Wednesday, August 31, 2016

My Kind of Town...Chicago

Sorry, no What I'm Loving Wednesday post this week (but thank you to those who always participate). I thought I would start my Chicago recap today!

I had A BLAST in Chicago. I had only been to Chicago one time before this last trip, but I was only there five hours (seriously, a friend and I drove to Chicago -from Indiana- in 2014 for a White Sox game and then left after the game). 

This time I was able to spend a few more days. I flew in late that Tuesday night and my awesome friend Harrie picked me up at the airport (she was also my hostess for the week). 

Flying in to Chicago at night
We started my first full day in town bright and early the next morning. We ate a quick breakfast at this cute cafe next door to her apartment. 

I had taken a bite of bacon just before she took this picture, hence the weird look on my face. Lol. And yes, I represent the Rangers wherever I go. Lol.
My first stop as a tourist in Chicago was an Architecture Boat Tour of the city. If you are ever in Chicago, I highly recommend this tour. It's a great way to see the city and learn about the history of the buildings and skyscrapers. I took probably 150 pictures (at least) on this tour. Lucky for y'all, I'm not posting ALL of them here. :) 

On the bottom right you will see what looks like a map on the side of the building. It is a map of the river and the red dot (about halfway up) is marking "you are here". I thought that was cool. Oh, that is my awesome friend Harrie in the Cubs cap!
After the boat tour (which was complete with cookies and lemonade), we made a quick stop at the Centennial Plaza and Fountain.

Of course no trip to Chicago is complete without stopping by "The Bean" (which is officially called Cloud Gate-I had no idea). Lol. It was pretty cool, I liked it!

We didn't have time for a tour of the Chicago Theater (I've already made a list of everything I have to do NEXT time I visit), but we did stop so I could take a picture by the famous marquee. 

If you know me at all, you know I always take pictures by statues (it's my thing).

The best thing about staying with Harrie (besides hanging out with her, of course), is that not only did she know how to get around Chicago, but she knew some of the best kept secrets in town. We made a quick stop at the Chicago Cultural Center which is home to the world's largest Tiffany stained-glass dome. I had NO IDEA. There was a classical piano concert going on when we visited, so our picture taking was limited (but we heard an awesome concert). There is also Tiffany glass all around the building. 

Of course we rode the L train...

I'm such a tourist. Lol.

On Wednesday afternoon Harrie and I had a "proper" British tea time at her apartment. She is originally from England (she has lived in Chicago about four years) and I told her I wanted to have a British tea with her. She went all out- we even had biscuits (which are cookies) and tea cakes.

The most exciting part of Wednesday's adventures for me was going to the Art Institute of Chicago. I was an art minor in college and have always wanted to go there (it's been at the top of my museum list for as long as I can remember). And for the record, I was an adult before I ever saw Ferris Bueller's Day Off, so I wasn't copying the movie (everyone seems to think that when you talk about going places in Chicago). 

I took so many pictures there, but again, I'll spare you and only share a small portion.

Van Gogh, Monet, and Renoir are some of my favorite painters, so this was probably my favorite part of the museum
These are part of the Thorn Miniature Rooms exhibit. All of these are miniatures. In the picture on the middle right you can see a mirror above the fireplace. If you look closely (maybe you can zoom in), you can see mine and Harrie's reflection. You can check out more of the exhiibit at this link.The smallest details were amazing!!
American Gothic. Despite my expression, I was super excited to see this in person (Harrie told me you can't smile when you stand next to this painting). Lol.
I actually saw this painting, Paris Street: Rainy Day when it was on tour in Fort Worth back in February. Since it was a special exhibit, we couldn't take a picture with the real one. I was allowed to take a picture this time! :)
Another statue, another picture
Such a fun time! I could spend a whole day at this museum (I had to pick and choose which exhibits I wanted to see this time)
For dinner that night I had authentic Chicago pizza! I must say, it was pretty good!!

I don't want to overwhelm y'all, so I'm dividing my trip up into several posts. I'll post the remainder of my Chicago pictures (which includes a tour of Wrigley Field, a Cubs game, and the Chicago History Museum) later this week. I am also going to devote an entire post to our road trip to Danville, Illinois (which is the hometown of Dick Van Dyke). :)


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

I'm loving...

That Dick Van Dyke posted MY picture to his Facebook page (he also tweeted it). I went to Danville, Illinois last week (his hometown) and took a picture in front of this sign. Yes, I had a full fan-girl moment when I saw he had posted it. I promise to give a full recap of my Danville visit soon. It is a wonderful little town!

I'm loving...

That I had a blast in Chicago. Again, a full recap of my visit will be up soon (I'll separate the Chicago and Danville recaps). I've been lazy recovering from my trip this week, so I haven't made had time to organize what pictures I want to post. Here is a sneak peak of some of my adventures.

I'm loving...

That my team had a business lunch at Hard 8 BBQ yesterday. Hmmm, BBQ. We smelled like BBQ smoke the rest of the day, but it was worth it!

My boss is better than your boss
I'm loving...

That I've been asked to help out with something at my church- they want to use my "crafty" skills. :) More details on that later!

I'm loving...

My Twitter family. I have a lot of wonderful Twitter friends, but there is a small group I talk to pretty much every day in a private group message. I know without a doubt that they have my back if I need anything. If I'm having a bad day, they will cheer me up (even if they are unaware they are doing it). My life is better because of them.

I'm loving...

My niece Katie. She is so brave and I'm so proud of her. She is going on an 11-month mission trip next year that will take her to 11 different countries. I will link her blog on the side of my blog so you can keep up with her journey. She already has two posts up. If you feel like helping her out financially, there is a link on her blog for that as well.

What are YOU loving today?


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

I'm loving...

That by the time this posts, I will be in Chicago! I'm here until Saturday afternoon. I'm super excited, I have a lot of things planned while I'm here! :) I can never just go on vacation and relax, I have to be doing something all the time. :)

I'm loving...

That my parents had a great 60th anniversary party this past weekend. We surprised them by letting them know we were sending them on a cruise in January (that's the one I'm going on). Well, my dad knew about it, my mom was surprised. All six of their kids were at the party and all seven great-grandchildren were there too. I think about six grandchildren were missing from the party (yes, I have a HUGE family).

My dad used to play the ukulele and sing to my mom when they were first married. She bought him a ukulele for his birthday! :)
My folks and their six kids

My folks with their favorite child (my siblings usually don't read my blog, so I can get away with saying this here). :)
This gentleman was my dad's best friend in high school. They lost touch during college but my brother somehow found him online last year and got him in touch with my dad via email. Saturday was the first time they had seen each other since 1954.
The pictures below are of me and some of my nieces and nephews (no one escapes a picture with Aunt Rachel). :)
Yes, this is my nephew- he's older than me. He's always called me his "little aunt". :)

I'm loving...

That I'm the great-aunt (notice the hyphen) of these seven awesome kiddos. I'm getting another great-niece in October. :)

I'm loving...

That I was able to go to a Rangers game last week with some friends. I felt like I hadn't been to a game in ages (okay, it was maybe just two weeks, but it felt longer). Lol.

At the game with my friend Larry (his wife, my friend Misti, was out of town, so I was his date). And yes, she knew about it (it was her idea). Lol. :)
My beautiful friend Janie!
Friends enjoying a nice night at the Ballpark
Rangers win!
Hello win column!

What are YOU loving today?