no worries! We had a fantastic time watching one of my friends perform in a skit for the Second City Training Center. Who knew my friends were so talented???

After a few good laughs at the show and a nice cocktail or two, I can say, without any hesitation, it was a successful weekend.Now if only I could get more people to relocate to Chicago…

A Lil’ Sweaty “Glow”

It’s not glamorous by any means, but that’s the best way to sum up the last few days spent with my friends.

Or, if we’re being lady-like, we’ve been sporting a nice “glow”.

Like at Old St. Pat’s Block Party.It’s one of the biggest street festivals I’ve ever been to! And the ticket we bought not only got us into the fest, but also gave us 5 drink tickets and access to the stage where The Barenaked Ladies were playing.

By the time they played “One Week”, I was having fits of excitement. You can’t deny they don’t bring you back in time…

Good stuff.

After that, I also introduced them to the Mexican restaurant that stays open until 4 in the morning.

When I show friends the city, I REALLY show them everything. :)

Although, the late night did not go without consequence. Three hours later I was back out of bed to be picked up to cheer on this sassy lady as she “glowed” through the finish line:Annie came down to run the Fleet Feet Women’s 5k in Montrose Harbor yesterday!

I also decided to insert my shadow into the picture. Heeeeeyyyy-o!

I didn’t run (obviously a smart decision given my late night shenanigans the night before), but instead got my nails done for free at one of the tents at the race (best idea EVER, by the way).

And totally took advantage of the tradition of post-race breakfast.Because who really turns down breakfast?

After that, and an hour nap, we headed over to Lincoln Park to enjoy the sights and sounds.

Even Bailey joined. Which is awesome. Because nature hates her. And she was really pushing her limits- birds have pooped on her twice since we moved in together so I feel like her willingness to go was really just asking for it.

There was no incident. Thankfully.

I tend to go to the zoo often, but this was the first time the hippo really hammed it up for the camera.Hilarious.

This morning, after getting a full night of sleep (for once) and a night of deep dish pizza (tradition- obviously) and movies, I snuck out early for a neighborhood run. It was refreshing, but after consuming a pound of cheese deep dish and the sticky heat, 2.8 miles were about all I could handle before walking my way back home.

Besides… there was breakfast to make:We have another day of exploring downtown in front of us. So we had to make sure and start the day out right…Oh yeah… those muffins are still making their rounds… :)

But anyhoo, I know this post is random and scattered but it’s only because we’re rushing out the door to beat the rain and hit those city streets.

So glad my friends love Chicago. And me. And come to visit me as much as possible. :)

Even if it means we’ll be sportin’ a sweaty glow in about 30 seconds after leaving my apartment.

Murphy’s Law

Hey kids.  Sorry I’ve been missing for a few days.  I promise I’ll be back to normal soon!  :)

I had a great weekend with my college girls and friends downtown in Chicago this last weekend.  Pretty much everything that could go wrong did.  But that’s ok- it still turned out to be one of the best birthday weekends!

Here’s a quick rundown of what happened.  Feel free to laugh a bit, I know we did…

- My friends hit every single traffic jam in the state of Illinois to get here.  This put them over two hours behind schedule.

- We missed our first train into the city because of said traffic.  The train we did catch was a half hour late. Original plans were to get checked in at the hotel around 6:00.  We got to the room by 10:30.

- It rained like CRAZY all Friday night.  Any time spent on hair and makeup was pretty much wasted.  But we still had a great time.

- We ended up staying at Allerton Hotel after doing name your price on Priceline.  It was a GREAT location on North Michigan Avenue.  Although us three girls did get stuck  with one bed (when we requested doubles).  Good thing we really like each other.  And no one has horrible morning breath.

- We didn’t go watch the Cards/Cubs game in Wrigleyville.  But I did hit a sale on some  killer boots at Zara

- It was country night at Rockwood Place (our planned destination) on Saturday night.  If you know me, you’ll know how much I dislike country music.  We relocated quickly to Red Ivy before my guy friends also got there.

- My friend Mary’s toe was smashed and she may lose the toenail. 

- Do NOT open the mini refrigerator at the hotel without reading the sign.  You will get charged for doing so.

- Do NOT carelessly keep your clutch under your arm unzipped.  It will fall onto the dance floor and you will almost lose all of your prized possessions without even realizing it.  Thank goodness my friends are good at dance floor scavenger hunts.

- My car wouldn’t start once we got back to the burbs.  One of the reasons why I’ve been MIA- AAA coming to jumpstart it and tell you that you need to replace the battery does take more time than you’d prefer.

- I dropped my phone and a piece popped off again.  But I did find it back.  Phone still works (whew).

- My cable and internet weren’t working when I got home.  This leads to a very long phone call and arguing with the customer service rep that I can’t update my info on my account online because I can’t actually get online.  Idiot…

- Random weekends lead to random eating.  Stuffing five mini cupcakes into my face at 3:00 in the morning should be mentioned here… along with an unaccounted for number of Kit Kat fun size bars.  I’m trying to figure out how I can justify this as carb loading.

- Do not say “I don’t care, whatever shot you want to buy.”  It will lead to chugging an Irish Car Bomb.  Disgusting.

Anyways, that was my weekend in less than 500 words.  Trust me, it was exhausting.  But I loved every minute.  I have wonderful friends.  And I love them all very very much.  They are too good to me.  And kept me from diving into the birthday blues or a quarter life crisis.  Thank you all!

And here are a few pics for your viewing pleasure to sum up the weekend properly.  :) 

Anyways, Happy Monday!  This is a pretty easy week (training-wise) because we are in the HOME STRETCH!  The Rock n’ Roll half is less than a week away!!!

Any tips for the routine I’ll be going through the week before?  Training/eating/etc?

And then I disappeared…

… or at least it feels like I did for a bit.  In my defense, I’ve been very very busy with fabulous friends and crazy amounts of things to do.  Let’s rewind a bit, shall we?

After work, we got together and headed into the city towards Papacito’s for a solid BYOB experience in the Lakeview neighborhood.  I had been there before.  It’s nothing fancy, but if you like some decent Mexican food and have an adoration for cheesy deliciousness, it’s the place you want to be.See? Needless to say, they approved.We were full and ready for the next adventure: Annoyance Theater in Uptown Chicago.  We considered Second City, but I thought it’d be fun to give them a little bit more of an intimate experience.  We looked at the show list.  And were intrigued by one of the shows- lovingly called Co-Ed Prison Sluts.  It wasn’t just one of us that pushed to see it.  We were ALL intrigued and decided to go.  And giggled about the name of the show every time it was mentioned.  Because we’re really 12-year-old girls at heart.

The show was raunchy fo’ sho’.  But what can you expect with a name like that?  And it was hilarious.  A bit juevnile, but hilarious.  Fun fact- it’s the longest running musical comedy in Chicago.  So obviously they’re doing something right.  Even if it had a creepster clown… because really, who’s not scared of clowns?  They’re just awful.

A hundred laughs, two bars, and five hours of sleep later, we were up and ready to hit the city again!Large coffee mug and an ice pack.  Sorry this is “pre-makeup”.  If your eyes have started to burn, I suggest you scroll down immediately… aaaahhhh!

How else would I want to start the weekend?  Oh yeah… with a solid breakfast for me and my guests:Everyone loves a baked pancake.Once we were safe and sound on the metra, I started to plan our assault on Michigan Avenue.  We started out in Millenium Park:We cooled off in Crowne Plaza and headed to Park Grill Cafe in Millenium Park to eat.  If you haven’t been- think twice.  It’s overpriced.  We knew this, but said screw it because we happened to be hungry right then and there and the view was pretty. 

How did the stalking Shia tracking down of the movie set go?  Eh.  We didn’t get nearly as close as we wanted.  And after a few failed attempts at different routes toward the blocked off area, we just settled for the random props being shipped in and out and overall excitement of what was going on.

We also checked out the recently installed Eye Sculpture in Pritzker Park in the Loop by the artist Tony Tasset.  It’s hanging out there until some time in October.

It was eye-opening to say the least…

All we could really think about is what would happen if it got loose and started rolling down the street… Being as how it’s 30-foot tall, it would be traumatizing!  And most likely quite dangerous.

After all that walking around for 4 or 5 hours, I was cool with saying no to yoga.  And saying yes to Lou Malnati’s deep dish with the hometown girls and my suburb ladies. 

Oh and if you haven’t noticed, I wore a romper all day in the city.  I finally broke down and went with the trend- they just looked so comfy!  And it totally was… But I do warn you- if you like to stay well-hydrahted like I do (which means going to the bathroom often), be prepared for feeling awkward.  It’s like you undress every time you have to go.  Sort of  a pain.  And I’m pretty sure they don’t make jumpers with snaps in the crotch for anyone over the age of 6.  But it’d be pretty cool if they did…

Life is good…

Fleet Feet Women’s 10k race recap tomorrow (it went well!).  I’ve GOT to take a nap.  I haven’t had more than five hours of sleep in any night for the last three days.  It’s nap time.

…and I feel GREAT!

Hola!  How are we feeling this Friday?

I’ll tell you how I feel right now: Like Leslie Mann’s character in Knocked Up when she’s trying to motivate Alison to get up. 

“I’ve had three Red Bulls in the last 20 minutes and I feel GREAT!”

Yeah… like that.  I may have overdone it on coffee today.

I also just really love Leslie Mann.  She had some of the best one liners in the movies she’s in and you can’t beat her comedic timing.

As I looked at the calendar yesterday, I realized one slightly exciting yet anxiety-inducing thing.  My golden birthday is LESS THAN 10 DAYS AWAY.  Yep- I’m turning 25 on the 25th this year.  In all honesty, I thought I’d hit quarter-life crisis mode at some point and do something silly and rash.  That hasn’t happened… yet.  But I won’t rule it out.  I’ve been known to go off on random tangents. 

Either way, it’s going to be my birthday soon (part of the reason I have weekend visitors the next couple of weeks) and I’m never one to ignore a birthday.

Would it be tacky to register myself at Whole Foods for granola bars and a variety of nut butter?  Yes?  Ok… I won’t do it.  Or I’ll at least wait until Christmas.  ;)

One of my grievances with the age change is it puts me into a new racing category.  Which, from observation, seems MUCH more competitive.  That could only mean one thing.  I’m gonna have to step up my game.  For reals.

Whatever though, let’s talk about something else.

Like the fact that I have friends here!  I picked them up after work at the airport and we’ve been gossiping and chit-chatting ever since.  Most of that we did while I was making dinner for my guests!Imagine how excited I was to find out we all have the same extreme appreciation for asparagus and zucchini!Every decent meal needs a salad, right?  We kept it simple with peas, cashews and feta.  And the main meal was my fav way to have chicken as of late- baked bbq.  Thrown in a wrap with avocado and mozzarella.  Totally delicious.

I got the two thumbs up from my guests.Helllloooooo Sarah and Beth!  After dinner, we ran out to grab a chick flick- finally caved and watched Remember Me.  I had been curious and a lot of you kids have said it’s worth a go, so we picked it up.  And it was a much better movie than I was expected.  I thought it’d be a mushy romance flick… not the case at all!  If you’re looking for a good girly movie (and maybe even a good cry), I’d say to check it out!  :)

We had a few glasses of wine, but that didn’t keep me from an early morning wakeup call…

I used to do the early morning workouts last year, but got out of the habit.  No idea why.  The workout room was empty.  And not a humid sticky mess as it has been the last few times I’ve gone.  Maybe a new way for me to switch it up when I go into the office later?  hmmm…

Either way, I did a semi-cross train day.  I ran 3 miles, focused on some arm weights, and hopped on the elliptical for 20 minutes.  All while catching the morning news.  My main interest is learning a little more about the Transformers 3 filming that is going on over the weekend downtown.  The gals and I plan to seek it out tomorrow and get our first look at a movie set!  And maybe a glimpse of Shia LeBouf?  ;)  Well… maybe not… but a girl can dream! (Especially now that Vince Vaughn has a baby mama- boooo….)

Won’t lie, though – my caffeine intake this morning has been somewhat alarming.  I partially blame the late night movie on that one.  And the 5:00 gym session.  Eek!

Gotta go, though- work is calling.  And I don’t have time to mess around- right after we’re going out to hit up a BYOB restaurant and see a comedy show!  (I seriously can’t wait to tell you guys about it because it looks it’s going to be scandelous… so get excited!)

Just so you know…

Hey guys!  I’m glad you liked the shoes!  They’re not Hurricanes (which seem quite popular around the blogs) but they’re Progrid Omni 9′s.  I’m excited to let you know how they work out!  :)

Where did I spend a good portion of last night?  In here:Just so you know, I’m not having stomach issues.  Or taking in too much fiber. 

I was cleaning.  But thanks for the concern.  I have houseguests this week and even if my bathroom looks innocent enough, it really is THIS close to being taped off with biohazard tape by the government.  My friends that read this will probably never come visit me again.  Crap…

I’m a huge fan of “shallow cleaning” done on a regular basis.  So the deep cleans take a bit of time and are pretty obnoxious.  And I just can’t stand it.  Because I’m stuck in this stupid tiny room.  Breathing in the lovely scent of clorox and scrubbing my life away miserably.  But I did it.  And you can now even lick the floors with no worries.  For real.  I dare you…

Since my long running day got pushed to Sunday, I decided my Monday night workout would be some light cross training versus my standard run (that has worked it’s way to an average of 5 miles now).  I did a combo of elliptical, weights, and the stairmill over about 45 minutes.  Had to get out of there quick- cleaning had to be done!

Oh and I’m totally counting scrubbing the shower and bathroom floors as resistance training.  Just so you know.

You should also know I fueled my cleaning frenzy and crosstraining with some veggie love:I brought back the asparagus sandwich for an encore performance.  With mushrooms and green beans on the side- mmmm…  And I bet I won’t even notice the funny asparagus pee smell thanks to the clorox that is still fuming from the bathroom sink and toilet… 

I’ll probably be taking tonight off.  Even though it’s not planned. *Gasp!!!*  I’ve got about 20 things before some of my good friends from high school come to visit that I want to get done and only a few of the things are actually going to happen.  And I’m bound and determined to be the hostess with the mostess while the girls are here.  Because they’re my lovely ladies and need to be treated as such!  It’s ok.  Just so you know, I totally got up early and shredded with Jillian Michaels this morning.  Level 2 because it’s the one I love to hate.  So not all is lost.  Hell yeah… 

Lastly, just so you know, you cannot- I repeat- cannot recover from not paying attention to what song is playing when you have the windows down and you’re stuck in traffic.  Here I was zoning out (but still paying attention to the road- I swear!) and came to when I saw two guys next to me smirking.  I’d smirk, too.  Somehow I missed Sir Mix-A-Lot coming on and I was currently in the middle of blasting “I like big butts”.  Blasting.  Yeah… you can’t come back from that.  At all.  Thank god I was wearing my stunna’ shades.  Eye contact would have just made me want to die right there.

Well it’s Tuesday.  And you know how I dislike Tuesdays… ick.

How am I combating it?  One of the things I’m trying to get done tonight is some baking!  Gotta keep the houseguests happy, right?  (Plus, I work with mostly guys and they’ve been nagging me about the next time I’m bringing stuff in…)

I’m  doing cookies tonight.  What’s your favorite?  I’m usually all about the classic chocolate chip, but I’m thinking I may mix it up a little…  Have a good one, kids! (Or at least try- it is Tuesday afterall…)

Back to the Grind

Well it’s Tuesday and I’m back at work.  On my least favorite day.  Ick!  Oh well, it was soooo worth it. Ashlee and I had a blast yesterday.  We slept in (until like 8:30- woot woot!) and just slowly got ourselves going and making plans.  We narrowed it down to a museum day- Chicago History Museum and Field Museum.  I still hadn’t made my way into the History Museum yet, so I was ready.

We decided it might be fun to do breakfast in the city.  So I grabbed a Fiber One from the gift basket I got at Jaime’s shower to tide me over.  Thank god I did…  we took the metra in and tried out the bus system.  I never claimed to be an expert on public transit in Chicago.  Never.  I rely heavily on Google transit to tell me what to do.  But sometimes human error occurs.  And sometimes you end up getting on the wrong bus.  And sometimes you end up in areas you probably shouldn’t be.  Like what happened to us yesterday.  Uh… oops.  So the bus ride was a little longer than we thought it would take.  But we got to where we needed to get eventually:

Elly’s Pancake House!  Our brunch we planned to have around noon or a little after turned into lunch because of how late we had gotten there.  And we were STARVING.  Hamburger and fries for both of us…

No pictures, sadly.  Why?  Because my camera battery crapped out on me.  I didn’t realize it was low after the weekend.  Even that morning, I thought, “Should I charge my camera battery?  Nah… it has enough power surely…”  Nope.  I turn it on and get the message “Change Battery Pack”.  Damn!  Enough with the camera issues!!!  And Ashlee’s had died well before mine because she was already on day 4 of her trip…

So, I apologize for the grainy crackberry pics you will be seeing for the rest of the post.  But a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do…

One thing that did go our way?  We made it to the History Museum, and it was a day of free admission!  Score!  So first, we checked out the children’s museum:

My legs weren’t even  long enough for that bike.  And I’m no shorty! 

Then we strolled upstairs… The little Playboy display was one of my fav things to look at.  Apparently the bunny costume was modeled after the measurements of this girl Suzy- who was decided to be the ideal proportions for the Playboy club.  Yeah… her waist was 23 inches.  I’d have to break a couple ribs to come close to that one…  And we won’t even talk about how much help I’d need to fill in the top of the costume… damn “runner’s boobs”.  :pMany of the exhibits had to do with the World Fair.  They had a train car you could walk into and around and pretend to be a member of the times.  Ashlee was Newton- a grocer who enjoyed the moving sidewalk exhibit. My card said I was Matilda- a widow who liked the Agriculture Building.  I decided she was probably a sassy broad.  Just like me.  ;)The History Museum was a lot of fun.  We stayed until close.  Sadly, there was a fashion exhibit that was closed- we were both a little bummed about that one.  But honestly, time-wise we may have not gotten to see it anways.  After the History Museum closed, we decided to skip Field Museum (figuring by the time we got there, it’d be closed, too, if not already).

To Ogilvie we went to catch a metra back out to the ‘burbs.  Both of us just adore Sheldon on Big Bang Theory, so we got some carryout at a little Mexican place near me and made it back to my apartment just in time to watch it.  Turns out it was a rerun we had both seen, but really- it’s still hilarious.  Check out my burrito I got:

It was a chicken burrito the size of my head.  For reals.  Apparently my toes were just curling in excitement.  The awesome people at the restaurant gave us chips and dip while we waited for our food to be ready to carry out, so I didn’t need that at all!  After the pic, I took a knife to it.  Three meals out of this craziness.  Holy crap.

This morning I sadly took Ashlee to the airport on the way to work. It’s funny because we started chatting away as soon as I picked her up on Sunday straight through the entire trip all the way until I dropped her off.  I’m so glad she came!  She said they might try to make another trip up to Chicago over the summer.  I said fantastic.  Everyone loves the Chi in the summer… :)

Anyhoo, so that was my great weekend!  I loved it.  And now everything goes back to normal…  Back to work.  Back to my workout schedule (Nothing crazy tonight- just The Shred if I’m up to it because I really am a walking zombie today).  Back to my routine.  The sleep will be needed.  But she’ll be missed until I get to see her again! 

Have a good Tuesday everyone!  I’m gonna go grab another cup of coffee…

Impromptu Trip to the Zoo

Yea for Sunday Funday!  :)  The sun was shining and the weather was the best it had been all weekend!  So when I picked up my lovely Ashlee, I said, “instead of going back to my place, do you want to go do something?”  She said sure.  Where did we go?

Lincoln Park Zoo!The animals were having a lazy Sunday, too.  Almost all of them.  Sleeping… Except the bears.  I was really excited to see the bears!  Although I felt kind of sorry for one of the sun bears we saw.  The sign said she had some sort of surgery done on her jaw/mouth area and as a result, her tongue constantly hangs out.  That’s gotta be awful.  Poor thing was just walking around with her tongue dragging along… grossness. 

My favorite exhibits are those that include large and scary for some reason… I like the gorillas, lions, tigers, and bears (oh my!).  Not a lie.  Favorite exhibits anyone? After we were done walking around the zoo for a while, we were a bit hungry.  Ashlee had already hit up quite a few good spots over the weekend, but hadn’t done Chicago hot dogs yet.  So I took her to Chicago Dog House!  (thanks for the suggestions guys- and I’ve been there before and loved it!)

Obviously Ashlee’s very excited as well!  She got the Mayor Daley.  And we split this basket of awesomeness:I got the T-frank:The avocado and bacon were what sold me.  Clearly.  I’m not a huge hot dog person, but every once in awhile, they’re delish!  :)

Such a good day!  We got back to my house and I cleaned up to go to Jaime’s shower- cupcakes in hand!  Check out the prize I got for knowing Jaime and Scott better than everyone else:Coffee!!!!  Score…  I’ll be using it soon.  Like this morning.  Like right now. We’ve got another day of Chicago tourism…  I took the day off of work to spend time with Ashlee (and the mental health break never hurts).  Not sure our plan of action, but I believe we have settled on finding a fun breakfast spot before hoofing it around the city again (which will really take it out of you!). 

Have a good Monday!

What Bus Are We Looking For Again?

And so begins my weekends of visitors.  Sarah and Beth flew in Wednesday morning from Springfield, Missouri.  Luckily, their arrival was at about the same time as I usually take lunch, so I picked them up.  Unfortunately, I still have another four hours at work… so I pretty much had to drop them off in Park Ridge to entertain themselves until I was done.  They watched a movie, so it worked out.

I cooked that night and we had a little family dinner around my coffee table.  Not having a table hasn’t been much of a problem until now (I’m still in search for the perfect pub-height dining room table).  The cocktails were being made almost as soon as we walked through the door, so they looked at me for what we should do next.  I wasn’t sure what their energy level was going to be, but apparently they wanted to go out.  So I took them to Gatsby’s- a favorite of mine (of course) and where a couple of my guy friends were.  It was a standard night there for us- pretty laid back, lots of liquor.  People there were amusing as usual- got stuck in the parking lot for an extra 15 minutes because this older gentleman couldn’t stop going on about this History Channel documentary on how great Harry S. Truman was.

I had taken Thursday off because I have quite a few unused vacation days and I wanted to go roam the city just as much as they did.  We slept in- which was an amazing feeling in the middle of the week.  After a quick work-out and showers, we were on our way to catch the metra.  And we barely did.  I was nervously glancing at the clock as I searched for an open parking space.  We got out of the car and were walking to cross the tracks just as the bell started ringing and the gates were going down to keep cars from passing.  I just said, “ok, we’re running” and we took off.  We may or may not have ducked the guards and slid past them to cross the tracks in time.  Don’t try that at home, kids…  But we sprinted and made it just in time.  Good thing- the next metra wasn’t coming for another two hours.  We would have been screwed…

I do not claim to be an expert on Chicago Public Transit.  Nor do I think I will ever be.  But I discovered Google Transit and think it may be the best invention since the Bump-it.  I do not use them, but consider them genius nonetheless.  So it helped us find our way around from metra to bus stop to destination.  We managed it pretty well.  I’m still a newbie to the bus system, so I was pretty proud of myself.

Chicago Dog House

Our first stop was the Chicago Dog House on Fullerton in Lincoln Park.  Hot dogs and deep dish are always on everyone’s list.  Thought I’d knock one of them out right away- and I was intrigued by all the variations of hot dogs they had.  Mine was the T-Frank.  It included cream cheese (what???), avocado, a random sauce I do not know, and bacon.  The bacon is what sold me.  Yummmmmm.  They both had the Snoop Dog.  Beth swears it’s the best hot dog she’s ever had.  Damn straight it was.

Lincoln Park ZooWe actually made the trip down Fullerton all the way to the zoo by foot.  Figured it might be a good idea- the fries were greasy.  And we all know the nutritional value of a hot dog.  And, in my case, bacon.  It was a nice, breezy 76 degrees.  We stopped in the park for pictures and then spent a few hours at the zoo.  We were on a quest to find the bears when the sky started to look a little questionable.  Then we heard thundLincoln Park Zoo, Chicagoer.  We had plans to also hit “Chic Chicago”, the exhibit at the History Museum that I was dying to see, so I suggested an early exit.  I didn’t want to get poured on the entire walk to the museum.  So we left just as drops started to come down.  We got a little wet on the way.  Turned out to be a wasted trip- the museum closed 15 minutes before we got there.  Apparently they recently changed hours?  I was soooo sad.

One thing they really got a kick out of- we passed some news vans and wondered what they were doing.  Then, we passed a guy on his phone saying Obama was getting ready to land.  I knew he was making a trip in town, but had no idea we were going to be so close to all the action!  Unfortunately, it was raining and we really had no desire to stand out in the rain or try to search him out.  So we ducked into a Starbucks to try and figure out our next move.  We decided we were tired and it was time to head home. 

A quick bus ride and trip on the metra later, we were back in the ‘burbs.  The trip was quick- the wait for the Chicago Deep Dish and a Moviebus was not.  Maybe because it was raining, but it felt like we had to stand forever for #73.  Blah!  Rosati’s was a call I made on the way home.  Beth had never experienced true Chicago deep dish.  And it had been awhile since I’ve had pizza- I had no problems calling it in.  Pizza and a movie were the best way to end a long day.  *Sigh

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