travel

Chi Town: Sips & Bites

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I set forth to conquer some tasty eats in Chicago. I knew Deep Dish was “the thing” and that Hot Dogs were a very Chicago thing to try… Awkwardly enough, I didn’t experience either.

I tried to experience Deep Dish on my last night there… but was extremely disappointed. I ordered a personal size pizza and it was the same quality of Pizza Hut. I was quickly told that I shouldn’t base my perception of Chicago Deep Dish on the one pizza experience. So we will wipe that from my memory. It was dreadful.

Strawberry BlondieMy favorite sip from the trip (ahhh see what I did there??) was the Strawberry Blondie from Tavern on Rush. It was incredible. For a girl who is very picky with alcohol, I give 2 giant thumbs up. I could drink these all day and night. Now if only I can find someone in Dallas who makes the same drink…

 

 

Strawberry LemonadeWhile exploring Navy Pier I decided to stop by a touristy bar and have a drink. Not much beats people watching, especially in a tourist spot. Helllllo people from polar opposite walks of life. Not to mention the bar had some 90s/early 00s jams playing. I may or may not have been caught singing along to SK8TER BOI. I’ll plead the fifth here. .. Back to what’s important! The drink. Frozen Vodka Strawberry Lemonade. Yum. All of the drinks on the menu had a poolside vibe. I can dig it. If I wasn’t exploring the city I could have sat on the patio overlooking the water and sipped on frozen beverages all day.

CupcakesChanging gears a bit, check out this delicious cupcake from Chicago Cupcake. LIKE DAMN. It’s a cheesecake-esque cupcake. What does that mean exactly? Good question, glad you asked! Basically the cupcake had a TO-DIE-FOR crust on the bottom, and the gooey-ness of cheesecake. I opted for the Peanut Butter Cup… and I would do it again. I overheard a couple discussing one that was pure chocolate and how insanely tasty it was. I’m more of a combo-flavor than single-flavor-overload type of girl, so I feel I made the best choice for my taste buds. I would do it again.

I had a pretty decent Italian Sausage Sandwich. It had a much fancier name, but that’s all I recall at the moment. It had green peppers, red peppers, a tiny bit of onion and obviously a sausage, on a pretty tasty bun. It was good. Nothing to call home about though. It was a local dive (or so I assumed) on State Street called The Bar Below. Would I go back? Sure. Would I be insanely jealous if someone went there without me? Nah.

Choc

Not normally one to flip over for breakfast foods… but this was delish. Shoutout to ArgoTea for not having any frozen beverages to satisfy my craving though.. I’m willing to forgive this menu exclusion considering how much my mouth watered before, during and after eating this amazing Chocolate Croissant… and water.

 

The atmosphere of Rockit Burger was perfection. Very hip. Incredibly trendy. It was a great place to enjoy a great meal with the boss-men. I may have sang the praises of the Sweet Potato Fries the entire afternoon. The Rockit Cheeseburger was yummy, too! And let me be frank here, I normally don’t like Mac N Cheese… but the Buffalo Macaroni was melt in your mouth amazing. Try it! Try it ALL! And bring me fries… 🙂

I can’t wait to head back to Chicago and give Deep Dish another shot! And continue to find great local joints around the city. Any suggestions? Let me know!

Cheers, Chicago!

Take Me Back To Paradise…

So it’s officially been a week since sailing away into the ocean and boy do I miss it. I’m a beach girl at heart- no questions asked. I would be the happiest girl in the world opening a bar on the beach and living the laid back life. But, alas, it was simply a vacation and now I’m back in the real world. That doesn’t mean I can’t relive the trip, right? Let’s go with a few highlights…


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Morning workouts; yes, it was vacation and yes, on a cruise you walk miles anyways… but that didn’t stop Kyle and I from waking up in the mornings and heading to the deck for a sweat session. Walking around the track and seeing an ocean made you want to work out. It was so peaceful and beautiful, I could have walked for hours. Even when you were in the gym lifting weights you had an ocean view. How much greater can your workout get? It can’t.

Cozumel; there were inflatables, kayaks, floating group rafts and paddle boards… need I say more? Forget the sand and lounge chairs (which are an obsession of mine), the ocean was where it was at. I spent all day playing around on the toys and falling asleep on the floating mats. Kayaking was great, relaxing and  a workout at the same time. Don’t tell anyone, but I was a rebel and went way past the buoys, whoops. Paddle boarding was a lot trickier than I expected it to be! I couldn’t stand up and paddle for longer than 2 seconds. It was ridiculous… kudos to Cameron Diaz and everyone else who paddle boards for a workout!

Groomsquad; yeah it’s a thing, you jealous? I was the only one in my group (besides the parents) over the age of 21, shoots, only one over 18 even. I had to make friends if I wanted to enjoy my evenings! Unfortunately Kyle couldn’t get into the clubs like he could last year. The first night I met Stephen, a member of the ‘squad and later on he caught my attention when the group was gambling. I made instant cruise-BFFS and bro-ed it out all weekend with 8 of the most fun guys around. Oh, and they’re incredible intelligent- shocker, right? They range from Army boys to engineers to PHD students. They all had great nicknames and were part of DPP’s wedding (or Dylan if you prefer). From dancing at Rex, playing Blackjack and late night pizza eating… they helped make it a trip to remember! Cheers to DPP and his (almost) new wife!

TCU; I wasn’t in Texas, obviously, but that didn’t stop the whole cruise from knowing me as TCU or Texas. For the first time in my life I wasn’t “Casey from Kansas”, I was “Casey from Texas”, “TCU” or “Texas” and boy did I embrace the hell out of that! I introduced cruise-goers to how awesome life is a Horned Frog, dawning TCU gear the whole trip. I had to support my boys at the CWS all weekend because I didn’t know the result of Thursday’s game vs Ole Miss. From little kids to grown drunk adults, the Horned Frog sign became a thing on Paradise. Apparently I was cruise-famous for dawning my purple. The video guys caught me dancing on the deck and participating in contests… and lots of my footage made the cruise loop. Whoops, guess it’s time a real camera man follows me, right? Oh, and people got a KICK out of my “Sorry for Being Horny” tank. GO FROGS!

Contests; karaoke wasn’t really a contest, but it’s being grouped with this. I did some horrible renditions of some tunes, but, I am proud to say I killed She Will Be Loved by Maroon 5. I tried, I failed, I conquered. It was a great mix and plenty entertaining! Speaking of entertaining, I won the Twister contest on the deck, got 2nd in Cornhole and was chosen to play in the Gender Wars and Passenger Scavenger Hunt activity on the deck. I also was the biggest fan of the Hairy Chest Contest… nearly lost my voice screaming during it! Now I’m sure y’all don’t believe that I won anything, right? Don’t worry… I have hardware to prove it!

New frans; don’t get my wrong, the ‘squad was cool, but so were the other fantastic folks I met! From the cornhole boys who beat me in the finals, the kareoke-loving sistas, Jordan who squashed me in the Scavenger Hunt, YO and A who had teh coolest accents and were fabulous from the very get go, the lab tech ladies who I lived vicariously through (helllllo bathroom chats) and of course all the random pals that were made on the deck the last day at sea. Wow. So many people from so many different walks of life, and yet we all end up together on a ship and enjoy the hell out of eachother’s company.

Family; of course I enjoyed getting to spend time with the fambam. Shout out to my dad for not making me pay for anything except my alcohol on the trip (rude to make a broke post grad girl pay to get drunk, right?). But really, it was great getting to spend some time with the family especially since I’m a working girl now and who knows when I’ll get to hang out with them like this again. I wouldn’t trade the late night chats with Kyle for anything. Or even the bickering with the ladies on bored ;). Love them through thick and thin.

Beer; I drank my first beer. I deserve a gold medal.