Chicago - Day #4 & 5

Due to the return to reality (work, back to school night, laundry & cooking), I'm just now getting around to documenting the last few days of our trip to Chicago.

Days 4 & 5 both started off with business meetings, which is really what I was there for.  Poor Chris had to wander around the city all on his own.  However, by the looks of the pictures he took while out, it seems he had an okay time.  You should know that I will NOT be posting those photos.  Apparently, he knew they might up end right here on the blog, therefore, he made himself look like big fool.

I should post the photos for that exact reason, shouldn't I?

But I won't, because he really does look like a big fool.

DAY #4

We went back to Bubba Gump's place for dinner Monday evening.  It was good the first time, so it was sure to be good a second time.

AND I ATE SHRIMP, PEOPLE!  For the first time ever!  Don't believe me?  I have proof...

This is me, wondering why the cooks didn't peel off the shells for me.  And wondering what the "H" I had just agreed to try.

I ate it.  And it was good.  So I ate a few more.

That same night we took an architectural tour through the city of Chicago -- get this -- by boat!  I had no idea that a river flowed right through the city.  Some may think that a boat tour would be boring, but it wasn't.

There's nothing quite like seeing this city all lit up, from the river.  You get dizzy looking up at  these buildings, because you can't find a building in Salt Lake nearly as tall.  The tour guide was so knowledgeable, giving us a run down of the history of the buildings and of why the folks in St. Louis, MO hate the folks from Chicago so much. 

Since you are probably curious, I'll tell you.  A long time ago, the river was the sewage dump for the city.  It got to be so stinky and so gross, the city reversed the flow of the river and sent the sewage straight down the Mississippi heading directly to St. Louis.  I'd be a little ticked, too.

This tour is definitely a "must do" if you ever visit the Windy City.

Oh, and now I know why it's called the "Windy City." 

DAY #5

Our last day.  

After wrapping up my meetings for the day and listening to an incredible speech by Dick Vitale (sport enthusiasts will know who he is), Chris and I headed out in search of a true Chicago Dog.  It was so good and consumed so fast, we didn't get a picture.  Sorry.  They are really just that good.
We walked around, did some shopping, and then headed out to visit the Sear's Tower -- which is now actually called the Willis Tower.  But you wouldn't know what I was talking about if I said "Willis Tower" now would you?

We hopped on the subway and headed whichever direction the Willis Tower was from our hotel.  Without any mountains around us, I could never tell whether I was headed North, East, West or South.  After we hopped off, we passed a restaurant that Chris just had to have a picture of...

The sign says "Asian Hot Buns."  I told you he was a bit of a fool.

The Sears Tower -- Willis Tower -- whatever.

The glass boxes that they've built off the sides are ridiculously cool.  1400 ft above the earth and over 3 million square feet of office space.

It was raining when we left, so we grabbed a cab and went over to the Art Institute of Chicago.  Now this museum had Art.  Not like the Contemporary place Chris made me go to a couple days earlier.

I had never seen a Monet in person, and here I saw at least 10, among many other artists.

This was a cool museum.  I wished we had more time to view more of the collections, but we got there only a hour before closing.  We didn't see much, but what we did see was incredible.

When we came out of the museum, the sun was shining.  Chris said I just had to see this peanut in Millennium Park, which wasn't too far away.

When we got there, I said "that's doesn't look like a peanut!  It looks like a giant bean!"  And it certainly was, a giant bean.  

Can you spot me?
Not quite sure what the purpose of the big giant bean in the middle of the park was, but it was cool none the less.

Earlier in the trip, we walked past a popcorn shop with a line that literally wrapped around the store and down the block.  I was curious what could be so great about popcorn?  It's just popcorn.  So, I googled and found out that this was Oprah's favorite popcorn.  

Not that I truly care about what Oprah's favorite things are, I read that they were popular for their Caramel & Cheddar mixed popcorn.  Yes, you heard me, caramel and cheddar.  My curiosity got the better of me and we went back.  But on Tuesday's, the line isn't that big.

Holy Yum.  Best popcorn ever.  I'll give Oprah a little bit more credibility now.  It was amazing.  At first, I only ate each flavor separate, but they were right when they said it should be eaten together.  A-maz-ing.

This concludes the play-by-play of the first real trip Chris and I have taken together in over 5 years.  Next year, I'll be sent on a few more conferences, which include Louisville, KY, Washington DC and Orlando.  I think Chris was have to join me on a few of those, too.  He was kind of fun to have around.


Coming Soon - Day #4 & 5

I'm having a bit of trouble getting photos off of our camera right now, so I'll have to update you on our final vacation days after we get back.  But, for my own memories sake, I'm making a list of things we did so I don't miss a thing.
  • City Architectural Tour
  • Shrimp (surprisingly okay)
  • Chicago Dog
  • Dicky Vitale
  • Garrett's Popcorn (Oprah's Favorite)
  • Sear's Tower
  • Giant Bean
Lots to cover!  But honestly, all I have on my mind right now is getting home to see Brielle.  And Izzle-Frizzle.  And the boys.  Can't wait to get home!


Chicago - Day #3

Morning started off with our second try at the Flight Show.  We made our way down to Lake Michigan, found a great place to sit and ended up enjoying watching the people just as much as the show itself.  I took pictures of course, but would never post them on blog.  Strictly for my own entertainment (and Chris's).  I do believe, however, that half the city of Chicago could easily be nominated for "What Not to Wear" on TLC.

The stunts and planes were amazing, and could be seen the beach or from Navy Pier.  We know this, because we didn't stay in one place for the entire 4 hour show.  They had old planes, new planes, fighter jets, etc.  It was ridiculously loud and a lot of fun.  Several times I was convinced that the planes would crash into each other or right into the lake.  But they didn't.

We skipped lunch in anticipation of two things... eating at "Joe's," a hugely popular steak and seafood place and a having a Chicago Dog at the Baseball game.  Joe's did not disappoint.  The food reminded me of my stay at the Montage, Deer Valley.  Once you've had the finest and the best, it's hard to go back to average and affordable.  It was SO good.

I ate a ton.  Crab Bisque, Calamari, Crab & Artichoke Dip, Grilled Sweet Corn, Mashed Potatoes with this crispy, cheesy topping (yum) and the absolute best steak I've ever had.  Oh... and I'm still drooling over the coconut cream pie.  Holy. Smokes.

We took the subway to the big game.  You do not want to know of the things and people I saw on the Subway.  It's possible I'm scared for life.  It really wasn't that bad, but wow - I live in a bubble in Cache Valley, that's for sure. 

Wrigley Field was amazing!  Did you know there are actually stadium seating on the building surrounding the stadium?  And people watch the game from up there?  It was awesome. 

The Cubs vs. Cardinals.  It was a crazy good game! 5 Home runs, all scored by the Cards.  4 Pitcher changes, all on the Cubs side.  Let's just say there were highly drunk, highly disappointed Cubs fans walking around after the game.

By the way, due to the massive amount of food we ate at Joe's, even the sight of Chicago Dogs made us sick.  The clock is ticking, and a Chicago Dog will be eaten before leaving this city, that's for sure.


Chicago - Day #2

The only plan we made today was to ditch the rental car.  With everything so close, we saw no need to pay the $40 a day rate, and the $49 a day parking fee at the hotel.  I'm not made of money, and I could use the extra walking after the massive caloric intake we've had the fast few days.  Chicago food = Yum.

It just so happens that on this weekend every year is the Chicago Air & Water Show right on the beach of Lake Michigan, which features the Blue Angels.  We walked the 8 blocks (along with the rest of the entire city) to the beach to watch the show.

And then it rained.  A Lot.  A freaking torrential downpour.  The show was canceled, until tomorrow.

Since we had no umbrella, no rental car, every taxi in the city was already taken and we were still several blocks from the hotel, we popped inside the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art to ride out the storm.

Once again, I indulged Chris because he loves Contemporary Art (and I 100% don't).

I mean really, does this look like art to you?

But even then, there was only so much "art" we could see, and lunch time was quickly approaching.  It was time for my first ever Chicago Stuffed Pizza, and according to the locals, the place to go was Giordano's.

And it did not disappoint.  It was Amazing!  I was absolutely worth the hour wait.  So, I've eaten seafood and had a famous stuffed pizza... all I have left to try is a Chicago Dog.

It's early, but we're off to bed!  It's been a full day and we have a jam packed day tomorrow, which includes a trip to the Sear's Tower, round two of the Air Show, a Chicago Cubs baseball game and meeting up with other A.E.'s from the state of Utah before the conference starts on Monday.


Chicago - Day #1

I know, the day is not over yet, but keep in mind that Chicago is one whole hour ahead of Utah AND it's been a very, very, very long day. After racing home from Deer Valley to re-pack and pick up Chris, we headed back to Salt Lake where we would stay the night with Brielle and catch our early morning flight to Chicago.

We woke up a little late (4:50 am instead of 4:30 am).  We left Alpine a little late (5:30 am instead of 5:00 am).

We arrived at the airport with 56 minutes to spare, which I thought would be plenty of time to check in, get through security, grab breakfast and a magazine and jump on the plane.  Nope.  Not at all how it went.  Long story short... a ridiculous amount of people in line and incompetent airport employees, our butts hit the seats with minutes to spare, without food and without anything to read. 

Now, you're going to find this next bit of information highly unusual for me.  We arrived in Chicago and I didn't have a plan.  No detailed itinerary, no schedule to keep to, nothing.  Should we rent a car?  Should we take a cab?  Who knows?  After 2 hours in the airport researching rental rates, cab fares, etc., we settled on a rental car.  

Next mission... FOOD!

Everyone told us Navy Pier was the place to go.  It's right on the lake, and just blocks from our hotel.

And, lucky for us, the Blue Angels were rehearsing for their upcoming show tomorrow (look closely, they're there).  It was amazing!

Being that Chris loves seafood, and I don't, I indulged and we went to to Bubba Gump Shrimp (just like from Forest Gump).  I even ordered seafood, and guess what... I loved it.

I'm eating seafood... I didn't make travel plans... what the "h" has happened to me?  Due to exhaustion and over eating, we've returned to our hotel for a nap.  And to blog.


I've Never...

...stayed in a hotel with heated bathroom floors.

...stayed in a hotel where valet parking is mandatory.

...stayed in a hotel where you don't check in at a desk. You're asked your name when you walk in and they take you directly to your room.

...stayed in a hotel with my own fireplace, in my own giant suite.

...stayed in a hotel where, when they bring you your luggage, they also pour you a glass of sparkling ice cold lemonade.

...stayed in a hotel where they lay out fresh, clean, fuzzy, soft slippers for you every night.

...stayed in a hotel where they turn down your bed, and leave two heart shaped, gourmet chocolates on your pillow.

...stayed in a hotel where s'mores are made every night on the patio that literally overlooks all of Park City.

...stayed in a hotel where, upon arrival, immediately called my husband and said "I really want this bathroom."

...stayed in a hotel as nice as the Montage Park City, until now.

(my room)

If I didn't miss the husband and daughter so much, I might not ever leave.  I'm getting used the pampering.  But, if I were to live her full time, I'd have to find a way to pay the $500 a night rate, or buy one of the $2.1 million dollar residences on the upper floors.  And I don't make that kind of money.

After the last few days, I have high expectations for the Embassy Suites Lakefront in Chicago.


The Next 9 Days

Over the next 9 days, I'll be embarking on new adventures and staying at places I could never afford, if paying for myself.  Yes, work will be mixed with fun, but who cares really?

The Montage, Deer Valley - Conference #1

(Newest Deer Valley Resort)

The Embassy Suites LakeFront, Chicago - Conference #2

Except for a layover, I've never been.  Best part about this trip?  Chris is coming with me.  And we are going to a Cubs game.  I'm not trying to brag -- I'm just really excited!



As I'm typing this, I'm eating the yummiest treat which took literally minutes to make.  I found the recipe on a website that I'm in love with.  Everything -- and I mean EVERYTHING -- I've tried from their website is SO GOOD!  

Everyone knows I can't make a roast... well, couldn't make a roast... until I made their roast.

Back to the treat.  You'll have to visit their website to see what it is.  My pics just didn't do it justice.



Izzy's been having troubles lately, poor thing.  After 3 trips to the vet, lots of $$$, 2 prescriptions, 1 shot and 2 misdiagnoses, we think we found the problem.  Apparently, she's allergic to the protein found in chicken, which is found in 90% of dog foods, treats, etc. 

The shot made her a bit drowsy...

At $84 a bag of dog food, Izzy just because more expensive than the horses.  Lovely (insert sarcasm).



Scene set up...

I'm sitting on my bed, watching t.v.  Chris is laying on the floor after a long day of working in the hot, hot sun.  Just relaxing, just the two of us.  Brielle walks into the room.

Brielle - "Mom, can I have something to eat?"

Me - "Sure, like what?"

Brielle - "Like... Dinner!"

Apparently, my priorities were not in line with Brielle's.


Birthday #9 (Continued)

I must really love this girl, because the Birthday festivities did not cease to end after having received a trampoline 2 whole days before her actual birth date.

Saturday ended with another ReAL Salt Lake Soccer game, which was won by RSL after two straight losses.  Brielle sincerely believes that this was due to her presence at the game.  And I don't doubt it...  It is pure entertainment and excitement watching that girl get so into the game supporting her favorite team. 

We woke up Sunday morning with the sole responsibility of caring for a cute little pup that was soon to join the Davis Family by surprise.  Brielle was very much in her element of caring for animals.  I enjoyed it just as much and can honestly say that if Great Dane puppies didn't get so large, I probably would have bought one myself this weekend.

Just look at that cute little thing!  It's floppy ears, and enormous paws.  The other faces are cute, too.

I know the look on this face...

She's thinking of what she's going to spend that $30 bucks on.

Because Soccer has been somewhat of a theme in our lives right now, it seemed only appropriate that Brielle asked my sister for a "ReAL Soccer" Cake.

And since she is my baby, and only child, its very possible that the birthday festivities may last all week.  Who knows.


Happy Birthday Brielle!
9 years ago today, at 7:11 p.m.
weighing in at 7 lbs 6 oz
and stretching to 19 1/2 inches long,
a baby girl entered my life with a smile on her face
and completely stole my heart.
Brielle Carmela -- 2 Months


Birthday #9

Because we're headed to Salt Lake this weekend, we thought we'd give Brielle her present early.  2 days early, actually.  Oh to be an only child.  No rules.  Just whatever.

This is her (acting) surprised, even though she saw a pic of this Trampoline after I had text a picture of this "birthday idea" to her dad.  I didn't know she had his phone.

Just in case you cannot grasp the excitement by the look on her face, I'll just tell you... she was pretty excited.

I think I did okay this year.


The Return of My Blog

I can only the imagine the panic you must have felt when my blog suddenly disappeared.  No longer able to read my rants and stalk my family.

Well I'm back.  No need to worry.  Or panic.  I'll continue to rant, so stalk on my friends... stalk on.


Raspberry Almond Scones

Sunday mornings are hard at our house.  Not because church starts so early, but because church doesn't start until 2:30.  Two - Thirty!!!

With all that time, we tend make big, yummy, Sunday breakfasts.  This past Sunday, we pulled out all the stops with Raspberry Almond Scones, made with fresh raspberries from our garden.  

Head on over to the "Recipes I Love" page for recipe...