Good Eats in the Windy City

I swear Chicago has such good food and I find new places to try everywhere I go to this city.  I need to develop four extra stomachs just to get through my stay in this windiest of cities.  It seems that my stays always focus around food and majority of places are delicious.  I cannot take all of the credit for the restaurant choices because my sister Pep is the one who picks most of them.  She lives int he city year round and keeps a running list of the places she has heard about or discovers on her own.  Trying new restaurants is one of the highlights of my trip to Chicago and the places get better and are never-ending every time I make the trek to this city.

Barcocina

This is a local place in Pep’s neighborhood and looks extremely inviting from the outside.  This was the first place we ate at during my vacation and it was the worst.  To start off our night the waiter had the nerve to correct my sister’s pronunciation  of cocina when she was ordering.  He corrected her This was extremely rude and a big turn off.  I have never had a server ever do that at a restaurant.  We brushed it off and waited for our app and meals to arrive.  To start we got the guacamole which was not good. It tasted funny and we did not like the added balsamic vinegar and feta cheese.  We didn’t even finish all of it.  We were more hopeful for the truffled mushroom and pineapple pork.  The pork tacos were spicy, I can handle spice well, this was not mentioned on the menu and the mushroom tacos were bland.  We were unimpressed.  It was a big let down. It was not the most terrible place I have eaten at but the food did not have much flavor and was not memorable and the service was lacking  The decor, vibe, and bar were spot on but unfortunately the food was not which was extremely disappointing.  This is a place you can come to for a happy hour or just for drinks before a night out.  The atmosphere is fabulous for fun and drinks but not for the food.

Bread

This is also located in Pep’s neighborhood and it is just a gem.  Since the weather was gorgeous we ordered sandwiches to go and ate by the lake.  The sandwiches were delicious and I loved it until the last bite.  I go a special which was roast beef, muenster cheese, and tomatillo sauce and my sister got their version of a caprese.  Both of these sandwiches were delicious and it made the dinner at the lake more memorable.  If you are in the neighborhood try this place out!  They have a variety of sandwiches for many palettes.

Lincoln Park Farmer’s Market

I absolutely loved this market!  They are so hard to find here in the south and it felt like a piece of home.  In NY there were good farmer’s markets with fresh fruits and veggies.  We perused the stands, produce, and other goodies.  We came hungry and decided to eat grilled cheese from Grace’s and split a raspberry pie from Hoosier Mama Pie Company.  Both things were banging and i could have eaten another grilled cheese and pie.  Good thing we skipped breakfast and ate on an empty stomach.  We needed all of the room and possibly even more.  If this market was happening on Sunday I would have hands down gotten another grilled cheese and pie.  That pie though OMG it was the bomb!  Thank goodness there is nota Hoosier Mama by me bc I would gain like 20 lbs.  Anywhoo, I would do much of my vegetable and fruit shopping at this market and support farms.  I love getting things fresh and the prices are not so bad either.  This is a must stop place if you are in the area of Lincoln Park.  Come hungry because there are a bunch of places to get lunch or a treat besides the two I mentioned.  They have pizza, iced tea, Spanish food, tamales, etc.

5411 Empanadas

I loved this little hole in the wall place.  I went to the Lakeview location and it is such adorable!  We went here for a quick bite to eat and each ordered an empanada.  They were yummy and I loved how the outside had a good crunch going on.  These are a bit pricy but are worth the bang for your buck.

BIG & littles

By far my favorite place of the trip!  I loved this place!  We went there on a whim before I had to catch my flight!  It has any home cooked, greasy, late night type of food you could want.  They have everything from po’boys, burritos, burgers, fries (the truffle ones are delicious), and sandwiches.  I loved this place and will go back the next time I visit my sister!  I want to try the soft shell crab o’boy and the tacos. Those truffle fries though no they were delicious.  I could eat those everyday!  Try the fries they are delicious!  A must stop if you are by Belmont. Also, my sister and her friends are on the look out for big and little based not he murals on the side of the building.  Who knows if they will be successful.  But I guess to them it’s fun.

Sights in the Windy City

During my multiple trips to Chicago I have been to most of the popular museums in Chicago and wanted to share some of my favorites so far.

Buckingham Fountain

This fountain is absolutely gorgeous the summertime!  It is located right across the street from the Art Institute.  Great place for photo ops or just to enjoy the design of the fountain.  A must see if you are in the Loop area of Chicago.

Wendella’s Boat Tours

I have heard nothing but good things about the boat tours and had to check them out on my summer visit!  Ive only been to Chicago in the winter time and the boat tours do not run during that time.  We went on the river and lake tour and it was fabulous!  We were able to go out into Lake Michigan and see the city.  The views were spectacular and the weather was gorgeous!   After the river part we spent time in the river learning about various buildings (Trump tower,  Chicago Tribune building etc.). Along the way the guide provided facts about the skyline, Chicago Fire, Al Capone and the mobile, architecture of some of the building along the Chicago River. Worth the price and will give you some good memories.  Next on my list is the architecture boat tour! I would love that!

The Art Institute

This is one of the best museums I have ever been to!  It is huge and there is no way that you can see everything in a day.  There is so much to see here and the structure itself is beautiful. Some of my favorite wings to visit are: American, photography, and European Painting & Sculpture.  Every time I visit there is something new to see in the museum! I will continue to go back here when I make trips to the Windy City!  TripAdvisor is right, this is the best museum in the world!

The Field Museum

Chicago’s own Museum of Natural History on a smaller scale.  The main entrance is breathtaking and the natural light is fantastic.  I loved walking in to this museum as it was a grand entrance. Upon entering you see Sue the T-Rex which is the most completed Tyrannosaur skeleton. My favorite exhibits while at the museum were the dinosaur wing which is kid friendly and the Pacific Spirits and Traveling the Pacific.  I loved it and could have spent all day in the dinosaur room.

MCA

Adler Planitarium

Dating (Un) Dilemma…

It feels like it has been a very long while since I have done a dating post.  Let me tell you its been a heck of a whirlwind.  Since the last post I had a not so great first date, got stereotypical messages, and had conversations with a man which led to nowhere. All of that was frustrating.  I was ready to throw in the towel and just resign myself to be a wishful thinker about having a relationship but I have had some success!  I reached a message from a potential match and after viewing his profile which had no spelling mistakes and    figured I would give it a shot.  We messaged back and forth for a while before meeting in person.  It went well and we have been on a few successful dates!  I am taking everything slow and am not rushing anything.  I’ll see how this goes and fingers crossed it continues on!

Online-Dating-Service

Amusing messages:

I am looking for a woman who loves the finer things in life

Wow I just want to say I love your eyes:)

Hey beautiful you are if I could give your one gift I’d give you my eyes so you could see how beautiful you are

I’m guessing your inbox must be blowing up LOL!

Would you let me kiss you?

If I had a dollar for every girl I saw that was just as pretty as you are I’d be broke.

Overthinking It…

overthinking

Overthinking is something that I have done since childhood.  It caused me to miss out on many opportunities or ruin great events. friendships,or relationships by looking into something too much.  It is almost like my brain wants to target in on something and tear it apart finding all of the negative aspects of something and anything that can go wrong.  It is like my brain has this radar to pick up  on all of the bad things about a situation instead of the positive aspects.  I used to justify this by saying I was being a realist about situations but it was truly just me being extremely negative and thinking of everything that could possibly go wrong.  No wonder me people, even my parents, hated talking to me at  times.  The things that came out of my mouth did not make for good conversation topics or things.

I hate that my brain works likes this and it has been a struggle and everyday fight to improve this method of thinking.  Now I am more in tune with my mind and notice when I am going to overthink, obsess or be negative about something.  This has caused me to overthink even the little things like should I wear my hair up or down or should I buy tis or that etc.  It was seriously an issue because it was affecting the most simplest decisions of life.

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Banging Books July

The Girl on The Train

train

There has been unbelievable hype surrounding this book especially since a movie is being released in the near future.  It was a very gripping and engaging to read.  Usually I stay away from overly hyped novels because it means they are not that good or my style. This was another choice for the book club I am in and decided to get a jump start on the book.  Since I read the book I am looking forward to the movie to see how it compares to the novel.

What Alice Forgot

alice

This was a mediocre book.  I have read better and frankly found it difficult to get invested in the story.  Alice, main character, irritated me and I found her annoying throughout the course of the novel.  In all honesty I would have passed over this book if it were not selected for this months book club.  On another note I loved Liane Moriarty’s book Big Little Lies and was surprised that this novel did not meet my expectations.

Maybe in Another Life

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I love this book!  It came into my life at a good time!  I feel like I needed this book and could relate to Hannah, the main character.  I feel like i am going through some of the same things as her and it was great to see a book that focuses on twenty something issues compared to older adults or YA. I have found a lack of books that focus on twenty year olds or life after college but before marriage/family.  It is hard to read books about things that you have not or might not want to experience in life.  There needs to be more novels devoted to the those in-between years and the quarter life crisis.

Weekly Wonders

Weekly Wonders

Patricia Nash Leather Benvenuto Tote

Patricia Nash

This is one of my favorite bags of the summer and helps me carry everything but the kitchen sink.  It is made out of a beautiful brown leather and can match pretty much any outfit.  These are so durable and can fit a ton of items inside.  This is a great tote for a college or high school student.  It is especially great for travel due to its durability and quality.  I have been using this tote daily and getting tons of compliments.  Look into Patricia Nash products!  You will not regret purchasing one of her items I guarantee it!

Summer Olympics 2016

rio

I love when the Olympics come on! It is a fun time and great time to show support for your country.  The athletes work so hard for many years or most of their lives just to have a shot at the Olympics.  Most athletes do not even qualify which must be hard to experience.  But all in all watching some of the top athletes in the country compete against each other during the trials is always surreal for me.  I mean those are the cream of the crop in their sport in the whole USA.  Then the finalists go against rivals from across the globe which just shows how talented the athletes are in their sport. This time is a favorite of mine due to watching the swimming trials and Olympic races.

whiskey words & a shovel II: r.h. Sin

rh sin

I am in love with this poetry book!  I can relate to many of the verses in here and just feel like the writing is real and true.  I discovered r.h. Sin through Instagram and followed his account.  At the time I didn’t know that he had books published.  I love reading his writing and feel that it is fresh and new.  I love his Instagram feed as well.  Go and check both books, I & II, today and see how it makes you feel.  It is different than the typical poetry and has a different focus than traditional poetry.  This a good gift for a friend or relative.

Kashi Oatmeal Dark Chocolate Cookies

cookies

So, I have been loving these cookies!  They are a great treat and fast really good especially dunked in milk.  Try them out today!  There are different kinds available.  The only thing that I do not like is the price.  These cookies are expensive but you get more bang for your buck.  If you like them a lot BJS has them in bulk.

Pedro Iniesta Sandals

I have been loving these sandals!  They are so comfortable and I wear them almost as much as my Birkenstocks.  These are cork made sandals from Spain. They happened to be an impulse purchase and were worth every penny!  I found these beauties in Marshall’s and were on sale for twenty dollars!  Who good go wrong for a price like that!  Glad I picked them up!

Olympics 2016

Every four years the anticipation builds as the Olympic trials for swimming  get closer.  I can never wait to see what swimmers will make that year’s Olympic team and who the new up and comers are.  Swimming is an overlooked sport and

Swimming is in my blood and I spent ten years competing in the sport. For part of my life the pool was my second home and I miss my competition days although I was no where near Olympic worthy. The only time swimming is usually heard about is during the time of the Olympics. It is such an overlooked sport and that makes me sda. Growing up my friends did not understand my passion or the workings of swimming. Unlike other sports we do not get time outs or half times during races. You basically sim your ass off until you touch the wall at the end of the race. You train for years and years to swim a race that can last under a minute. Nobody understands unless you are a fellow athlete or a swimmer yourself!  This team’s trials were tough to watch because many old swimmers did not qualify for the team  :(.  There are many new faces that I know will do well in Rio! Can not wait for the Olympics to begin!

Favorite Swimmers Old & New

Michael Phelps

Larsen Jensen

Ryan Lochte

Lenny Krazelburgh

Mark Spitz

Jenny Thompson

Dara Torres

Jason Lezak

Natalie Coughlin

Katie Hoff

Nathan Adrian