Monday, May 31, 2010

Whirlwind Weekend

This holiday weekend was quite a whirlwind of a weekend. I'm still fighting a case of boredom blues, so I had lots of things planned. We made a spontaneous drive up to our college town, enjoyed the sites at the chalk festival and ruins, and hiked up a peak with an elevation of 2,458 feet. Of course, we included lots of naps and lounging in between.

My hubster was such a good sport. He hadn't quite recovered from having to travel to retrieve me and his last minute business trip. I thoroughly enjoyed his company these last 4 days. Yes, we treated ourselves to a 4-day weekend. I'm so happy our friend Lisa took us to the ruins. We had gotten terribly lost our first trip up there and never made it. Our hiking pictures will be in a later post. There were just too many photos to cluster together in this post with the chalk festival and all.

"Then You Will Live Your Life on the Tightrope."

I've been on a bit of documentary binge lately. Watching as many as I can from our instant queue. One of my favorites is Man on Wire. It is beautifully made. I enjoyed the multiple layers of the storytelling including interviews, Philippe Petit's video footage, reenactments, and photos. I particular loved the photos. When Philippe walked between Notre Dame, it looked like he was walking on air. How exquisite! When Philippe was plotting to walk between the two towers, those photos are also captivating. This documentary is so intriguing.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Bucket List Revisited

One of my favorite questions to ask my hubster whenever we're in a car for more than hour is what's on his bucket list. It's not all that fair to put him on the spot. Of course, he turns the tables on me to buy himself some time. I start rambling about all the places to see. Then, he raises the stakes and says I can't just name dream vacations. Here are some things, I've thought of:
  • Watch fireflies flicker at dusk.
  • Master using my Diana.
  • Try snorkeling again.
  • Get my PhD.
  • Write a manuscript for a children's book.
  • Have the courage to start painting.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Friday, May 28, 2010

My Two Fav Songs as a Mash-Up? Yes, Please.

Summer Fun List

Before I came back for Chi-town, my mom asked me what am I going to do next. I tried to act innocent, but a mother does know her own kid. Oh so well, I might add. She said, "With all this traveling, you're going to be bored." I admitted that I'll probably be a bit restless this summer but will most likely be making more trips to LA. So this is my unofficial way of letting my hubster know of my summer wish list:

Black Chasm Cavern


Griffith Observatory


Getty Villa


*i heart you hubster.

Clouds, Chicago Dogs, & Segways Day 6

It always feels so good to blog about the last day of a trip. I just love being done. Our sixth day had kept the same theme as the previous five days: a jam packed day filled with walking and lots of fun. We started the day at the Green Festival on the Navy Pier. Picked up a few last minute souvenirs including our adorable Cubs shirt. Then, we did a bit of shopping, took photos at the Water Tower, had a delicious Indian lunch, went to the John Hancock Observatory, and watched our last show The Regulars at the Apollo Theater.

My favorite part of the day was going up to the John Hancock Observatory. Nic and I are totally scared of heights. We originally had planned to simply walk by this behemoth. After some persuading by Kendra and having it conveniently part of our CityPass, we hesitantly walked over to Big John. This is where the CityPass totally paid off. We got to have VIP status, which was so helpful on the way down. The elevator goes 20 mph. It's the smoothest ride I've ever had. The observatory is on the 94th floor and you really do feel like you're kissing the sky. The views were amazing. Supposedly, you're able to see across 4 different days. We happen to go on a foggy/cloudy day, so we didn't have that lovely experience. The views were still impressive. What a fantastic way to say farewell to Chicago.

Clouds, Chicago Dogs, & Segways Day 5

Originally, we had planned to go to the zoo on our fifth day. The weather had other plans for us. There was a chance of thunder showers, so we decided to go to the Museum of Science and Industry and make our science boys proud. It turned out to be quite an adventure. We had to head down south by bus. None of the metros would drop us off close enough to the museum. We hadn't taken the bus anywhere. Unfortunately, we hopped onto the wrong bus. Then, we got off of it in the middle of a neighborhood that was not a good place for two girls traveling alone to be dropped off in.

Luckily, we were able to hop onto the right bus and made it to the museum. I'm so happy we did. This museum was my favorite one. I loved the storm center exhibit, the you exhibit, and the baby chicks in the genetics exhibit. We had to share with school children. Oh well. I loved watching the giant heart beat to the pace of my own heart. Listening to the Tesla machine go off was quite overwhelming. The Omnimax theater was a-mazing. We watched the movie about the Hubble telescope. It's so mind boggling to see photos of galaxies being born or even trying to fathom stars million or trillion of light years away.

To reward ourselves for making it down to the museum, we went to White Castle and had boba at Joy Yee in Chinatown. We likened our adventure to White Castle to that of Harold and Kumar. Good thing, we didn't run into a shady character like Neil Patrick Harris. Our White Castle was kind of a big deal for us since we don't have White Castle in California. We just had to go! The boba was delicious! No powders. All fresh fruit. Lychee heaven.

Later that evening, we hustled to the Shakespeare theater on Navy Pier to watch Taming of the Shrew. I really liked the Taming of the Shrew. I thought it was interesting to learn that often Shrew isn't performed as Shakespeare originally intended, a play within a play. I enjoyed trying to understand which themes they were trying to emphasize within the modern storyline. The theater was incredibly adorable and we had fantastic seats.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Clouds, Chicago Dogs, & Segways Day 4

Our fourth day became our foodie day with a brief intermission at the Art Institute. We meandered around the Magnificent Mile while we waited for our Pizza Tour to begin. Nicole had found a half price ticket deal for a deep dish pizza tour. We thought, "What a great idea! We wanted to try deep dish pizza and now we get samples from 3 pizzerias." The tour was adorable. It's a husband and wife business venture based on their shared love of pizza.

We learned lots while on our pizza tour. Pizzeria Uno is supposedly the birthplace of deep dish. The recipe isn't written down, but passed down verbally from one cook to another. At Lou Malnati's the dough is still made by hand by his mother in the pizzeria's basement. The battle for best deep dish in town is fierce. While we were there, Travel Channel was filming the showdown between Pizzeria Uno and Lou Malnati's. We ventured down to the pub where the showdown was to take place. Unfortunately, the public taste test finished early. Fortunately, the reps from Lou Malnati's were still there, and they gave us a one whole free pizza. It was delicious! Toppings on a deep dish definitely make a difference.

Along our pizza tour, our guides gave us tips for other yummy food. They mentioned that another of Chicago's signature food contributions is the Italian beef sandwich. We just had to try it! After devouring three hefty slices of pizza, we waddled back to Al's to share an Al Jr with sweet and spicy peppers. It seemed legit. They had a signed photo of P. Diddy on the wall. would have been super tasty if they could have squeezed some of the grease out. Our food total for the day ended up being: 3 slices of pizza, half an Italian beef sandwich, 2 tacos, and one more slice of pizza.

As for our stop along the Art Institute, we got to see the transition Matisse was making in his artwork. I loved the Asian wing, particularly the Indian art pieces. It was also interesting to see American Gothic by Grant Wood. Of course, we got to see some Van Gogh and Monet paintings. I'm starting to wonder how can there be enough Van Gogh and Monets to go around.

Clouds, Chicago Dogs, & Segways Day 3

The main reason why I was able to go to Chicago with the budget we have is I got to stay with my friend's cousin, Kendra. She lived in the South Loop at the time. Every morning, Nicole and I woke up to a beautiful view of the Sears Tower. On our agenda for day 3, we went to the Field Museum and Planetarium, enjoyed the sites during the architecture boat tour, and snapped photos of more statues.

At the Field Museum, we were able to enjoy all of the interactive exhibits. We did a quick walk through at the Planetarium and took in a movie.
Since we got lost on the metro on our way to the aquarium (mm...we ended up going towards Harlem), we decided to walk as much as we could. Unfortunately, we underestimated how long it would take to walk from the Planetarium (the farthest point on museum campus) to the waterfront where our boat tour began. We hustled our little feet, making it with only 10 minutes to spare before our tour left, which happened to be the last tour of day. But we made it! Yay!

I thoroughly enjoyed the architecture boat tour. I had a feeling I would because I loved my architecture class as an undergrad. I learned how wood was expelled from the city after the great fire in 1871. Terracotta has been used on the exterior of buildings. The city is also home to many different architecture styles including Beaux Arts, art deco, and post-modern. They're also big on having buildings with interesting tops and riverfront access for everyone. One of the oldest buildings along the riverfront has been LEED certified. Yay!

While we were there, the Blackhawks were regional champions or something like that. Chicago really rallies behind their teams. We saw sculptures decorated with Blackhawk jerseys and helmets. Can't imagine how decked out the city would be if the Cubs made it to the World Series.