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Showing posts from October, 2015

Small Town Livin'

As you know, I now live in Chicago, but I haven't always.  I grew up in small-town Missouri.

Sunday night, Karen & I walked into a concert to our table and the headliner immediately came up to us.  Essentially what he said in a very nice way was, "I recognize you, but I have no idea why."

He is a year younger than me and graduated from the other high school in our small-town.  With it being how it is we knew/heard of each other.  Karen heard he was performing in Chicago and wanted to go support.  We had no idea what music he played (Folky Rock) or anything about the last 10 years of his life (move to Europe and play music).

We watched the line-up unfold with The Reverend John DeLore kicking off the show.  As Karen and I looked up (our table was a couple feet from the performers so we were definitely front row), we immediately noticed he was wearing an Oberle Sausage hat.  That is a family recipe place in our small town.  Karen & I looked at each other and she said, …

Weekend in Michigan (Sunday)

Sunday we grabbed some breakfast at our hotel and set on our way to Kalamazoo.  Overall, we ran into a lot of places that were closed/reduced hours since it was Sunday, but there are SO MANY micro breweries it didn't really matter at the end of the day.

Our strategy for visiting so many different breweries was most of them had 5 oz. taster glasses without a minimum.  This was perfect for us.  At a couple places we just ordered a few of the samples, shared them and moved on.  All the breweries were SO different.  It was kind-of crazy their all so close to each other.

I got the pumpkin beer anywhere they had one (which was most of them) and they were all so good!  My favorite had to be at Gonzo's where I wished I had my growler.  (Most of the breweries didn't have beer canned or bottled that you could purchase, they sold and did growler fills.)

We started out with brunch at Food Dance.  Two breakfasts in one day!  I was very happy.  Mike wasn't so much.  It had a fun vibe a…

Weekend in Michigan (Saturday)

Last weekend Mike & I decided to take a little trip to Michigan for some exploration.  We took your typical route up 94 and had a lovely fall weekend.

Our first stop along the way was Greenbush Brewery.  This place was crazy.  We put in our name for 2 and the wait was an hour and a half.  Luckily, while we were deciding whether to check out their place across the road or head somewhere else, two spots opened up at the bar.  We had lunch and a drink.  Not going to lie, their food was pretty solid for a brewery.

Next stop was the infamous Round Barn Estate (aka winery and brewery).  I say infamous because it seems to be the first place anyone who's gone to wineries in Michigan mentions.  They had quite a set-up.  It was beautiful.  And this is a very personal preference, but it was just too much for me.  There were too many people.  Too many steps to the process.  Just in case you go... step 1 buy your tastings (6 tastings and a souvenir glass for $10), step 2 try and find a place…

On...the Cardinals season 2015

If you follow baseball at all, or probably even just by living in the Midwest, you heard the Cardinals, the team with 100 wins in the regular season, the team with the best record in baseball, was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.  

As the final game came to a close, I still had hope because you just never know with those Cardinals.  Matty got a single.  They let him steal second.  Piscotty was up.  A homer would tie the game.  A game the Cubs weren't messing around with...8 pitchers in one game.  And the game ended.  I was sad because I enjoy baseball so much and it's always sad for a season to come to an end...any season.

We overcame a lot of obstacles in 2015.  Someone from our starting line-up seemed to always be on the DL.  Not even including Wainwright, our ace, who was supposed to be out until next April.  He played in the playoffs.  The reaction in the Cardinals bar we were in when we saw him step out of the bullpen was amazing.  I can only imagine what it w…

CH Distillery

A few weeks ago we went to CH Distillery for an event one of my friends worked on at DePaul.  

We had a little tour, took a traditional vodka shot, and had some cocktails.  Can I just say, I'm typically not a big fan of vodka, but this was actually so good!  I have to recommend it.

In case you're wondering, a traditional vodka shot consists of smelling rye bread, taking the shot, and eating a pickle.  Think about licking salt and having some lime juice with a tequila shot.  Same idea.

Trying some new drinks (which I didn't think I'd like) while noshing on some interesting foods and chatting with one of my friends.  Win.

Friday Inspiration

Who else had a rough week?  (Aside from me?)

Well this will put things in perspective.  One of my college acquaintances who I've sort-of lost touch with posted this article about her sister.  Take a few moments to read it.  It's worth it.

I feel like this summer in general has been a rough one.  Definitely one where I feel like an adult.  Over dinner and drinks on my sister date this week as Karen told me (yet another) depressing circumstance from the last few months, I said, "I hate growing up.  Everything's so sad and real."

So here we are:

Hang in there.  Enjoy the weekend.  And live your life to the fullest.

4 Year Old Birthday

Last weekend we were able to take a trip to Savannah, Georgia to celebrate my nephew, Charlie's, 4th birthday.  Which first of all, can we talk about how crazy it is that he's already four?  Can we also talk about how adorably excited he was?

Saturday morning as we got ready to leave for his kid party at a bounce house, he danced around the kitchen singing happy birthday to himself.  I took a complete break from my phone this weekend so no video exists, but I will sure remember it!

The weekend was so much fun and too fast.

Today is his birthday and I'm sending him lots of fun!  

And I leave you with this..."Let's make bad faces!" said Charlie.

Chicago Renting

I just renewed my current lease for the fifth time.  Yes, I know this is crazy (especially in Chicago).  I moved in October 2010 and I've been there ever since.

My landlord is great.
The rent was pretty low for the area when I moved in and he hasn't increased it once.
Did I mention my landlord is great?

He probably realizes I'm a pretty low-key tenant who pays my bills on time so he'll keep me around.  We've reached the point where I renew my lease in an email.  I don't even sign anything.  (This is very nice.)  This year in our annual renewal email he mentioned the cost of ownership has gone up substantially this year and more increases are projected for next year. And added, "This will not affect you at this time."  So, yes, I think next year he will increase my rent.  But at this point, seeing similar apartments around me for $500 more a month than me.  I think it's fair for there to be an increase.

Here I am, spending six years in a one bedroom in …

401k/403b Fun

I remember when I first started working and received all my 403b information and started contributing like 0.5% of my salary.  I mean it may have been 1%, but you get the idea.  I was making such a small amount of money, I couldn't imagine paying my bills and contributing any more than that.

Second job, I switched over to a 401k and maybe contributed 3%.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago.  We had a lunch and learn at work and someone from our 401k company came in to provide new information and guide us through their new website.  My current company matches an almost unprecedented 7% so when I started work I knew I needed to take advantage and try to make up for lost time.  I'm also making more now than I have at my previous jobs.  I like to think this means I can, but really I should have made myself contribute more all along.  

So here I am now contributing 12%.  12%!  And I did their will you be ready to retire quiz and I got a 75 (out of 100).  They really want you to be at 80, …


The basics of Oktoberfest is it traditionally starts in the third weekend in September and ends the first Sunday of October.  The first Oktoberfest was started in Munich and was a royal wedding celebration in 1810.  Horse races in the presence of the royal family marked the close of the event that was celebrated as a festival for the whole of Bavaria. The decision to repeat the horse races in subsequest years gave rise to the tradition of Oktoberfest.  The festival continued to evolve and included beer for the first time in 1818.  As the horse races became less popular, fairgrounds developed and the number of beer stands swelled until they became beer tents and halls in 1896. (via)

I remember in Nuremburg they were starting to set-up for Oktoberfest as we were leaving and they had posters up advertising when the traveling festival would be in town and I fell in love.

The last two years I went to an Oktoberfest street festival in Chicago and I started feeling ripped off and I didn't …