Monday, July 30, 2012

Chicago Ideas: Visit the Dinosaurs

There are several great museums in Chicago, however, my favorite, hands down, is The Field Museum. The Field Museum is my favorite solely because of "The Genius Hall of Dinosaurs".

I could stand in Dinosaur Hall for hours looking at the dinosaurs. There is just something about being in a room with all these massive dinosaur remnants that makes you appreciate the complexity of earth and life.

Dinosaur Hall is part of the Evolving Planet exhibit. The Evolving Planet exhibit is included in The Field Museum’s basic admission ticket.

Below is a quick video that I took from the center of "The Genius Hall of Dinosaurs". There are additional smaller dinosaurs in other rooms, these are just the large fossils that are too large for average sized ceilings.

***Click here to view more Chicago ideas.***

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Chicago Ideas: Go to a Brazilian Steakhouse

If you are a meat eater, a Brazilian steakhouse is definitely something you will want to experience at least once in your life. At a Brazilian steakhouse unlimited meat is brought around to you on swords. Yes, you heard that right, SWORDS.

When you are seated you are given a circle card that is green on one side, red on the other; when you want more meat, you turn the card to green, and of course when you are full (or want a break), you turn the card to red. If you don’t want the particular meat on the gaucho’s sword, send the gaucho on; however, if you do, the gaucho will rest the sword on your table and slice off a piece of the meat (or more, if you ask). When beef comes around there will be various degrees of doneness on the same sword, so, you simply need to tell them how you like your meat cooked.

Chicago has three Brazilian steakhouses: Brazzaz, Fogo de Chao, and Texas de Brazil. Which one is best is, of course, a matter of personal preference.

At most Brazilian steakhouses the salad bar and limited side dishes are included, but dessert and drinks cost extra. In Chicago, dinner at a Brazilian steakhouse will run you about $50 a person (not counting tax, or tip). Texas de Brazil offers a buy-one-get-one-free deal for your birthday and anniversary if you sign up for their e-mail list; just remember to tip on the pre-discount amount (it isn’t fair to stiff your server because you got a deal!). Also keep in mind that that tax and tip really adds up, even with a buy-one-get-one-free offer, so, be prepared (two dinners with a buy-one-get-one-free offer, plus tax and tip, and two sodas will still run you about $90).

***Click here to view more Chicago ideas.***

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Cuddly T-Rex in Chicago

About two months ago I came across this desktop background, and was immediately smitten. Cute, funny, and silly: what's not to love? It has been my background ever since.

Last week when walking around Chicago after Timmy's birthday dinner we discovered something GLORIOUS:

It was by a stroke of luck that we saw it. Not only were we originally going to take transit rather than walk, but the painted building was across the street and partially obstructed by weeds and a fence.

It made my day.

For anyone that is curious (although mostly just to remind myself), Mr. Cuddles is at the corner of Fullerton and Milwaukee (to the southwest under the train tracks).

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Baked potato soup from Mama Loves Food

Over the weekend I made this baked potato soup from Mama Loves Food. It was ah-maz-ing. I used light cream cheese so that it wouldn't be quite as fattening, and I didn't notice any flavor lacking.

After we had ate some, my boyfriend suggested we add the Light Velveeta roux that we had leftover from making baked mac and cheese so it wouldn't go to waste. Just when I thought the soup couldn't get any better, BAM, it did.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Greatest country in the world?

I am American. I love my country. That said, I cringe whenever I hear an American claim that our country is the greatest in the world. I would never be so condescending as to say that. Am I lucky to have been born in the United States? Absolutely. There are plenty of countries out there where citizens do not have the freedom, technological advances, education opportunities, etc. that we have here. But there are countries who do have all those things, countries who do them better, and countries who succeed in ways we do not. That is why I love this video clip from "The Newsroom" (also shown in part below in screenshot form).

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Neon yellow fashion

I try to stay away from anything trendy because 1) I don't want to waste money on something that will be quickly out of style, and 2) I don't want to look back at something I wore and wonder "What the hell was I thinking?" That said, I'm really having to fight the urge to buy something neon yellow (even considering the fact that neon yellow has got to be one of the worst colors for my skin tone). Here are a few of my favorite neon yellow looks from my Pinterest boards.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Chicago Ideas: Take a water taxi

What you've all been waiting for (is there even anyone out there? ha ha), the first OFFICIAL "Chicago ideas".

Water taxis are a poor man’s boat cruise. Boat cruises on Lake Michigan in Chicago start around $30 and go well up over $100 depending on the day, type of cruise, and cruise line. Water taxis on the other hand start around $2 and cap out around $8 for a single trip.

There are water taxis that operate on Lake Michigan, and water taxis that operate on the Chicago River. The longest water taxi trip on Lake Michigan takes you from the Navy Pier to the Museum Campus; the two mile trip with Shoreline Water Taxi will cost you $8. The longest Chicago River route is three miles and will take you from Michigan Avenue to Chinatown; that route is offered by the Chicago Water Taxi company and will cost you $5.

Water taxis operate only during certain times of the year depending on the water taxi company, the route, and the weather, therefore, it is best to check the water taxi companies' web-sites to confirm whether they will be running.

***Keep in mind that prices periodically change, and routes could too, so please confirm all details when making plans.***

Cheap Chicago Kayaking Tour

Another non-official "Chicago ideas" post (sorry?).

Monday, my boyfriend and I went on a kayaking tour in Chicago to celebrate his birthday. The kayaking tour is usually $60 for a single boat or $110 for a tandem (two person) boat, however, we bought our tickets through LivingSocial; through LivingSocial the tickets were $30 for a single boat, or $55 for a tandem boat. LivingSocial is offering the deal again, so, I thought I would share with you all. We enjoyed the experience so much that we decided to purchase the deal again. Click here for more information or to purchase the deal. Hurry because the offer expires in two days.

The $25/$40 Navy Pier Fireworks tour is a significantly shorter trip (45 minutes), so, I recommend taking the Architecture Tour (two hours) for the extra $5/$15. I don't know how long the sunset paddle is, so, I can't speak for that.

Disclaimer: If three people purchase through my link, I'll get my tickets free, however, that is not why I'm sharing this deal, just why I'm using my personalized link.

Pin-up hair/makeup/modeling workshop

*****All photos and links to Windy City pin-up have been removed from
my blog as I can no longer recommend working with the photographer.*****

While this is not an official "Chicago Ideas" post (the first official post will be coming this weekend), I wanted to share this under the "Chicago Ideas" label for more visibility.

The lovely ladies of Windy City Pin-Up, who you may remember from my "Day of the Dead" photoshoot last year, are having a hair/makeup/modeling workshop on Sunday, July 29th. For more details you can go to the Facebook event page or visit their web-site.

[image removed]

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Celebrating Timmy's birthday

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, Timmy's birthday was Monday so we spent a few days celebrating.

Sunday we went on a huge grocery trip. Not for Timmy's birthday (although Jello cake ingredients were bought), just because we needed groceries. Since we don't have a car and rely on public transit, getting groceries is a pain; usually it involves me carrying home a few items several times a week. This time we decided to make it a big trip and take a taxi home; since I'm cheap (and don't want to pay for a taxi often), and not that strong (therefore I can't carry much home at once), I decided to buy as much stuff as possible at once. The fact that most of Target's on-line coupons require buying multiples of items certainly didn't help any. Anyway, it ended up being the longest grocery receipt I've ever seen; it was amusing and embarassing all at the same time as it kept printing and printing and printingggg.

Sunday night we went out for dinner and drinks with two of our friends to celebrate Timmy's birthday. We didn't think to take any photos. Well, I thought it, I just don't like to hassle people by taking their photo.

Monday we went on a kayaking tour of downtown Chicago; you can see the photos from that in this blog entry that I posted yesterday.

Tuesday (Timmy's actual birthday), we ate at one of Timmy's favorite pizza places, The Boiler Room. They have a special called a PB&J which is a slice of pizza, a beer (PBR), and a shot of Jameson for only $7.50.

Timmy finished his meal with some Jameson (whiskey) ice cream.

Timmy with his birthday presents from me (a Blu-Ray player and season one of "Game of Thrones").

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Introducing: Chicago Ideas

One piece of advice that successful professional bloggers always give to aspiring-to-be-successful bloggers is to “write what you know.” For some time I’ve been trying to determine what interests me that I know better than the average person (and that I'd enjoy writing about). Today while trying to take a nap before work it occurred to me (go figure). I moved to Chicago almost three years ago and in that time I’ve had numerous native and long-time Chicagoans express surprise to me about all the fun, cheap things that I find to do in Chicago. So, today I decided I am going to start a new feature on things to do in Chicago.

While some suggestions may be obvious to native Chicagoans, I hope to also include some ideas that even born-and-raised Chicagoans have not thought of. Some ideas will be cheap, some will not. Some ideas will be exclusive to being able to do in Chicago, however, not all will be; in the latter instances, I plan to keep the focus on Chicago by including links to Chicago businesses/attractions where the ideas can be carried out.

I only average about 1,000 page views a month, almost all of which come from people who do not comment, therefore I honestly do not know how successful this new feature of mine will be; if you appreciate any of the ideas I suggest, or have fun Chicago ideas for me to try, please leave me a comment so I know you are out there. And of course, if you like my new feature after you have read a few (I plan to post weekly) I would appreciate any help spreading the word. My loftiest goal would be to have this feature gain enough readers that I could eventually offer my readers personalized discount codes for the Chicago ideas that I share.

I will be tagging all Chicago idea posts with the label "Chicago ideas" so you can view all of the Chicago ideas posts by clicking the "Chicago ideas" label.

Chicago Kayaking Tour

Timmy's birthday was yesterday so we spent the last few days celebrating. One of the highlights was our two hour kayaking tour of downtown Chicago with Urban Kayaks; we got a great deal through LivingSocial. It was such a unique and fun way to see Chicago, especially since neither of us had kayaked before. The only downside is that we didn't get there early like we were supposed to, in part due to a cab driver who had no idea where he was going and ignored our directions (ugh!).

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Pink elephant print skinny jeans

I just ordered the most ridiculous jeans ever. Pink skinny jeans with pink elephants all over them. (That's about as ridiculous as it gets, right?)

I saw the jeans on ASOS months and months ago and fell in love. I love elephants; in fact, in addition to a hippo Pinterest board that I have for obvious reasons *points at site name*, I also have an elephant Pinterest board. Anyway, despite my love for elephants, I could not bring myself to spend $58 on such a... unique... item of clothing. Lucky for me they are now currently on sale for $29. Sadly, judging by their size chart, I don't think they'll fit (or at least not how I want them to), but I love them too much not to try; especially when ASOS offers free shipping both ways.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Peplum overload

I've been thinking lately that I'm getting a little tired of seeing peplums everywhere, and this blog entry on convinces me. Take a look and tell me if you are now officially "over it" too. Especially the peplum skirts that look like they have a fabric vagina on the front (see below).

Guess this means it is time for sleep

I just received this error message on Pinterest. I guess that means I should go back to sleep.

P.S. If you are interested, you can find me on Pinterest here.

P.P.S. I just checked my browser history, and for those that are curious, apparently Pinterest has a four hour limit to a "pinning spiral". Oh God.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

What I Wore - Striped Azalea dress

It was about 90 degrees today but felt so much hotter; so glad that I decided to wear a dress and sandals, because I don't think I would have been able to tolerate the heat otherwise. This dress is the Ann Klein Azalea dress that I mentioned in my previous post. The shoes were a blogger find of mine last year when it was too cold to wear them; I also wore them here.

P.S. yes, the dress has pockets!