Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Running in Logan Square

We moved to Logan Square almost three months ago and I've been adjusting and getting more comfortable with my new neighborhood's running options.

When I'm heading out for a short run, I'll run Logan Boulevard and swoop up to Diversey and back down making loops.  It's quite nice how few stoplights there are so I can keep going even though I am on city streets.  It's also really nice that the Boulevard has such wide sidewalks.

All the other days I head down California to the 606 and I can adjust my distance from there.  I won't exaggerate, I still don't love the 606.  And I really haven't run it when it's busiest because I'll typically run down there on my lunch break.  I'm trying to let it grow on me.

I still miss the convenience of the Lakefront Path I had for so long, but I've made my way over a couple times for a special treat.  And now, with the weather changing, I rode my bike down to the lakefront and that wind...!  I don't miss that wind.

Training for a marathon in the neighborhood could get a bit boring, but for right now, it's not so bad.

on the to do list: run with 3 Run 2.  It seems they run in Logan Square a lot.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Friday Night

Friday night I was getting ready for bed in Atlanta because I had a walk the next morning.  No, I do not enjoy working Saturday's, but just as I started to think that, I got a text message.  From one of my old co-workers when I used to travel all the time.

She texted me at 9:00 pm that she had a layover in St. Louis on her way back to LA after a full week of work in New York.  On a Friday night.  And it all came back to me how it used to be.  

I feel it every time I go to Midway Airport.  It feels very very familiar because of all the time I've been there.  Waiting for flights.  Arriving from flights (when the entire airport is shut down).  All of it.

Then I reminded myself it's only one night and then I get to go home.  

My old co-worker.  She's heading back to New York for another week on Monday.

Monday, October 10, 2016

5 Years

Somehow watching my nephew and niece grow up makes me feel old.  How in the world is my nephew FIVE?  And five just seems so significant.

We headed to Lincoln, Nebraska to celebrate this little guy and had so much fun!

We hit up a pumpkin patch, the children's museum, his birthday party and a morning of fun outside.  Take a look at pictures below if you'd like.
first stop...jeff's work

 we knew Callie was coming down the slide because she'd yell "weeeeeeeeeee" every time

 the peddles were a bit far away for Charlie & Callie so Karen & I got some exercise 
Charlie wasn't into the photo so he was supposed to jump out from behind me and scare my parents

Charlie stuck his hand in...maybe twice and didn't love it ;)


Greta always makes the cake

the piñata

 Charlie got tired of the mustache pictures when he really wanted to play with his new toothless so this happened

Charlie requested "fun straws" from the Children's Museum gift shop so we shared some orange juice on Sunday Morning

In honor of Charlie's 5th birthday, I watched my 2011 world series dvd for some company today.  I had tears and chills.  Oh how I love the Cardinals.
"11 World Series Championships.  The most of the National League.  And likely the most improbable."

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Munich, Germany - Oktoberfest!

Hey, hey, hey!  Just me over here, adjusting to being back in the real world.  

I wish every vacation was to places where only airplane mode exists.  Maybe 3 days a week...every week?  I love to disconnect.  Only wifi and only at night.  We did actually plan to use Mike's phone and got a European plan for the few days we were there and it didn't work.  While it was a bit frustrating for 20 minutes, it was absolutely okay!  As soon as we got back and Mike would not look up from his phone until we got off the eL at our stop in Chicago.  I kept giving him side eye glances. ;)  

Anyway, we left last Tuesday night for a bit of an impromptu visit to Munich and got back Sunday evening.  Yes, it was a whirlwind, but the flights were $600.  $600 to Europe!

my size pretzel

We also ended up staying in an Airbnb, which was a student dorm for $350 for the 4 nights we were there.  Considering most hotels (and hostels!) were $200+/night this was definitely a budget trip.  :) 

Where do I start?  We loved Munich.  According to our tour guide, on our free tour (neweuropetours.eu/munich), southern Germans are much more laid back than their northern neighbors.  Our tour guide mentioned they identify more with Italian and Austrian culture than northern German culture.  And people did seem really laid back.  We barely received any heavy sighs when we butchered German or just went straight to English.  Thank you, Munich!

yes, i ate many pretzels

The city was so nice!  From the very comprehensive subway system to the clean streets and nice people.  It was just such a nice trip.  Towards the end, Mike & I were talking about how much money we spent in total and really it wasn't a whole lot.  Oktoberfest was expensive, but we only sat down to maybe 3 meals.  However, things are just more expensive there.  And as we talked about it, that's how their stuff is so much nicer.  Taxes, people, it's a thing.  Good things can come from taxes.  We did spend around $75 on public transit for 3 days (for both of us, so $37 each), but we didn't take any other transportation, that was all we needed. And it was amazing (even if it was expensive).

On to the trip...we ended up spending a lot of time in Olympic Village, running, walking, exploring.  Our Airbnb was so close, which is why we went for a run there.  BMW (museum & welt) was right on the outer edge so we walked through to get there.  And going up in the Olympiaturm where we met the nicest, old Munich couple.  They still use all the buildings built for the 1972 Olympics, which was held in Munich.

The Glockenspiel in Marienplatz (Munich's main square) was fun.  Our tour guide said it's one of the biggest tourist disappointments, but I still think it's worth seeing.

I feel like I should split Oktoberfest into day 1 and 2 because we had such different experiences between the days.

Day 1
We arrived around 3:00 after hanging out for awhile downtown and found a seat in the first hall we walked in and almost immediately when we sat down someone asked us to scoot over.  So we did and before we knew it we were crammed into the middle of a bench, the worst place to be.  (Note: the benches are right next to each other, people who get out from the middle often just stand up on the bench and walk between the two sides of the benches.)  It is also very challenging to get service.  Somehow, finally, Mike got a waitress's attention, we had a beer and left.  Then we started walking, tent to tent to tent to tent, etc.  (I'm not exaggerating.) My feet started hurting (it was a poor shoe choice).  There wasn't any room.  It was not fun.  Finally, we left.  
Augustiner's hall

Day 2
New strategy.  We got there around 12:30.  We easily found a seat at a table that was reserved later in the day.  We had a beer, Mike had 1/2 a chicken (which is a thing there), the waitress was very nice.  We saw people using an app to translate the menu (which Mike downloaded that night).  It was very enjoyable.  We decided to go to one more tent before leaving.  We found another seat at another table that was reserved for later in the day, decided we had "plenty of time", enjoyed a beer, had a lovely chat with the waiter.  I will note, the hall was starting to become more crowded.  Before we knew it the reservation was starting.  We finished our beers and left.  (Did I note all these beers are 1 liter?  There is no ordering of size or kind, just quantity.)  Then we enjoyed the festivities of Oktoberfest, it really is one big festival.  We rode a roller coaster, bought traditional gingerbread cookies (which you wear as a necklace), hung out on a hill where a big group was sitting.  And then we left.  And it was so much fun.

Some notes on Oktoberfest.  I already mentioned it's really more of a festival than anything else.  There are rides and games and food and the beer halls.  All the beer served at the Oktoberfest comes from six Munich breweries.  75% of people there (and honestly 50% all around Munich) were wearing traditional German clothing.  The gingerbread cookies with sayings are everywhere.  People start standing on all the benches towards the evening.  The beer halls are huge, they range in size, but the largest holds 10,000.  In one tent.  And they were all full.  To be fair, they range in size, but the smallest was 2,900.  And supposedly attendance was down this year.  Hofbrau is known to be all tourists.  We did not go to that tent.  Mike wanted to see the original so we went to their brewery in Old Town, but not their tent.  Girls tie their skirts on the left hip if they're single, right hip if they're in a relationship and in the back if they're a tourist or widow.

Fancy cars. To be fair, I would likely never notice cars in an area on my own, but Mike was very excited and usually points some out to me.  His general observations were that Germans like nice cars and it may be a result of stricter emissions requirements.  I did overhear a couple Brits talking about a car at the BMW Welt and their curiosity over who would use a car so large until one said, "Americans."

Mike's style car | My style car: the original copper pony

So we spent "Mike's Day" looking at cars.  We started at BMW Welt (basically a showroom of existing cars) then we went to their museum.  And let me tell you, I read almost every bit of information there...because Mike was moving quite slowly.  I read everything and then still waited for him at the end of each room.  Guys, I wish I was exaggerating, everyone passed us in the museum.  We passed no one.  And I had plenty of time to observe.  So if you have any questions about BMW, hit me up.  

this was my favorite car
 Mike brought home two souvenirs, his German hat and this t-shirt.  Yes, it's a BMW.

We rented a car and drove to the Alps, which was pretty amazing.  We drove on the autobahn, which, honestly, most people probably drove around 80 mph.  But some drove very, very fast.  Everyone is good about staying in the right hand lane for sure.  And everyone slowed down for the very slow city area speed limits.  It was just so interesting to see speed limit signs with no speed limit.  But really, driving to the Alps was so beautiful, we even took a tunnel under one.  And we had dinner in a ski town where you just looked up at the Alps like it wasn't a big deal at all.  It was amazing.

If you are still reading, I have a story for you as a treat.  One night, Mike "woke me up" to tell me he couldn't sleep.  Apparently I replied, "Close your eyes. Close your mouth. And think about gingerbread cookies."  I do not remember this conversation.  Ha.

P.S. My dreams of Oktoberfest last year when I had zero idea I would get to experience the real thing!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Large Print Pictures

It's amazing how a day off can rejuvenate you!  Last weekend I worked both Saturday and Sunday.  Saturday in Charlotte, Sunday in the Chicago suburbs so I knew by today I would need a break!  (And I work this Sunday in Detroit.)  

I stayed up late.  I woke up in a better mood.  (I did clean out my work inbox...) I took my time with breakfast.  I read.  We're off to a great start!

I have working on my friend's birthday gift, which I made, baking cookies and cleaning on my agenda.  And taking a nice, leisurely run.

But let's get to the point of my post, now that you know I'm in a good mood. ;)

Mike & I moved into our place almost two months ago and after one month we were settled enough we were ready to start talking about decorations.  When we first moved in we were happy giving the bookshelf some personality (which I'm glad I didn't actually throw away during the frustration of moving it).  And we love the bookshelf.  We were ready to conquer some wall space.

We don't think we're going to live here too long so we want to be sensitive regarding nails.  (If you saw all the nail holes I left behind at my old place, granted I was there for 6 years, but it was a lot.  #gallerywall.)

After thinking about it, we thought blowing up some of our own pictures would be fun.  P.S. These were all taken on my iPhone and they turned out much crisper than I anticipated, which was a happy surprise.

We chose a picture for the living room, office and bedroom and blew them up to 18x24 or 18x18 with the square picture and used Short Run Posters to do it.  To print all three it ended up costing around $20.

So far we love them!  

Have a look!

They look a bit better in person, but regardless it's fun!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Pinksourcing With Kristen Bell

I should preface this with the fact that I'm feeling overwhelmed with work.  Just. So. Much. To. Do.

Now take a moment to watch this video.

Is this why so many women work at non-profits? Or more likely that's just my current state.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

2016 LouFest

LouFest 2016.  Once again did not disappoint.  

Karen & I found and started attending LouFest 4 years ago.  Really, only because Walk the Moon was playing and I was looking at their tour schedule.  Then the next year as we debated going, Grouplove AND Matt & Kim were playing, needless to say we went.  At that point the festival had completely sold itself and the lineup was a bonus.  

So much good music and great vibes around there.  One of my favorite things about LouFest is finding new bands.  It's just such a great opportunity to see bands I already know close to the stage, like NAWAS, I would never be that close at one of their concerts. And just stopping by and discovering a fun, new band.  P.S. I would say half the upcoming bands live in Nashville.  Whew!

I knew the most songs from St. Lucia and Wild Belle.
Diarrhea Planet had a great set!  They were a bit harder than what I'd usually listen to just hanging out, but I would definitely go see them live again.
Judah & the Lion was so fun, I'll definitely be listening to them.  Another discovery.
We got to see some great local bands, like Bruiser Queen.
I heard Frightened Rabbit was great so I plan to do some spotify listening with that one.

We arrived Saturday to a bit of a muddy field.  In fact it was so muddy I questioned if trekking over to see bands was "worth it."  It usually was.  Karen & I got the worst of it Saturday night where she walked into the craft beer tent and I just stood back and shook my head until she made me follow.  

Sunday was SO MUCH BETTER!  And let's be real, the weather was wonderful so a little mud is okay.

Our typical set-up is Karen & Mike sit in chairs, which we set-up at the beginning of the day and come back to visit during the day and I sit on the ground between them.  This year, I sat on a trash bag.  (thumbs up!)

We left the LCD Soundsystem set around 9:00 and hopped in the car for our drive back.  I should not complain about being tired AT ALL.  I drifted in and out of sleep and Mike drove the ENTIRE way!  (Note: I still complained about being tired.)  

Karen & I are planning a trip to Missouri in October and as we started talking about driving, I'm so used to Mike driving all the time she stopped me, "I AM NOT driving the entire way.  You have to drive too."  :(

I also went for a run Monday morning and fell on the sidewalk.  (Note: no one came over to check on me.  A girl looked up from her phone as I squealed and bit the sidewalk.  She did not come over.) So I ran 5 miles with blood on my chin (and knees, but those aren't as noticeable).

P.S. LouFest 2013
LouFest 2014
LouFest 2015
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