Bon Voyage Chicago!

Today marked the end of my HLS weekend in Chicago. Boy does time flyyyy when you’re having fun!

The morning got started with a fun run. Nienke and I decided to start our run a little earlier than the rest of the group, to try to avoid the blazing heat & humidity that we encountered earlier this weekend. It was a solid effort, but it really didn’t make much difference. We have no idea how far we went, but we’re guessing maybe between 3-4 miles, with some stops to chat with fellow “summiters” in between.

Sweaty Ladies!

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WE LOVE CHICAGO!!”

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A sweaty run required a cool beverage to refuel…apparently in monstrous proportions. Woops, I guess next time I’ll order the medium! Probably had about 2/3 of this bad boy before calling it quits.

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After grabbing my caffeine fuel monster, we headed over to the Bon Voyage Breakfast sponsored by Thomas’ Bagel Thins. The concept was so fun: pick from a bunch of sweet & savory toppings to create your own cream cheese spread.

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Can you guess whether I went sweet or savory?

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C’mon, was there really any question? 😉 Starting with a low-fat cream cheese base, I went with a combo of honey, brown sugar, raisins, almonds, & a pinch of salt. Paired together with a cinnamon raisin Bagel Thin, it was oh.so.good.

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Along with more fresh berries. YUM!

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Eventually, it was time to part ways, and make my trek back home. I got to the airport with plenty of time to spare before my flight, so I grabbed some lunch and got settled in. A mixed veggie salad + a $3.79 (!!!) coconut water. 😯 OOOOF.

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Today’s Airport Breakdown:

  • Arrived at airport @ 12:00.
  • Ate lunch.
  • Flight was scheduled for 2:55 – got bumped, due to my standby status…at least my luggage made its way out. Travel Fail #1
  • Another mini meltdown…
  • Pity party ensued…
  • Ran to Ben & Jerry’s for a big ‘ol cup of Oatmeal Cookie Chunk ice cream. It made me feel better, I don’t care what anyone says.
  • Flight attempt #2 @ 4:30 – flight BOOKED. Courtney 0, Standby 2
  • Bought Wi-Fi to keep me busy, while I wait to attempt flight #3 @ 8:35…

<– ME

Please keep your fingers crossed for me! I think I’m stuck in a really bad movie this weekend…what do ya think? 🙄

On a positive note, at least I got all caught up on blog posts from this weekend!

Chicago On Foot

Chicago has been such a blast so far! After my horrific travel day, things are definitely a lot better. 😀

Yum Universe Party

Last night, a bunch of us headed over to check out the Yum Universe Launch Party.

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The decor inside was totally pretty snazzy, along with some really fun appetizers and drink samplings.

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Cocktails!

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Kath, Megan, & Me 🙂

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Unfortunately, the party had such a great turnout, that it was a little difficult to make it through any lines to sample the goods. I didn’t get to try any appetizers, but they definitely looked tasty!

This morning, a group of us headed out bright and early for a little “blogger breakfast” at The Corner Bakery Cafe.

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Tina actually got yelled at for snapping photos of the inside of the cafe! Really?!? C’mon, we’re food bloggers, sheesh!

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I started things off with a delicious iced coffee (yes, in typical “Courtney Fashion”).

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For food, I decided to go with the Chilled Swiss Oatmeal, which was chilled European breakfast cereal made with rolled oats, fresh green apples, bananas, currants, dried cranberries, low fat yogurt, and skim milk. Super creamy and delicious…loved it!  

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Whatever this bread was that came with it was totally fantastic. Crispy, sweet, full of raisins. YUM!

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Heading back to the hotel. 🙂 Hi Gabriela!!

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Everyone kind of had different plans for the morning, so while some people hit up some hot yoga (which I didn’t think I was ready to tackle again) and some visited the gym (wasn’t feelin’ that…) Hillary, Nienke, & I went on our own little walking tour of Chicago.

We saw so many great sites, and probably ended up covering a little over 3 miles walking…site seeing + workout in one. Saweeeet. 🙂

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Our hotel…

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Buckingham Fountain…

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“I’m so excited to be in Chicago!!!” 😀

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Art Institute of Chicago

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Crazy “Water Walls”

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The Bean!! I was completely intrigued by this thing…it’s so unique.

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The Chicago River (P.S. – My Bachelorette fans should find this place familiar…date with Frank??)

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More Chicago…

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The “Eyeball” – freaky, right? 😉

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Walking for 3+ miles definitely makes you work up a sweat AND an appetite! The three of us met up with Kath, Tina, Meghann, & Emily to try to find some lunch. Unfortunately, the task was not as easy as we thought and we ended up walking at least another 1-2 miles until we eventually found The Berghoff.IMG_3985 

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The inside was pretty classy and definitely gave off an “Old Chicago” vibe.

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Right after sitting, our table was given some bread to share.

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My plate:

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A nice cold beer sounded totally perfect after walking in the blazing heat, so Kath, Hillary, & I opted to split an Amber Ale, which was quite tasty.

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For my lunch, I jumped all over the Roasted Sweet Potato Panini.

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The sweet potatoes were pretty darn fantastic, and the chips were out of this world. They kind of reminded me of Saratoga chips, but maybe better? 😉 We all decided (since every one of us, except for Kath, ordered it) that it would have been better with a different kind of bread. I’ll bet their rye bread would have been phenomenal!

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And of course, what meal wouldn’t be complete without a stop for some fro-yo??

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Hi Tina! 🙂

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I ordered a small Key Lime Pie, which was non-fat vanilla infused with key lime extract and topped with graham cracker crumbs. Absolutely AMAZING. :mrgreen:

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We just picked up our swag bags, and I am SUPER PSYCHED at all the GOODIES that are loaded into these things. SO FUN!

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Time to go get pretty for the Cocktail Party! 😀

A Shaky Start…

Well my friends, let me tell you, it has been QUITE a day!

Luckily, things started off pretty smoothly with our drive from Albany over to Hartford, CT. Jay and I got to chat along the way and watch the sun rise, which came along with the prettiest colored pink sky.

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I laughed to myself when Jay brought up the saying, “Red……….” but I guess the same holds true for travelers…

I got to the airport in CT with no problems, and even had time to spare with checking in. However, my trip through security brought about roadblock #1. You see, I thought I had done really well with my packing, making sure that all liquids were the correct size, stored correctly, etc… Well apparently, I wasn’t thinking that hair products were included in that (DUH) and I had them in my carry-on. Before I knew it, BOOM, confiscated. Looks like somebody just made out with a brand new bottle of Redken hairspray and foam mousse. Hey Mom, looks like I’m going to need another one of those when I get back! 😳

I shook it off, realizing things could have been a lot worse, and decided to get myself settled with some breakfast. I made a pit-stop at Dunkin’ Donuts, ordering a veggie egg white flatbread sandwich, along with a toasted almond flavored iced coffee. It was my first time trying the toasted almond flavor and I must say, I am definitely a fan! 🙂

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After boarding my plane, on came along roadblock #2. Our flight, which was due to connect in Baltimore, was delayed due to storms. Ok, no prob, we’ll just sit it out for a few extra minutes. Then the pilot announced that the Baltimore airport was shut down. Then I panicked. Then I realized I’d already been sitting on the plane for 35 minutes…

Finally, we were in the air, 45 minutes behind schedule. By the time we got into Baltimore, my connecting flight was long gone…roadblock #3. And after talking with the women at the counter, (who were incredibly rude by the way!) I was basically told that since my tickets were “Standby” passes, I was lowest on the priority list and it would be highly unlikely that I would leave on a Southwest flight today. Roadblock #4…awesome.

Following a mini breakdown in the middle of the Baltimore airport and a handful of calls to Jay, we figured that my best bet would be to just buy a ticket on another airline. At first I was angry, but then I just said “screw it” – I wanted OUT!

So I bought my ticket to Chicago and hopped onto another airline…which I then found out only flew into O’Hare Airport. My checked luggage was on its way to Midway Airport. Roadblock #6. Another mini-meltdown ensued. Followed by more phone calls. Which finally led to a game plan, thanks to Jay. A little research determined that a shuttle ride from one airport to the other would be my best bet, so that was the plan. Once I was finally able to sit down and take a breath, it was already 12:00 (a full hour after I should have already been in Chicago) and I realized I was hungry.

I snacked on about a gazillion handfuls of Vanilla Goldfish Grahams…

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…and a Banana Streusel muffin that I packed for myself.

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Finally, I was Chicago-bound!

To give you the short version of the rest of my day…

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  • Arrived in Chicago after sitting between a man was nauseating B.O. and a woman who was constantly sneezing and blowing her nose.
  • Enjoyed a Sprite Zero, because it kept my nose out of other nauseating smells…

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  • Went to grab the shuttle that Jay arranged for me…after waiting an extra 20 minutes and calling, turns out the driver got a FLAT TIRE and was not coming to for pick up.
  • Attempted another shuttle and missed it by 5 minutes.
  • Rode on the “L” train for my first time solo…sat surrounded by a guy who had no idea about “personal space” and a group of young teenagers bragging about their latest theft binge…
  • Took the train back to Midway from O’Hare to get my luggage that was left.
  • Picked up a hommus plate from Starbucks because I was absolutely FAMISHED…

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  • Finally met up with Hillary at Midway, got back on the “L” and headed to the hotel.
  • Just finished getting ready, and now we’re off to a par-taryyyy!

Thanks for reading about my horrific travel day. Let’s hope for smooth sailin’ from here on out! 😀