Archive for Travel

Start Spreading the News – Getting things done!

As some of you may have gathered from following me on Twitter – I recently went on VACAAAAAAAAAAATION. I went to New York. It was beautiful, glorious, fabulous, busy, crazy, amazing. Yes. All of those.

And I was able to cross two things off my list!

#8: Go to two new states (CHECK: New Jersey, New York. Yes, we drove)

#18: Vacation lasting longer than three days. (Just barely made it – we were gone four)

Now… I think my next mission should be to make a REALLY FABULOUS dessert. What should I make?

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#24: Have a Drink on the 96th floor of the Hancock Building

Chicago is one of my favorite cities on the planet and I tend to go there several times a year. Every time I go, I mean to get this mission accomplished – #24, but everytime I overbook myself, have too much stuff going on and no unscheduled “fly by the seat of my pants” time and then once again I go home without having crossed this off my list.

I changed that this weekend.

I knew for awhile I’d be going to Chicago. I was meeting a pretty amazing group of people from Twitter, and a few weeks ago, I posted about wanting to go to the John Hancock Building to have a drink on the 96th floor if anyone wanted to go. Squee! Someone said yes.

And I’m glad she did – I actually only met her that day – but she was super sweet and tolerated my crazy (which may have included mentally calculating the weight of everyone on the elevator to see if we were at or above the weight capacity limit. WHAT? STOP LOOKING AT ME LIKE I’M CRAZY).

But the elevator was actually the easy part. 45 seconds and you zip right up to the 94th floor Observatory [NOTE: We paid about $16 for this part without realizing there was a whole ‘nother elevator that you could take to get to the restaurant/lounge that WASN”T $16. FYI. Whatever, I don’t mind, actually – I’m glad we saw it all.]

Do you know how difficult it was for me to get that close to the window? OY.

94th Floor observatory

LOOK AT THIS VIEW

OH YEAH, I had that drink.

It's a little bit tall, isn't it?

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The 101 List – Year One. 365 Days Down, and Uh… More To Go.

Holy moly, I can’t believe not only is one year completed, but… HEY, I stuck with this project and I’m actually making decent progress on getting things done.

Example? I thought maybe I was nuts for setting a goal of 250 books in 1,001 days but when I finished the 111th book on December 31, I figured that maybe JUST MAYBE it was do-able. (Don’t ask me how many of those books turned out to be total crap – because some of those books were BAD. Though, if you have any questions on any of the books I read and wonder if it’s worth reading, go ahead and leave a comment and I’ll let you know). Post Christmas, and post-Barnes&Noble gift card extravaganza (I love when people give B&N gift cards – makes me happy), I have a pile of sixteen books waiting to be read. I have already read my first of 2010 – the sequel to The Nanny Diaries – so I’m on my way to continue kicking book-butt.

Over Christmas break, I finally went ice skating. My list dictates that I am going to go ice skating three times — I think perhaps the next two times I may leave the kiddos at home. Kidding. Sort of. They really had a blast skating, and I loved seeing them on the ice. I love to use ice skating for my cardio though, and when you’re hunched over a four-year-old trying to remain stable, well, you don’t really get a chance to get that heart rate up.

I also managed to go see a second movie by myself – the heart-wrenching movie “Brothers”. I sobbed. A lot. It was a great movie, but an emotional one.

I’ve been taking pictures – lots of them, and I’ve been tracking each day’s highs as well. I did the 12 days of Christmas. Paying it forward (often in the form of buying coffee for whoever is behind me at Target) just makes me so happy that I’m sure I’ll keep it up, long after the project is over.

And, yes, I’m keeping on with the list. I’ve got things already planned for 2010 – including a trip that will help me accomplish going to two states that I’ve never been. Concert tickets to an amazing show. Time away with friends. And somewhere in there, I’ll finally go to McDonalds and actually eat that stuff they call food – I get bonus points if I manage to keep it down, right?

I’ve gotten over half of the 50 state map postcards – so if you live in a state that I don’t have a card for, and you’d like to send one. Let me know. If you’re working on a 101 List, I’d love to hear about it and how your list is going.

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#38: Walk A Marathon

Many of you knew that I signed up for the Avon Two Day Walk for Breast Cancer.

This weekend was the big event. I arrived in Chicago at 5 p.m. on Friday – let me point out to those who are less in the know: That is a REALLY BAD TIME to arrive in Chicago. Ever. The last ten miles to my hotel took over an hour, during which time I got a bit of a light sunburn on my face and I stripped down a few layers because it was NOT that warm in Michigan when I left but it was definitely cami weather sitting in traffic in Chicago. (Also, thank goodness for camisoles).

I finally got off the highway only to realize that the Google Map was slightly wrong – that added a bit of extra time to my “driving around desperately seeking my hotel” time. I finally arrived at the hotel, parked my car and hauled my gear in, then took the elevator up to my room to find out that LOVELY, the front desk gave me keys to the wrong room. I called the desk, and within minutes a room service guy was at my door. Room service? I called Security! Turns out, Mister Room Service had a delivery from my walking partner (an awesome woman I met via Twitter who invited me to join their team) – she’d sent me up some water and an awesome plate of fruit. Room Service dude was also able to unlock the door and let me in (But seriously, did any of you know the Room service staff had keys? I never did, and now I’m slightly more bothered by the number of people in a hotel who can access your room at any time. Safety lock, check).

Saturday morning, I took the shuttle to Soldier Field, carb loaded some breakfast, met up with my team and we were soon off for our first day of walking, 26.2 miles. I won’t recap each mile, but it took us about 8.5 hours with lunch break, rest stops and having to navigate our way through the crowds. Also, intersections and miles 24 – 26.2 in the pouring rain. Crossing the finish line was awesome, and I was glad to hit the shuttle to go back to the hotel and take off my soggy socks and get some dry gear on.

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(Note: Soggy socks make for wicked blisters. Ouch)

Day two started with my feet feeling surprisingly okay despite the three huge blisters I had had the previous evening. I had had a good night of hockey and just relaxing so I felt ready to go. A mile or two into it, the rain started. And it kept going.

And going.

BLEH.

The second day was harder than I thought it would be, actually.

Crossing the finish line, knowing I’d walked nearly 40 miles? It was an amazing feeling. TRULY TRULY AMAZING.And I’m so proud of myself and of the team that I walked with.

Also? I’m dehydrated. I am very tired, my blisters are painful, and I am sure I haven’t replenished my water enough. I’m emotional and cranky and not so much a joy to be around at the moment. I have been kindly reminded to drink some more water. I’m hoping that helps!

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#35: Drive Through DownTown Chicago Without Gettin’ Lost

A year ago, a few girlfriends and I met in Chicago from scattered places around the globe for a weekend to relax, veg and just be girly. I was so thrilled for the trip and made excellent time from Michigan to Chicago. Once I got off the highway, I entered what could only be described as another circle of hell – getting myself completely lost and spending far longer than I care to admit (think HOURS, not MINUTES) driving around downtown Chicago. Possibly, tears were involved. Upper, Middle, Lower Wacker – I hated them ALL.

Eventually, I pulled over and the lovely valet dude at a hotel on Wacker printed directions explaining them to me because apparently the road I needed to be on wasn’t on my map. And the street I needed to turn on didn’t have a sign – and OHMYGODWHYDOYOUHATEMESOMUCHCHICAGO?

The thing is, I love the city. I love the feel of Chicago. I love the energy and the vibe of it. I didn’t want to NEVER go back because I was petrified of the hell of driving Lake Shore Drive for hours around and about. Putting #35 on my list was a no brainer for me.

This weekend, the fam headed to Chicago for an event (a very AWESOME arty, creative, “make every moment count” kinda thing. Awesome awesome awesome). On our way, I stopped at Starbucks with my refillable mug (#39 on my list, aw yeah…) to fuel up with some coffee and then we were on the road.

There was so much rain and cloud cover until we reached Indiana – I thought we were in for a pretty miserable day in the city. Nuh uh. Clouds lifted, the sky was amazingly blue and when we got off the highway, we zipped right to our first destination (The aquarium). After that, we wandered the city a bit.

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It was perfect. Got into the car and ventured to the hotel and y’know what happened? I didn’t need the printed directions. I didn’t need my Google Maps (though, nothin’ but love for you Google Maps. Love knowing you’re there. Mwah). I knew exactly where to go. We zipped right to the hotel. AND, I didn’t pass out lookin’ at this 32nd floor view.

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