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Showing posts from January, 2014

Eataly: Chicago

When my parents were visiting a couple weeks ago, we all went down to the fairly new Eataly in Chicago.  Quick synopsis:  it's like an Italian megastore/restaurant. 

One of my favorite statements I've seen so far about Eataly is Italian IKEA.

I wish I had a bit of an idea what to expect before we went so here's a bit for you.

There's an info desk, maybe stop at it.  We didn't see the info desk until we were leaving because it was insane when we walked in so we immediately headed to the second floor.

Yes, there are two floors.  The first floor seems to be mostly a market and small food, like gelato, paninis, coffee, etc.  The second floor is where the different eating places are.  (I don't want to call them restaurants because they don't seem to qualify as restaurants in my book.)

If you decide to eat at one of these places, you need to put your name in with the host and they will seat you.  The tables may appear to be similar to a food court where you can sit wh…

Latest in Reading

The Orphan Master's Son - Adam Johnson
This was my new book club's first book.  It was pretty eye opening.  This one is based in North Korea and when I first started reading I thought it was based years ago, but no, definitely based now.  To be honest, I've never really thought about North Korea.  This book will definitely have you thinking about North Korea, among many other things.  If you read it, take special note how they represent the US.  Yuck.
Anyway, this one is not uplifting, but definitely interesting and a great book club book!
And this book is why I currently have an issue with Denis Rodman's actions.

Why Time Begins on Opening Day - Thomas Boswell
Coincidentally, I read this one during the end of the Cardinals baseball season.  I don't know a lot about 80's baseball.  Just that the Cardinals were fast and won the world series in '82.
Oh, but how I loved this book.  It made me crave baseball and now I really want to make a trip to Cooperstown.  Just …

This Winter

Alright, folks, let's be real.  I've got a major case of the winter blues.  Yes, I always deal with this, but this year seems worse.  

I really do not want to do anything.  

I forced myself to go out with a couple friends this week and was happy I went both times, but it's just SO dark and SO cold.  I do not like it one bit.

Yesterday, I wrote in my journal:  How can it be this sunny and cold at the same time?  It's like a joke.  You think sunshine means warmth?  Nope.

I miss running.  I miss riding my bike (which is almost impossible with piles of snow taking the space on the road where I would usually ride).  

So here's your turn.  Hit me.  
How do you beat the winter blues?  
Or do you love winter and everything that comes with it?  Tell me something you love.

Chicago Marathon 2014

Have you heard about the changes in registering for this year's Chicago Marathon?  
Read an article here.

This year they are adding a lottery system, rather than the typical first-come-first-serve system they've used for years.  They are now changing it to NYC style.  I read the article and felt a bit upset.  Then I felt happy that I've had the opportunity to run it a few times.  

If you want to give it a shot, the lottery begins March 5 and closes April 7.  Good luck to you.

And now here are some of my feelings:
I don't qualify for any of the spot guarantees, although I am close to a couple:
Running at least 5 Chicago marathons in the past 10 years.  (I've run 3.)
Running a previous marathon at 3:45 or faster.

The one guarantee everyone seems to be talking about is the charity one.  If you run with a charity, you're in.  This of course involves raising hundreds of dollars to do so.  I think this will be great for charities & I'm very happy about that.  I just …

Officially 27

Every year my parents come visit me around my birthday.  And the exchange while planning the date has lately become this:
Mom:  We'll have to watch the weather though.  If the weather's bad, we won't be able to come.
Me (always a bit selfishly):  I didn't choose to be born in January.
While it is true, I would rather have a summer bday, I did choose to live in Chicago.  I'm sure if I lived south, my parents would have no issue getting to me.  So I'm going to take some blame here...but I'll probably still say the same sentence next year...
My parents haven't missed a year yet.
2..7!  Get it?  I like it.  It's a once a decade kind-of thing.

I was a bit concerned about turning the big 27 for some reason this year, but now that it's here, I'm pretty a-ok with it.  Although it is interesting how my perspective of time has changed.
Me and Dad walking by the Swatch store:
Me:  Dado, this is where you bought my Swatch for me.  Remember?
Dad:  Well, no.  That…

Wintertime Yoga

Yoga in the winter generally = "heart openers"
Or shoulder openers.  Or chest openers.  Take your pick.  They all involve many of the same poses.

That's what all the instructors call it, but basically, in the winter we all walk around with our shoulders hunched over because we are cold.  "Heart openers" counteract that and open up our shoulders.

As a consequence my backbends have never looked better.  
This also means my instructor is, of course, finding ways to make it even better...and harder.  There is ALWAYS another step in yoga.
After class this morning: My gym friend, Molly:  Do you pull out your back bends as a fun party trick? Me:  Haha.  No. Molly:  I guess that could be dangerous.
I love that we both have our own strengths though.   I can move into compass pose:
But she can take it further into eight-angle pose:
So I just sit there in my compass pose and smile at her skills. :) (photo source)
No, I do not like the cold.  But I do like how my backbends feel after so…

Mondo's Back

I know I've talked about my love for Mondo before (exhibit A, exhibit B).  I don't watch Project Runway anymore, actually I'm not sure if it's still on...

But while I was at the gym recently, I saw a commercial and I saw Mondo.  Immediately that peaked my interest.  I still love his style and if I could afford any designer items, I would have something from him.  Then I saw the show on The Daily Show.  Under the Gunn.

It premiers today and I think I have to watch.

Mixin it up!

Anyone else notice the influx of people at the gym after the new year?  I am fully aware this is not new news.  However, I do wonder when the gym influx is in the southern hemisphere because it's nice outside so they can just go outside for fun.

I really don't mind the additional members.  Although a few things do annoy me:
-I use the same general area for my locker all the time.  With all the people, I'm always putting my stuff in a different area so I forget where my stuff is at the end of the workout and peak through the lockers for my orange coat.  I look silly, but that's ok.
-Classes are legit full.  I got kicked in turbo.  It wasn't all that bad and in the first song I knew it was coming because this girl wasn't looking where she was kicking and it was close quarters.  It didn't happen until the second to last song.
-I never get my bike for spin class unless I show up an hour before class to sign-up.  Yes, I used to think, 'What's the big deal ab…

United Kingdom Recap

I was thinking of approaching my Europe recap to tourist items vs non-tourist items.  But let's be real, everyone's seen Westminster Abbey on TV, which would be the same as seeing my photo of it on here.  So I'm just going to start typing and see what comes out... enjoy!

*We knocked out pretty must all the big tourist must sees on a free walking tour through in one morning:  changing of the guard, Buckingham Palace, the palace Prince Charles, Camila and Prince Harry live in, Westminster Abbey, the prime ministers home, Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, first street lights in the world with gas lighting.

*No one seems to know where Big Ben got it's name.  The real name until 2012 when it was renamed Elizabeth Tower was Clock Tower.  And actually Big Ben is only supposed to refer to the actual bell, but since it's just a nickname anyway, not sure I understand what the big deal is.  Yep.  So who's this guy Ben?  Allow it to remain a mystery.

*It was quite a job to get "…

European Transportation

On my recent trip to Europe, we used almost every form of transportation available:  planes, trains, buses (or as the UKers say coaches), subways, city buses, taxis... You get the idea.  

I told my Dad we went on every form possible.  His first question, "Boat?"  Which is of course one of the very few we didn't use.  Ha.

I'm going to quickly run through some quick tips, if you happen to be planning a trip and then I'll get into some more details.

*the train is faster, coach cheaper.  You can weigh out what is more important to you.  We did a bit of both.  Don't ignore plane flights either.  We found an extremely cheap one.  Check out easy jet.  (It seems like the Southwest of Europe, but read the tiny details with this one.)
*Book train and bus tickets online, in advance for cheaper rates.
*It seems European cities close down a bit earlier than the US.  On my way to London, I caught the last train from Heathrow at 11:30pm.  Then as I attempted to transfer trains, …


Goodness, it's the 8th and I haven't even said Happy New Year!

I'm just enveloped in getting back in the swing of things.  Yesterday I sent out probably 100 work emails all starting with "Happy New Year!"  And I hadn't taken the time to say it here.

I hope everyone had a lovely New Year's Eve and I have high hopes for 2014.  I have a lot of ideas brewing that I'm trying to keep in the front of my mind so I can get things rolling in 2014.  I'm pretty excited/nervous about it all!

For New Year's Eve, we went to Hogmanay in Edinburgh, Scotland.  It was pretty amazing and lots of fun.

We ended up in the area with traditional Scottish music and they said the instructions for the dances.  (It actually reminded me a lot of the King's Ball.)

Favorite part: "the world's biggest rendition of Auld Lang Syne."  It was amazing.  They put the words up on the screen and literally everyone sang together.  Beautiful.  Possibly my favorite part of …

Helloooo Chicago

I am officially back in the city after a busy few weeks!

In the last few weeks, I spent Christmas in Missouri with my family, went to the United Kingdom with some friends, and headed back to Missouri for some family time and a cousin's wedding.  

Yesterday, Karen & I set off driving for Chicago as it was snowing hard at my parents.  And of all the travels, this ended up being the most interesting.

That is how it looked for the first half of our drive (3 hours).  Then the sun set and it got real.

Before we left a combination of Mom & Dad:
(Jeff and his family left at the same time as us.)
You follow each other out to 55, then you can split.  (Jeff went south, we went north.)
Don't take 61.  Take 32.  61 will not be in good shape.
Don't be afraid to stop and get a motel for the night.

Who knew how necessary that would become.

I took the first shift and after an hour driving like the hunchback of notre dame from stress, which we went what should have taken about 35 minutes.  Th…