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Things New Yorkers Dream Of August 9, 2014

Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Apartment Life, Around Chicago, Around NYC, Following Your Dreams, Humor, Life Lessons/Growing Up, Moving, Shopping.
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You may have noticed it’s been a little while since anything new has surfaced at DLIH; if you’ve been reading for a while, you’ll also remember that almost this time last year DLIH made it’s long and exciting move from the bustling city of New York to Chicago. When you get older, your desires for how you want to exist change, you make choices about where you want to live and how you want to structure your life. Your age changes, and so does your quality of life. Chicago was a quality of life move, and while New York is still the most bad-ass, capital of the entire universe, moving can give the opportunities that are sometimes impossible elsewhere. So, if you’re wondering why DLIH has been a little more silent than usual…well, you could say that SK has been spending a little bit of time enjoying the things she always dreamed of.
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Running through your apartment…and not hitting any walls. Moving is relentless, it always finds a way to go wrong, or take forever, or cost you your soul. Living in New York, there are generally three main things you need to take into account; distance to public transportation, rent, and how shady the neighborhood might be. Size, really isn’t an objective since size and rent are proportionate to one another. You get what you get, and you don’t get upset, and you hang lots of shelves and make lots of storage units to house all the things you just don’t have room for. Until you get a place that lets you chase your cat all over the place without hitting a wall, or tripping over a shoe, and has a kitchen you can actually cook Thanksgiving in, and not just try to.

Trying to figure out what to do with you empty closest, and by closets, we don’t mean spare bedrooms. Actual closets. That are empty. And you actually don’t have stuff to put in them. And you wonder what you would possibly even buy to put in them. Staying with that theme – kitchen cupboards that needs more of the “cup” part and less of the “board”.

Doing your own laundry, in your own washer and dryer, in your own apartment, and it’s free. You don’t need to climb flights of stairs, you don’t need to run back to make sure no one steals your unmentionables, you don’t need to go to the nearest convenience store to get change for a dollar and you don’t need to lug it all back home. It’s just there! You can wash one thing, you can wash fifty!

grocery530Driving in a car you own! For people who are not from New York, let me educate you, many teenagers who are raised in Manhattan don’t learn to drive, and those who do, rarely actually exercise that talent. You don’t need to because public transit will get you anywhere, and with the traffic and aggressiveness of driving, you don’t really want to. Second point, owning a car in the city is dirty expensive – between parking, the nicks and dings, and I would assume city taxes alone, it’s not at all profitable – plus gas, not just paying for it, but having to find it. Let me tell you – the first time you drive your own car, to the grocery store, and get everything you need, and put it in the trunk, and then simply carry it back to your fridge, your head will explode with joy. [insert head exploding sound here]

So, it’s been an amazing couple of weeks outside of the DLIH world, but fear not loyal readers – we’re still here, with just a little more space to work with 🙂

 

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Cleanse: Mind, Body, Spirit – The Post May 7, 2014

Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Around Chicago, Cleanse Mind Body Spirit, Cooking, Cross Training for Life, Food/Dining, Health and Fitness, How To, Medical, Review.
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Cleanse: Mind, Body, Spirit

Yes, I’ve been doing a juice cleanse. Read my pre-cleanse and juicing experience here

So here I am, at the end of my juice cleanse! Hooray! And when I say I couldn’t wait to start eating solid food again, I really couldn’t wait. Still, I did what JuiceRX recommended and started slow, and I learned why the system works, very quickly.

I started the morning light with food that my body was used to, fruits. I also had a cup of plain Greek yogurt, as the company recommend it. I held off on all other dairy for another day. For lunch and dinner I stayed with fruits and veggies and started to reincorporate small portions of other things like carbs or condiments. The second day, I started eating cheese again and small portions of meat and fish. It wasn’t until the third day that I went back to my “normal” diet.

The first time I had meat, my stomach really felt like it was going to explode. It was as if the smallest portion made me so full! However, I took this as a good thing, I had definitely gotten used to over eating and now was a good time to kick that habit. The other thing I noticed was that I was much more conscious of my food combinations, I had some soup with my meat or a huge side of veggies with my fish. Prior to the cleanse, I found it really easy to just eat one thing and one thing only. The first time I had dressing, coffee, and tomatoes my body felt like it was a machine in a factory. Churning some kind of industrial waste. If it sounds like a weird, weird sentence, understandably so. What I mean is that my body definitely can tell what is natural and what is not. More so than being refreshed and rebooted from my cleanse, I felt that it made me so aware of what I was putting in my body.

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Tuna with Kale, Salad, Sweet Potatoes with Avocado, Kale Chips – Look at all that green! Yum!

When I started eating again, I found it easy to make better decisions. These are the food choices I used to make, years before I fell of my healthy eating bandwagon. When traveling, I’ll opt for a fruit cup or veggie platter and granola bar instead of a Subway sandwich and chips. I also started reading the ingredients in things, working to eat clean and only buy happy meat and dairy products (pasteurized or free-range). I also switched to all organic produce, I now exclusively shop at Whole Foods and Trader Joes and watch how much fat and processed goods I am putting in my body, rather than how many calories. This lifestyle doesn’t just make me feel healthier, it makes me feel better as a person, like when you get into college, you feel like your taking a step in the right direction.

I don’t think I’m going to give up everything – baseball games are for beer and hotdogs, movies are for popcorn, weddings are for cake, and late nights are for chips and chocolate. It’s not really about cutting all these things out for me, it’s about making good choices 85% of the time so that 15% of bad choices don’t win the battle of the cholesterol. I might not feel this overwhelming feeling of being refreshed from my cleanse, but just because I don’t feel on top of the world doesn’t mean I don’t think what I did wasn’t beneficial and it hasn’t given me a good boost to be healthy again. It hasn’t just affect my eating, it’s made me more motivated and conscious about working out, walking instead of driving, taking the stairs, over all healthy habits that are easy to fall out of.

If you’re considering a juice cleanse, I highly recommend it. It’s going to benefit you in the long run, and you won’t regret it. Sometimes you need a kick in the pants to get where you want to be, this did it for me!

Cleanse: Mind, Body, Spirit – The Juicing! April 29, 2014

Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Around Chicago, Cleanse Mind Body Spirit, Cooking, Cross Training for Life, Food/Dining, Health and Fitness, How To, Medical.
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Cleanse: Mind, Body, Spirit

DAY 1
I woke up and I was HUNGRY! I started with just some water. The juices are supposed to be spread out every 2 or so hours after your breakfast drink. I didn’t want to start too early and then feel hungry at night. I had my first drink around 9am – Spicy Lemonade. It was so good! I couldn’t help myself from downing it in just a few minutes. Of course, when you start something like this you think it won’t taste good or it’ll be hard to not drink them all from hunger, but honestly, once I had one I felt very comfortable and didn’t want to eat or drink anything else. For every juice I had, I refilled the bottle with filtered water so I would be sure to get plenty of water. This helps clear out toxins and the natural sugars that the drinks may contain (Yes, you will go the bathroom a lot!). Around 11:15 I felt hungry again, so I had my Liquid Lipo. I don’t like cinnamon, so I didn’t love it at first but after a pic20140427120924few sips it became more familiar and I had no problem getting it down. I was surprised with how not-hungry I was throughout the morning and afternoon. I wouldn’t say I felt full, but I was very content and I didn’t feel like I was watching the clock, waiting for my next juice. I also felt very alert and awake, contrary to how I thought I’d feel, lethargic and tired. I had loads of energy! Go figure! I didn’t really need my next drink until after 1. I didn’t like my Lunchtime Detox at all. It was likable enough to drink and get down, but it definitely took me about an hour to drink the entire thing. The whole day had been great until about 4, that’s when I got my first whiff of food. UGGGH, hamburgers, chips, BBQ, macaroni and cheese, I wanted it all! It was tough, really, really tough. I hurried home to basically hide myself away from sights and smells of yummy food. I wouldn’t say I was hungry, I was just tempted by all the goodness around me. I was also tired, at this point, of consuming sweet tasting things and just wanted a taco, full of salt and sodium and spice. sigh. I pushed through and once I got home, had my fourth drink of the day, Cucumber-Mint Electrolyte Boost. At this point, I was pretty “hungry” and by “hungry” I mean that I was craving all sorts of things – hamburgers, pizza, chips, soup, even just things like crackers, but I didn’t actually feel hungry, my stomach felt full. My fifth drink was The Evening Green – as green as it sounds! That held me over until about 10sih. My final drink was Strawberries ‘n Cream Cashew Milk and it was so super yummy! Like a strawberry milkshake! I couldn’t finish the entire thing, so I left some of it as a snack for the next day.

DAY 2
Day two went much the same as day one. I kept the order of my drinks and continued to drink lots of water. I found that the busier I kept myself the easier it all was. I even went out to a bar, with food, and was able to just have water. Towards the end of the day, I found that I was less and less able to finish the drinks. Part of this was probably attributed to the fact that I was simply tired of drinking juice and would have rather had a V8 or something not so sweet, the other part was probably due to the fact that my body had gotten used to it’s digestive hiatus and didn’t require as much liquid to feel full. I also noticed how some of the drinks I wasn’t crazy about the day before, I liked today, but then some of the others that I felt were okay I really didn’t like anymore. My tastebuds were definitely more aware, which was an interesting affect I didn’t now the cleanse would have.

DAY 3
I’ll admit, by day 3 I was tired of doing this thing! But I didn’t want to just stop. When I was reading reviews and doing research about juice cleanses, the one overwhelming thing I read was that people felt so much better, different and energized while doing the cleanse, especially by day 3. I felt the same, the same as I always do. I had no doubt that what I did was great for my body, and the reset I needed, but it also made me confident in my daily diet, to know that I was eating healthy and balanced enough that my body didn’t need a huge restart, just a little kick. When you’re not feeling this overwhelming difference, it’s hard to keep going, but but by day 3, your body and your mind are already used to what’s going on, so it’s worth getting through it. While I was finishing my last round, I made a healthy shopping list and went to Whole Foods to get my post foods. I also wanted to buy more healthy food, if this cleanse taught me anything, it’s that going back to my old healthy ways was worth it!

Stay tuned for my Post Cleanse write up, in the meantime, read about how I got here!

Cleanse: Mind, Body, Spirit – Prep Days April 26, 2014

Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Around Chicago, Cleanse Mind Body Spirit, Cooking, Cross Training for Life, Food/Dining, Health and Fitness, How To, Medical, Review.
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Cleanse: Mind, Body, Spirit

Believe it or not, doing a cleanse does not mean you can chow down on Taco Bell the night before and devour a pint of ice cream the morning after it’s done. Similar to putting a gold fish in a new fish tank, you have to ease your body into it so it doesn’t go into shock. If you’re eating funions one night and then green juice the next, your digestive system is going to flip out! The company I ordered from, Juice RX, was really great in both prepping you for your cleanse and also helping you come off it. I followed a lot of their tips and combined some of my own knowledge of nutrition.

I started to give up things in a tier format; the first day I gave up caffeine (coffee and otherwise), all meat and processed cheeses,any bottled drinks or brand name juices, sweets or junk foods. I had very limited dairy and very limited carbs, either of which I only ate in healthy forms. Throughout the next couple of days, I gave up more and more of these processed things, opting for things like Almond Milk and Olive Oil instead of milk or dressing. One of the things I had a really hard time with the first day was that I wasn’t dieting, or starving myself – I kept feeling really hungry and kept denying my body food because I thought I was prepping it. Then it clicked, that as long as I was eating lots of raw fruits and veggies, and other healthy things, I didn’t need to be hungry. I drank a lot of water all throughout the day which helped me feel less hungry and got ride of toxins, plus helped get my body ready for more liquids and less food.

Another thing it took me,until day two of prep, to realize was WHY I kept feeling so hungry. I remembered a couple years ago I was told by my nutritionist that, because of my height, weight, and the healthy food I was eating, my metabolism was burning food fast so I had to eat every three hours. When I eat a bagel and coffee, soup and salad, and then Chinese food for dinner, it takes hours to digest everything, however, when I’m eating these smaller meals of leafy greens, fruits, chia puddings, and water, everything is burning faster. Again, the goal wasn’t to not eat, it was to monitor my healthy food intact. After I realized this I started having my three normal meals and then 3-4 small healthy snacks when I got hungry i.e. A 1/2 cup of rice, granola bar, trail mix, apple, carrots and hummus. The entire Juice RX website advocates that you shouldn’t stop your normal routines or force yourself to do things you don’t want to, it’s just about making better choices.

I’m human, so, I cheated. I wanted to mention this specifically because I didn’t want people out there to think this was easy, like I could just sit next to my co-workers eating Cheetos and not want one. I got one Starbucks coffee, I was just craving it so bad! After I got it, believe it or not, I felt a lot better. Know what your body really needs and know what it simply wants. It was the only time I fell off of my prep routines and I made the choice, then and there, to not beat myself up about it.

That night, my juices arrived via delivery. I checked them out, and then set them up in the fridge.

Even my cat loved the juices from Juice RX!

Even my cat loved the juices from Juice RX!

I will be honest, the night before I started my juice cleanse, I freaked out. After all, when was the last time I didn’t eat AT ALL for THREE DAYS! I was scared it would be hard, I’d feel uncomfortable, or that I wouldn’t like it and want to give up but not want to feel defeated, like I failed. I was really nervous but then seeing my actual juices made me feel more excited than anything else and ready to get this show on the road!

Tomorrow morning I start my actual juice cleanse, let’s see how it goes!!!

 

Cleanse: Mind, Body, Spirit – Pre Day 1 April 20, 2014

Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Around Chicago, Cleanse Mind Body Spirit, Cooking, Food/Dining, Health and Fitness, How To, Medical, Review.
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Cleanse: Mind, Body, Spirit

Everything they’ve ever told you is true – it’s harder to lose weight as you get older, your metabolism slows down, it’s harder to find the time to workout, significant others change your schedule, and your habits. Whether we’re excited about it or avoiding it, we are getting older, even though we’re still young. It was about one year ago that I started to be really bothered by the differences in myself. Before I started dating my boyfriend, I was super healthy. I was only cooking for myself so meal portions were small, and only what I wanted to eat, I ate out less and, when I did, I drank less and only ordered enough food for one, no appetizers or desserts. I was less tempted to eat chips, popcorn, or soda because it was never around. When I started cooking for two, I had to factor in what he liked or what he was eating, slowly but surely, my super nutritious diet disappeared to something that was healthy, but lackluster. Every time I’d try to get back on the wagon, I’d fall off in a couple of days or a week. When I noticed the changes, they weren’t really in my weight or figure,I hadn’t gained, but rather, my once toned muscles had redistributed to something other than their former glory, and my clothes just didn’t fit right. I was getting tired faster, my stamina had gone down, and overall, I just felt blah. To everyone else, I looked great and I was a ball of energy, but I know my body better than anyone. The kicker was a couple of months ago when my body just started to give up on me. First, I started to breakout like I was 14. My forehead was a connect the dots work sheet. My sleeping schedule would be on one week, off the next, some days I was so exhausted I’d fall asleep on the couch and others I couldn’t get to bed until 2am. Nothing was really helping and with my work schedule doing nothing but speeding up, I knew I had to make my body reset, it was in the middle of a quarter-life hiccup. The only way to do this was to force myself, and my organs, to do it.

After much research and discussing it with my family, I decided I would do a juice cleanse. (* I don’t believe in all cleanses. There are a lot of fads out there that do nothing but harm your body. I had always been interested in detox but never found a system that I felt comfortable trying, or bought into. To reset your body you have to clear it of toxins but you also have to fuel it with the good stuff, only now are there programs out there that have these options). I was feeling so yucky inside and so bothered by myself that I was willing to commit and excited to start. I also knew it wouldn’t be easy and I’d probably hate it, and everyone else, after not eating for 24 hrs, but I also trusted that what I would be putting in my body was good for it, so even if I was hungry and irritable, I would find comfort in the fact that I was doing something really beneficial.

This is something I’ve wanted to try for a while, so I want to of document my journey, to show others that a juice cleanse is possible and healthy if you do it right.

Pre- Day 1

I looked up a lot of different juice cleanses in my area, after settling on one, I read reviews, blogs and instructions about it. Everyone said that pre and post cleanse, you should begin to take certain foods out of your diet and move towards vegan eating so your body doesn’t feel shocked. I use Noom to document my food intake, it’s a weight loss app but I use it to monitor how many greens I eat a day. Using this, I knew I’d be able to, progressively, get closer and closer to a clean diet in the three days prior to my cleanse. This would give me a totally of 9 days, 3-pre, 3-cleanse, and 3-post. I went online and found super healthy, detoxing recipes which I could incorporate into my diet. I picked ones I knew I would A. like and B. eat and made a shopping list. I shop at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s since they ensure the most variety of organic and healthy foods. After I was done planning my grocery list, I made a second list, a list of everything I wanted to eat/drink/consume today since it would be my last indulgence for a while. It included all sorts of things; chocolate cake, Taco Bell, coffee, processed meats and cheeses, Chinese Food, alcohol. While having my final indulgences throughout the day, I prepped the food I needed for the coming days and planned what I would be eating when.

Finally, I finished the night by starting my detox with a detox lemonade to get my system going. I drank an entire 8 oz glass of this 1 hour before bed. This way, it didn’t keep me awake and it also ran through my system so I didn’t need to keep getting up in the middle of the night. I made myself get in bed at a reasonable hour, even if I wasn’t tired, I was in bed, forcing my body to calm down and get back into a normal body clock.

Keep reading to find out how the rest of my detox/cleanse journey goes!…

The Funny Story of Beastie Boys, Iowa, and Other People November 7, 2013

Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Around Chicago, Around NYC, Family, Real World.
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The greatest part of life is the experiences you see, find and make. Even cooler than that, are the experiences and people who are intertwined together, never to meet or occur again, but they leave a permanent scar, an imprint, on your life. The times we will always tell stories about, and never forget, because they were that cool.

I believe that experiences that amazing are worth telling about, so in a non-intentional attempt to veer from the DLIH norm, I’m going to tell you a story about one of the coolest, weirdest, funniest things that’s ever happened to me.

Last year, my cousin came to visit me for a one night lay-over in New York. We grew up together but rarely get to see each other. This was the first time we ever hung out as adults and we were super excited. Rewind about fifteen years — little known fact about SK, I grew up in Iowa and even though I left when I was ten, it holds an extremely special place in my heart and I will defend it to the death. So, here we are, two Iowans in Brooklyn and my cousin tells me she’s brought me a gift. It was a shirt with the Beastie Boys song lyrics written across it, with an outline of Iowa and a star indicating a Brooklyn, Iowa. Apparently, there are Brooklyn’s everywhere. So, instantly I thought this was the coolest shirt I’d ever seen and didn’t care if other people didn’t get it, because I got it and it meant something to me.

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Everywhere I wore the shirt, it was kind of hit, I got asked about it every single time. One night, I was watching an MSU game at an Upper West Side bar and the bartender kept smiling at me. I was there with my boyfriend, so it was really uncomfortable. Finally, when I went to get another beer, he smiled at me and while getting my drink said “I love your shirt! I’ve been trying to get your attention all night! That’s basically my favorite song ever, and my wife and I just named our baby girl Brooklyn!” The creeper bartender was actually the coolest person ever! Later on, my boyfriend ordered me a brownie, the bartender asked “What, is it her birthday or something?” he said, “No…she just really loves ice cream”. That night went down as one of the most famous, for many reason, all revolving around the shirt.

In August, I moved to Chicago. Well, so much for the shirt, people either won’t get it, they won’t think it’s cool cause I’m not longer in NY, or they’ll just think I’m some Iowan trying to be special. Until about the third day I lived here. I was in the local Starbucks, minding my own Pumpkin Spice Latte business and the cashier wouldn’t stop looking over at me. When I finally got up to order, I began “Can I please have a…” But she interrupted, “Oh my God! I love, love, love your shirt! I’m from New York and I lived in Brooklyn!…oh wait…Ohhhh my gosh, I’m so confused, it says Brooklyn, but that’s not Brooklyn..I’m so confused?” I explained, that it IS Brooklyn, and the lyrics are ABOUT Brooklyn, but the outline is Iowa, a Brooklyn, IA. I explained my story, not to the amusement of the people in line behind me, and she went about ringing me up and making my drink. The coolest part? This, the drink she made me.

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Yes, I thought about getting it encased in a plexi box and keeping it forever, for sheer coolness, and the memory, but alas, a photo will have to do.

So what’s next? All this cool stuff happened when I least expected, so planning would ruin all the fun, but I will tell you this: My cousin and I are making a trip to Brooklyn, Iowa. If nothing else, I will visit the namesake of my great shirt, and all the great stories it has brought me. Live life like you’ve got a lucky t-shirt, never know where you’ll end up.

Coming Out of Your Shell…One Inch at a Time September 27, 2013

Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Around Chicago, Fashion/Clothes, Life Lessons/Growing Up, Shopping.
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When you move with a cat, experts advise you to put the cat in a single room, with their liter box, and food and water, close the door and leave them in their to acclimate. Well, we never did that because we think our cat is a princess, but that’s not the point. The point is that when it comes to change, I’m very much like a cat. I wouldn’t go as far as saying I don’t like change, but I’m very slow to adjust, I like to keep in my pattern until I feel comfortable to venture out on my own.

When I first moved here, I really wanted to go out and experience everything, but I didn’t. I stayed in my 5 block radius and only went places I knew. I tried a new coffee place, but after not knowing how to order, I retracted back into my shell and went back to Starbucks where I know all the cool kid vocab. However, slowly, overtime, and without any pressure, I began to wonder what was outside of my little room with my food and water, and I felt comfortable to explore without freaking out that I didn’t know what “L” train to take.

I think branching out, whether it’s because you moved, you’re trying to start a new chapter, or you just want some space, can be hard. Really, doing anything alone and without knowledge of how it will end is hard, hence, this post. I felt like if I could do it, it would inspire others to also take a step outside of  their safety circle. Come with me on my adventure…
imageDay One: When you gotta go, you gotta go…to Target. And when you’re significant doesn’t feel like driving you and you never got around to learning stick shift, welllll your option is to go or to not go. So, uncomfortable, and awkwardly pretending I don’t need to look at the train map while I do, I headed out. I went, I bought, I conquered, and then I went to TJ Maxx, in a totally different part of town. Bonus points: I took the bus home. I’m starting to feel like a local, and local who probably looks terrified and smells of tourist.

Day Two: I’m coming back from the gym, the place I frequent the most except my home, because it’s basically my home anyway. I’m alone. I’m starving. My significant other ate without me. My option is to go to the sushi place I’ve now been to three times in two weeks and the people are starting to recognize me…in that bad way. So, I sucked it up and I went to Whole Foods. An entire three blocks away from the farthest point I’ve been EVER, near my apartment. And it was great! (Minus the guy outside Whole Foods who tried to offer me drugs, a true rarity for my area. Maybe he really likes Quinoa, hm?)

Day Three: Once you’ve done it, third times a charm, hardly seems like work at all. So, I headed downtown all by my lonesome and actually enjoyed my trip down. You think being a New Yorker, mass transit comes easy to me, but quite the contrary. When you’re in a city and you don’t know every single stop on every single line, it’s like a pattern of panic but maps on smartphones ease that anxiety. So, I bought some work clothes for 40% off, and got convinced by the nicest saleswoman ever to buy a brand new lipstick shade, I discovered a bunch of steak houses I can’t afford to go to, and a giant mall on the Magnificent Mile that has a Potbelly on the top floor (hidden treasures!..A Potbelly next to a Cache, go figure). Before I knew it, it was 6:30 and I was on my way home, like it was any other day, like I live here. Feeling like I finally live here.

People think that if you’re courageous, and ambitious, and adventurous that you’re never scared. People think that when you jump into the deep end you didn’t give a second thought, but the truth is that before we even get to the diving board we analyze every outcome, push the fear down way, way low, and right before we finally jump, we put on a brave face to show everyone we aren’t a scared little turtle, we’re a cheetah! Getting used to change takes time…let it, before you know it, it won’t be change, it will be what feels normal.

Chicago…DLIH style November 16, 2012

Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Around Chicago, Review, Traveling.
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DLIH is in Chicago! Or at least we were. Over the last few years many of our loyal followers have originated from Chicago and we’re happy and proud to have strong DLIH fans there, but for those of you who have never been, here’s a taste of the DLIH experience.

Don’t be afraid to be a tourist, unlike some other cities, a lot of the tourism in Chicago is free of charge. You can start off at the Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park, again totally free! Make your way through the gardens and across the street to Millennium Park and see the world famous Chicago Bean or, its real name, Could Gate! Definitely a highlight to your trip. Don’t forget to check out Navy Pier, it’s a small amusement park with games and rides. The ferris wheel only cost us $6 each and was a ten minute scenic view of the city, beautiful, and on nice day a refreshing repose from all the waking you’ll be up to!
The Chicago skyline is pretty impressive, different from New York but just as versatile! If you want an ariel perspective make sure to wait in the moderately long line to go up to the Willis Tower (Sears Tower). Again, it’s cheaper than comparable buildings in other cities and if you’re feeling daring you can actually go out on the bullet proof, glass ledge box which lets you look straight down! Not for the phobic or queasy but if you can muster up the courage, definitely an experience and well worth the line! Another building not to miss is be Hancock Tower, go up to the Signature Room or Signature Lounge where you get a 360 view of the city while sipping a cocktail or eating dinner. It’s pricier than your average bar but a view worth every penny.

Have you ever heard the saying that a city is like a museum??? No different for Chicago, part of our great experience was just walking around downtown, on the Magnificent Mile, Michigan Avenue and other, different major streets. We found the Chicago Theater, Joffrey Ballet, Harold Washington Library, and some Midwest specific coffee shops and fast food places we were dying to try. We also invested in three day CTA passes and used the L train to get around and investigate other neighborhoods. Wicker Park and Lincoln Park are great, chill neighborhoods to hang out in for brunch or drinks; we met a lot of awesome locals who gave us more recommendations. Also checkout Old Town, River North, and of course Wrigleyville for the Cubs stadium! Everyone in Chicago is really friendly and helpful with directions and advice.

The restaurants in Chicago are as diverse as the activities, rather than listing off a bunch of out-of-town recommendations, I suggest asking locals, a concierge or searching Yelp. There are so many great places it would be a shame to limit you to where we went. Try to hit a different neighborhood every night and eat local food like deep dish pizza or Matilda Belgian ale.

Before you leave, don’t forget to walk along Lake Michigan! You’ll find the beach just feet away from the city. It’s a surreal view to be standing on crystal clear, blue waters with sand in your toes and then turn around to see an amazing skyline with the hustle and bustle far enough away that you still feel relaxed. Walk the entire path or sit and relax as you watch the boats go by.

Traveling is one of the best gifts you can give yourself and going on vacation doesn’t have to mean a fancy resort with a beach side cocktail lounge. So, if you’re looking to get away for a little bit, but not trying to go jet skiing every afternoon, check out Chicago! It has a lot to offer for a day or for a few!