Sunday, July 26, 2009

Summer Lovin

It's been a crazy summer to say the least. I've been known to keep an insane schedule, but I think I have even surprised myself. In the interest of the time I don't have... I've instead decided to simply list out all my Chicago summer loves together... and add when I have time!

So... to continue the list... How do I love thee?? Let me count the ways...

  • Palm trees at Oak Street Beach: Who are we fooling? We're not Miami... but we have Mayor Daley and the Chicago Park District who have the power to bring Miami to Chicago every summer for a I'm sure not-so-small price. But can you put a price tag on awesomeness? Answer is no.
  • Tourists: They stop in front of The Bean... the take pictures in front of the Tribune.... they delay the 151 by asking directions at every stop. But they remind us that we live in the best city ever. 
  • Movies in the Park: If you don't mind the ridiculous crowds and can get downtown early to get a good spot, checking out a movie at Grant Park is the perfect summer night... 
  • Lazy Beach Days: 10 months out of the year, Sundays are reserved for working out, grocery shopping, catching up on DVR or Sunday Funday at the bar. In the summer, if the sun is out, the volleyball nets are up and you are in the city, there's no reason not to slap on a suit and head to the beach with friends. It's a disservice to the city not to. I mean... they did fly in palm trees.
  • Dogs: After June somehow it seems like everyone has a dog. And come August, I get the annual itch to get one myself. And then I remember I don't even have enough time to keep up a regular blog... let alone train a puppy.
  • Weddings: What's not to like about them? Dancing, dresses, toasts, dancing :) And there are no shortage of weddings or wedding parties in Chicago. Need some ideas for wedding decor, visit any hotel on a Saturday... looking for dresses... visit the Lincoln Park Zoo and get a glimpse of the wedding parties taking pictures. Walk down Michigan Ave and you'll likely see a wedding party drive by in a trolley car. 
  • Marathon Trainers: You can't miss them. They can be spotted early Saturday morning between 6 a.m. - 8 a.m. on the running path. They run in packs... the more gear, the better. They will most likely make you feel lazy. You vow to sign up for the Shamrock Shuffle next year and then feel better about yourself :)

More to come... feel free to add some as well!
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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

How Do I Love Thee? Let me Count the Ways...

Summer. The season in Chicago when even that loud cellphone-talker on the bus isn't that annoying... because you're in THAT great of a mood. 

Okay. She's still annoying. But you can walk to work now, so you've actually forgotten about her completely until this blog post. I apologize. 

Summer has finally arrived in Chicago. People can comfortably wear their tank tops and jorts... Air conditioners have been turned on. Dogs are sweaty slobbering throughout the city.

In honor of  my favorite season (and to give me a reason to blog)... I'm going to document one thing every day until Labor Day that illustrates why Chicago is the best city in the world from July through September.

Here we go!

Day #1: Beach Volleyball

Whether your skill level is at a one or ten, this can be enjoyed by all. At it's core... Chicago Sport and Social starts with the social. I've had friends who play just to go to the bar after and then other friends who will walk away angry if someone misses a serve. There's a team for everyone.

And North Avenue beach... once a cold and desolate sand bar that mocked us throughout the winter, now is a spring break-like destination. Fun is had by all. 

One of the highlights of this league is checking out the ridiculous team names. Some of my favorites include:
  • Slam Wow
  • Beach Slap
  • Sets in the City
  • To Kill a Blocking Nerd
  • White Men Can't Bump
  • I'd Hit That
Joined a beach volleyball league? Had a good team name? Share!

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Monday, July 13, 2009

It's Not Saving If You Spend Money

My dad once told me, "it's not saving if you're spending money." But this weekend I saved. I had two of my best friends in town - Christina and Katie. And although we spent a substantial amount of money, I'd like to first focus on how much we saved.

United Colors of Save-a-Whole-Bunch-of-Money Benetton
The recession has hit Armitage and the little, over-priced boutiques around America. It's our duty to our founding fathers and future kin to start spending to get the economy to a normal state of being (and take advantage of these ridiculous sales). The United Colors of Benetton fits into the category of ridiculous sale, taking 70 percent off of all merchandise. Listen carefully. Any item of clothing IN THE ENTIRE STORE under $50 is $20. Below $100 is reduced to $30. Anything more than $100 is $40. My friends and I hit a gold mine. And loved every second of it.

Spent $80
Saved $150

Old St. "Meet-Your-Husband" or "Make-Bad-Drunk-Decisions" Pat's Block Party
For the fourth year in a row I attended The World's Largest Block Party at Old St. Pat's downtown. They do a huge marketing effort around the fact that people meet their future wife or husband at this event. I call that shenanagan's. A lot of things have gone down at this event every year. None of which involve me meeting anyone fabulous. In fact... I would go as far to say it may have done the opposite of helping me to secure a long-term, committed relationship. But I'm not too concerned. What IS great is that you get an awesome outdoor concert from a one-hit-wonder band, eat festival food without a second thought (the day they start putting calories on those menus... is the day i will cry myself to sleep) and five drink tickets for $35. Second great deal of the weekend!

Spent: $35
Saved: My single lifestyle, my concern over the calorie count of festival foods and drinks, fun memories with friends, my appreciation for Ben Folds (minus Five)

We also enjoyed meals at the Fireplace Inn and Cafe Ba Ba Reeba and hitting up Second City's "Brother, Can You Spare Some Change." The weekend was busy... but a blast. 

Anyone else find a deal or two this weekend? Or your future husband/wife? Tell on... 

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Friday, July 10, 2009

Notable Quotables

"The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves."
-Helen Keller
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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Set Above the Rest...

Over the years, my beach volleyball team transformed dramatically from drabo to fabo.

Year One...circa 2007. We had about 20 people. All girls. Pink t-shirts. Very little skill. 

Year One... three-fourths of the way through the season.... our friend Bill was running by the courts during a particularly horrible game... shirtless (yes, that detail IS important)... my friend Cristy literally grabbed him off the running path (mid-run) and forced him to help the unhelpable. 

Don't get too excited. We didn't win that game. We didn't win any games. But all is not lost. We did learn that Bill has volleyball skills.  And friends.

The next year, with the help of Bill and a few other guy friends (and of course our own mad skills) we were able to not only win a few games... but win most of the games.

And so Team Sandy Balls was formed. 

We've progressed past just beach volleyball... and trained throughout the winter. Keeping our name - which really doesn't make a lot of sense, and may be slightly inappropriate when you're in an elementary school gym. 

Now our shining summer has arrived... and we've come to the realization that it may be time to step up from recreation and enter the league of intermediate volleyball. What gave us this idea, you ask?!

Well, it may have something to do with us playing maybe the worst team in the league tonight and, thus, forcing our egos to increase 120 percent. Or the fact that we haven't lost a set. Or our secret longing to get professional uniforms and wear spandex. So many factors. Considerations.

So watch out...Sandy Balls is stepping it up... stepping it up for a little more sweat and a lot more spandex. 

Keep it sandy, Chicago.

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Back By Popular Demand

You know how the phrase goes, "A pictures says a 1000 words." Well, because I've missed a few blogs and a few more words, I thought I'd offer up an explanation of what I've been up to since May 19th... 

I'm officially back!

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