Monthly Archive: June 2011

Thursday

23

June 2011

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Summatime Spirits

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Summertime in Chicago is what makes winters here somewhat bearable.  I mean, if Kanye West raps about summertime Chi, you know it’s pretty awesome!  When that first warm, sunny day rolls in you really realize how many people live in and visit this city, everyone suddenly comes out of hibernation.  You know to stay away from the North Ave and Fullerton exits on Lakeshore Drive and you know the dog beach is going to be overflowing with dogs whose owners are too busy getting a tan to stop their dog from peeing on your bag or humping your dog.  Even if you’re sitting in your car with the AC on and driving down Clark St or Lincoln Ave, you know its summer because every restaurant, bar, and storefront has their doors and windows open to soak in those precious few perfect days of a Chicago summer.

North Avenue Beach

So what else does summer mean to a vitamin D deprived Chicagoan besides bumper-to-bumper traffic on the Kennedy due to construction?  Beer gardens, street fests, Cubs games, concerts at Ravinia, Lincoln Park Zoo, and the Pritzker Pavilion, Lollapalooza, Taste of Chicago, and just a general “party because winter will be here before I get a base tan” kind of attitude.  Of course, along with all this fun comes boozing…and I have a few of my current fav summertime drinks of choice to share with you!

First off, let me just say that Mike and I are kind of beer snobs.  We like good beer and we’ve tried a lot of it.  9 times out of 10 our restaurant choice is based on how good of a beer menu they have.  I don’t know all the fancy terminology of beer tasting, but I know what I like and go with it.  My personal fav craft brewery is Three Floyd’s right here in Munster, IN.  I’ve been to the brewery a few times, once for their Dark Lord Day last year (insanity!) and a couple other times to eat at their amazing Brewpub.   I don’t think I’ve ever had a beer from them that I didn’t enjoy-I definitely enjoy some more than others (Dark Lord is just not my style), but they are all really awesome beers.  For summer, and really all year-round, my fav Three Floyd’s beer is their Gumballhead which is an American Pale Wheat Ale.  Light and a little hoppy (yes, a wheat beer that is hoppy) with a fruity (citrusy) punch make this a perfect summer sipper.

Gumballhead

Another of my standard summer favs is none other than Summer Shandy, Leinenkugel’s seasonal summertime brew that’s actually mixed with lemonade.  Not exactly your standard picky beer geek’s choice, but hey-I don’t discriminate and just a sip of Shandy gets me in the summertime spirit!

Summer Shandy

New to my summertime repertoire, and a beer I’m SUPER excited about, is Lost Cost Brewery’s Tangerine Wheat.  It actually doesn’t taste much like beer at all…more like tangerine flavored La Croix…but I LOVE it!  Its super light and very tangerine-y… a bottle (or two….or three) of this on a hot summer day is absolutely perfect!

Lost Coast Tangerine

While I have been talking a lot about beer, I can’t leave out my favorite summertime cocktails!  Last summer I was obsessed with Sweet Tea Vodka-Jeremiah Weed or Firefly, just pour some on ice, add some water, finish it off with a little lemon wedge and you’re good to go.  Super easy and has summer written all over it!

Jeremiah Weed

This summer I still love my Sweet Tea, but my latest love is Effen Cucumber Vodka and soda.  It tastes like an actual cucumber-not sweet at all, just totally refreshing-maybe not for everyone, but I’m seriously in love.  Add a little cucumber slice and you’ve got a cucumber infused sparkling drink to sip on while you’re enjoying a balmy summer night in the city!

Effen Cucumber

With all this talk about cocktails and summer, I’m seriously jonesin’ for the weekend to get here!  Is it Friday yet???  Cheers 🙂

Tuesday

21

June 2011

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Life in a Nutshell

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Hellooooooo! Yes, I’m still alive, contrary to what my lifeless blog may have lead you to believe. My life over the past couple of months has been pure craziness and my blog got put on the back burner. So what’s been going on that’s kept me so busy? Well, for starters Mike and I bought a new condo!

LOVE our kitchen!!

We are super excited about our new place, especially since we’re finally getting nice and settled in. The whole thing happened super quick, we weren’t really actively looking for a new place since Mike already owns the place we were living, but we both had the itch to move back to Lakeview, where we both lived when we first moved to Chicago. We found the listing on redfin.com on a Saturday, went to an open house on Sunday, went back for a second showing Monday night and put in an offer and had it accepted that same night-I told you it was crazy! We closed a month later so the whole gathering of obscure documents and statements for the mortgage kept us pretty busy. But now we’re officially moved in and settled and loving not only our new place but the new location as well. I’m pretty sure Ruby loves it too, much longer slippery hardwood hallways to run on!

So, what else have I been up to? Well, training for my first half marathon for one! I’ve always thought it would be awesome to do one but never thought I could stick to the training it required. One of my friends who is getting married next spring talked me into running the Chicago Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon on August 14 and I’m now starting my 5th week of training which is crazy! I was really nervous at first, between my hip flexor issues and my knees I thought for sure I would be done after 1 week, but here I am-still standing! I turn 28 on August 15 and we leave for Greece on August 17, so I figured if I could run this race it would just be the cherry on top of it all. It hasn’t been easy, and I’m definitely not a fast runner by any means, but I just tell myself to keep moving and somehow I’ve managed to keep it up. My feet and my calves feel like springs that are coiled up and can’t be unwound, even with daily stretching, and that’s what has been holding me back from running at a faster pace. But, my insurance covers chiropractic care, and my chiropractor does massage, so I’ve been taking full advantage of that and its been helping.  I’ve also started taking pilates classes at Helios, a studio near our new place and I think those sessions have been helping me as well. This Sunday I have a 6 mile run so let’s hope I can loosen up by then!

Hmmm what else??? Mexico! We went to Riviera Maya for our friends’ wedding a few weekends ago and it was awesome-way too short, but awesome. We stayed at a great all-inclusive resort Thursday-Sunday and not only was it a super fun wedding, it was also just a great long weekend getaway for us. But of course, back to reality.

I’ve also been cruising through some pretty interesting books that talk about the health benefits of eating vegan. Eat to Live, Thrive, and The China Study were all incredibly interesting and informative. I would seriously recommend everyone I know read The China Study-not because I expect everyone to eliminate all animal products from their diet, but because the book contains information that I think everyone needs to have. It is information that the dairy and livestock industries don’t really want people to know about, and have spent some serious dollars to shield the public from. What you choose to do with the information is up to you, I’ve read these books and others and have significantly reduced the amount of animal products I eat-have I totally eliminated them? No, not yet at least, but it’s really made me start to think about what I once thought was a healthy way to eat. Whether or not the book affects you enough to make a change-I don’t really care, I just think the data and information in The China Study needs to be shared, don’t be afraid just because you hear the word “Vegan” associated with the book.

So, in a nutshell that has been my life for the past couple months. Now we’re just enjoying our new home and looking forward to our trip to Wisconsin with Mike’s family for a long July 4th weekend and our Mediterranean cruise with my mom and brother in August. Lots to look forward to, I promise I’ll do my absolute best to keep you in the loop!

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