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Posts Tagged ‘Travel’

November 13, 2014

Scenes from Chicago – 2014 Edition

Hello, hello! How’s the day going for you?

We spent most of our days this week in Chicago and returned home late last night! Yeah… it really doesn’t feel like Thursday around here.

I shared the highlights of the Bulls vs. Pistons game this morning and have a whole batch of pictures and stories to share with you this afternoon. Ready?

Scott and I jumping in Millineum Park Chicago


Scenes from Chicago – Nov. 2014 Edition

Since it was Veteran’s Day (and a big belated THANK YOU to all the honorable vets out there for serving our country!) and Scott and I were technically on vacation (for the day), Barry took the day off as well and we all enjoyed a lazy morning followed by brunch at a new-to-all-of-us restaurant called Wildberry Pancakes and Cafe.

WildBerry Pancakes and Cafe

We picked this spot because it was walking distance to some of the famous sights of Chicago neither Scott or I had ever seen in person, despite visiting the city a handful of times before.

They are known for their pancakes, but I have to give their omelets a fair shout out. They were huge and loaded with egg-quisite (quoted from their menu… so punny) ingredient combinations!

Wildberry Pancakes and Cafe omelet

I ordered the Espanola with egg whites, jalapeños, avocado, onion, cilantro, mushrooms, cheese, and bacon instead of the chorizo on a bed of corn tortillas. I made sure to list every single ingredient out because I want to remember this meal and recreate it as soon as possible. You should too!

It came with a side of hash browns and pancakes. I ordered the gluten-free honeycakes and put forth my best effort to eat about half of everything.

Wildberry Pancakes Gluten Free Honeycakes

It was a fabulous meal, but the company was even better. Joining the three of us was a long-time blog reader and now real-life friend, Tanya!

Wildberry Pancakes and Cafe with Tanya

She and I are mutual friends of Barry’s, and I remember the day I got a random text from him saying she casually mentioned reading my blog in one of their conversations. At the time, she was totally unaware that he was friends with Scott and I. Crazy small world, right?

Anyways, we left overly full and Barry ran off to an event while Scott and I were left to explore the city. Before we set out, Tanya offered to take us up to her office in a high rise building to see the views without having to wait in line to visit the Willis (Sears) Tower. Um, yeah!

Chicago from view a high rise

We were forty-seven stories high and made our way up to a few different floors to take the best of it in.

Chicago City View

Chicago city view from high rise

It was chilly and rainy outside, so I was very thankful to take her up on the suggestion to sight see from the inside.

view of Chicago from high rise

Thank you so much for the tour and access to the views, Tanya!

We made our way back downstairs and followed her directions to go see next point of interest on my list: The Bean.

The Bean Chicago

I couldn’t believe that neither Scott or I had seen it in person before.

Being there was pretty neat.

Scott and Heather The Bean reflection

We wanted to get a picture in front of it and lucked out by finding someone snapping a ton of photos on his own. He had a fancy looking set up and knew exactly what he was doing!

visitng The Bean chicago

in front of The Bean chicago

The Bean (also known as the Cloud Gate) is located in Millenium Park and has tons of things to do and see nearby. The two of us moseyed along and stopped to capture this 39-foot head statue. We found a group of new friends there and took turns taking pictures for each other.

Scott and I Milleium Park Chicago

Props to the girl who got this one on the first try, twice in a row!

(One for us and one for her friends…)

Scott and I jumping in Millineum Park Chicago

We were thoroughly impressed.

A short walk took us to the Red Bull Art of Can Chicago exhibit next.

Red Bull Art of Can Chicago

Literally everything in the exhibit was made out of cans of Red Bull. Can you believe some of these details?

Red Bull Art of Can Exhibit Chicago

Red Bull Art of Can closeup Chicago

That’s a heck of a lot more patience and talent than I’ll ever have.

Art of Can Red Bull Pieces Chicago

We had a couple more hours to kill before meeting another friend for dinner, so we walked and cabbed all around the city. We heard Macy’s was putting up their Christmas decorations and wanted to see them.

outside Macy's chicago

Better yet, how about this Tiffany Mosaic Ceiling inside?

Macy's Tiffany's ceiling Chicago

Remember that tiny Tiffany window Scott and I saw at The Whitney? That one piece was worth more than $6 million, so I can’t even imagine what this bad boy is valued at. It was gorgeous!

We walked down the rest of State Street and stumbled upon famous sights.

Chicago theatre sign

Chicago Theatre

Good Morning America taping Chicago

ABC7 Chicago State Street Studio

Then we shopped a little…

shopping in chicago


(Why didn’t I buy these when I had the chance? Seriously.)

We popped in to the Museum of Contemporary Art wanting to see the David Bowie exhibit, until we found out the tickets were $25 each.

Contemporary Museum of Art Chicago

(And we had already been here before…)

We finished up our afternoon with a couple of sweet stops on Michigan Ave.

Hershey's Chicago

Scott at Hershey's Store chicago

The Hershey’s Company Store

(Of course Scott bought this ridiculously large bag of Twizzlers.)

Ghirardelli store chicago

Ghirardelli Chocolate

We had already been to both of these places before as well, and sadly, weren’t hungry enough to try anything this time. I assure you that the hot chocolates are wonderful and worth a trip!

Before long, it was time for us to Uber over to Grand Street to enjoy the buzzed about Coalfire Pizza for dinner.

Coalfire Pizza Chicago

We had heard great things about this place and wanted to try it out with a friend of ours. You might remember Kelley coming to visit us at the end of last year, almost a year ago to the date!

dinner with Kelley in chicago

It was so great to see her and her mommy-to-be belly!

We all decided to split a pizza and salad and left it up to Scott to order the Caprese Salad and Pepperoni & Whipped Ricotta pizza.

coalfire pizza caprese salad and wine

The whipped ricotta was no joke, y’all.

coalfire pizza chicago

It was all very good! After dinner, we made our way back to Barry’s and got ready to explore the city more with him.

Our first stop was at Underground Wonder Bar for some live jazz music. Tuesday certainly drew in an interesting crowd!

I ordered a fruity specialty drink (couldn’t even tell you what it was, but super calorie and sugar dense I’m sure) and Scott ordered a virgin bloody mary. It was a small place, and we could see the potential for a great time.

drinks at undergraound wonder bar chicago

The music on this day of the week, however, was very… eh, unique. Coming out and “hitting the town” on a Monday and Tuesday night proves for some epic sights and sounds… let me tell you.

Scott and Barry dancing in chicago

We bounced around as the night went on and our friend Katlyn met us out after she finished up her dance practice. It was a fun time!

You're a star photo with katlyn

And we were all stars.

Thanks for hosting us, friends! We can’t wait to come visit again on the weekend next time. Until then… stay classy, Chicago!

fun times in chicago

See you bright and early in the morning for Friday Favorites! <3

November 13, 2014

Bulls vs. Pistons + Mercadito’s Tacos

Good Morning! It’s a snowy one here in Rochester Hills, Michigan.

Yep… we woke up to a thin layer of snow on the ground this morning.

Not okay.

But before I get sidetracked on that, I have a trip to Chicago to share!

We arrived in the city in the mid-afternoon on Monday, and I had a couple of hours until game time. Scott went with our friend, Barry, to the arena and I hung behind to work on my race recap and get ready for the game.

While in Chicago, I re-acquainted myself with Uber, the car service. We ordered car rides and pick-ups from the app on our phones throughout the duration of our stay, and it was so much easier than trying to figure out where to park and how to drive in the city. We have Uber in Detroit, but it’s not nearly as accessible to us as it is to cities that thrive on taxi services like Chicago or New York.

I arrived at the United Center an hour before the game started. I planned to meet Scott by our seats and was happy to see a friend of theirs come and get me to bring me under the tunnels until my friend arrived.

It’s always fun to see how different teams and arenas work on game days! It was the usual hustle and bustle of getting everything ready and situated before tip-off.

Bulls Game with Scott 2014

(That’s what we got after this, of course.)

Scott and I at Bulls Game 2014

Scott and I headed up to our section with plenty of time to catch the intros. The Bulls have always had a memorable introduction that started back in the days of Michael Jordan, and they just redid the opening video this season.

Chicago Bulls game intro

I have never even worked for the team and I got chills. I absolutely loved it!

The game was themed out in camouflage and filled with soldiers the crowd applauded to acknowledge Veteran’s Day. Everything from the dance routines to mascot costumes had something extra patriotic and special about them.

Chicago LuvaBulls

Since the Bulls were playing the Pistons, it was extra fun that our friend, Katlyn (who I used to dance with in Detroit), joined us in the stands. She tried out for the Luvabulls this season and I am very excited for her to dance in this city!

It was her game off, so we were happy to have her sit with us.

Wearing his Entertainment Director hat, Scott took notes in his phone and got ideas of in-game bits and aspects to take home. Every NBA team does things a little bit differently, so it is nice to take a trip to another arena for game day every now and then.

One thing that never changes (or gets old) is the team mascot. Benny the Bull has been buds with HOOPER for years, so it didn’t surprise me when we got a special visit complete with confetti and silly string!

selfie with Benny the Bull

(Benny selfie)

He’s crazy and wildly entertaining, y’all. Pulling similar stunts our crazy horse would, he had the crowd on their feet and slightly nervous at what would happen next the whole visit.

Benny the Bull balancing in stands

I’m pretty sure he used an entire can of silly string on Katlyn, too. Charming.

benny the bull was here

(Benny was here.)

The game was exciting, and as a Pistons and a Bulls fan, my team was sure to win. The Bulls ended up pulling the W, but Detroit put up a fight and still gave a good challenge. It was the perfect game to come over for!

Bulls game with Katlyn

After the game, we found our friend Barry and all wanted something to do and eat. It was a Monday, and there weren’t too many late-night options, so we were glad to squeeze into the last seating for dinner at Mercadito’s.

Mercaditos with Barry and Scott

It was a cool and eclectic looking place that reminded Scott and I a lot of MEX in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

Mercaditos restaurant chicago

With a solid appetite, we ordered a trio of guacamoles to start.

Mercaditos chips and guacamole

And… a round of their specialty margaritas!

Mercaditos margarita

The guacamole lasted about two minutes, so we ordered another trio of different guacamoles and they were all very fresh and delicious.

Mercaditos guacamole

I left it to the boys to order the entrees. We all have similar taste, so we ordered a smorgasbord of different tacos and I enjoyed sampling them all. I almost tasted the tilapia. I’m not a big fan of fish, but they all raved about this one.

Mercaditos tacos

(Of course that’s the one that came out later I didn’t take a picture of.)

Stuffed, we closed the restaurant down and made our way around local spots looking for something to do. It was a great start to our trip!

I hate to make it short and skip the ability to proof-read, but I need to get out the door and take the fur kids to the vets for their annual exams.

See ya back in a bit with the rest of our Chicago trip highlights!

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