Our week in Chicago

Okay, it was technically 10 days but “week” sounded much better in the title of this post ;)

Kyle, Dean and I recently arrived back home from a wonderful time in Chicago. It was a fun and busy trip. I wore makeup more often than not (shocking!), fit in a ton of running (yay!), saw a bunch of friends, and enjoyed two nights downtown. Because it was 10 full days, I’m not going to recap it day-by-day but instead share bits and pieces of the entire trip.

My little plane lover – Getting ready for a flight to Chicago!

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Lotsa running and new-to-me fitness classes – It was fun to try new things and get outside on a few cool(ish) runs. I also exceeded my goal of running 20 miles in the month of July! YEAHH!!! Currently up to 23 miles for the month :)

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(Running on the lakefront will always be my favorite!)

Date nights and fun outings with Chicago friends :)

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We visited some friends who are movie directors (I know, so cool, right?!) and Dean had to wear the director’s megaphone on his head, LOL.

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Wine, obviously…

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And so much delicious food!!! My pants were a bit snug at the end of this trip, LOL.

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Naptime snuggles and park time and a visit to the Lincoln Park Zoo with my munchkin <3

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First time visiting Lincoln Park Zoo to this last week (gahhh!!)

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Mani-pedi times 2… #spoiled

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Last but definitely not least, wedding fun!

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Back home… #gorgeous

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Have you taken any fun trips this summer? When was the last time you were in Chicago?

Tuesday Thoughts

Dean is sleeping. I’m all caught up on work (for the moment…). And I haven’t posted in a hot minute. Looks like it is time to blog!

I’m lacking any and all genius blogging topics at the moment, so how about a collection of the thoughts currently rolling through my head? Also, forewarning… There are zero photos in this post. Whoops!

We are heading to Chicago in a few days and I’m excited! I’m excited for the time in Chicago but I am NOT excited to pack (UGH – I currently have a big pile of my items and Dean’s items… send good packing vibes!) or for the actual flight. Y’all know how I feel about flying… and flying with a toddler is going to make it about 1,000x worse. I’m hoping he’s in a cuddle-bug mood for the 2 hours we are in flight!!

My friend just signed up as a Thirty-One consultant. I know nothing about the actual company or the items they sell, but I’m allll about supporting my friends’ businesses. Any suggestions? Or Thirty-One lovers? I’m 31 so I’m guessing I’ll like all of it, LOL.

Y’all seemed to be interested in my recent carb cycling post. I’m glad I didn’t come off as too crazy ;) I like to try new trends as long as they aren’t dangerous – and I think this was a great way to assess my carbohydrate consumption and get it back in check with where it should be.

One of my July monthly goals is to run 20 miles. I know it may not seem like a lot to many of you, BUT it is summer in Florida and my running comes to a screeching halt in the hot months. I ran a 5k yesterday AM and am looking to finish out the rest of my 20 miles (ummm, I have just under 17 left and it’s halfway through the month, haha!) while I’m in Chicago. Wish me luck!

We’ve been in our house for over a year now and we FINALLY purchased a dresser for our master bedroom over the weekend. YEAH! I hateeeee decorating – honestly, I really need to just hire an interior decorator and be done with it – so I’m taking my sweet time. I’m excited to have another piece in our bedroom. I’ll show you photos once it is delivered – hopefully this evening!

I have been trying out new Les Mills classes lately, mainly CXWORX and BODYATTACK. BODYCOMBAT is on my list next! CXWORX is killer on the core and the booty and the shoulders and glutes (okay, almost everywhere haha) and ATTACK is basically aerobics on speed. It’s insane and I love it! I’d love to bring both CX and ATTACK to my gym and I’m considering the GRIT series as well. The only sad thing is I cannot find GRIT anywhere in SW Florida! Are there any Chicago readers out there that attend a gym with GRIT? If so, can I tag along next week? Pretty please??

I’m back on my beloved MNS3 and could not be happier. I feel a million times better when I take my supplement strips daily. Oh how I’ve missed you!

How is that for a random collection of my thoughts?

Happy Tuesday! Tell me something random on YOUR mind.

The Magnificent Mile Chicago 5k – Race Recap

Over Labor Day weekend, I ran my first post-baby race!

Before I get into my recap, I realized that I lied to y’all about running a 5k since I began blogging <– Oops! #mombrain I actually ran the Ditka Dash right before leaving Chicago last year. My knee had been acting up and I had just found out I was pregnant, but per my recap, I finished at around 28:23.

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Leading up to the event, I didn’t have super high hopes. I had only run a handful of times since December and when I did run, I didn’t pace myself or know how many miles I had gone (except when I was on a treadmill, obviously). But because I’m Type A (code for crazy, haha!), I put together a few race goals to feel a bit more put together before the race.

  • A – Cross the finish line! And have fun with girlfriends before, during, and after the race.
  • B – Finish in under 30 minutes.
  • C – Finish in under 27 minutes <– A 5k PR.

You can read more about why I set “A-B-C” race goals here.

Anyways, let’s get to the recap!

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The night before the race, Kyle and I were out with friends pretty late (well, late for us at least) and I didn’t get to bed until around 1am. When my alarm went off at 4:45am, I tried to find every excuse in the book to skip the race. Thank goodness I knew I was meeting Erica and Amy at the start line to give them their bibs so I absolutely could not dip out, haha. That is what friends are for, right?! ;)

I made a bottle for Dean, chugged my Spark-Rehydrate combo, and made some peanut butter toast for the road. My MIL graciously drove me downtown and dropped me off right by Buckingham Fountain so I didn’t need to worry about taking public transportation.

After a quick walk looking at the multiple vendors on location, I hit up the bathrooms, and then met Erica and Amy. For only have a few hours of sleep under my belt, I felt fairly awake and excited to get the show on the road. After chatting, we realized everyone was already lined up to start so we made our way to our pace goal areas and off we went!

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The first mile was rough. Everyone was crowded together and as we made our way up Michigan Avenue, there was absolutely no air flow. Thankfully, I had “trained” (better known as run a few times in the sweltering Florida summer) in much hotter and more humid conditions so I kept telling myself that it was only a few miles and then I’d be done. I stuck with the 1:50 half marathon pace group for the first 2 miles and then, when they split off to continue the half marathon route, I kicked it up a notch – I just wanted to be DONE. It was early. I was tired. The sun was in my eyes. And I was HUNGRY.

I ran as quickly as I could move my legs – although thinking back, I could have run faster throughout the entire race I think, and as soon as I saw the finish line and heard the announcer, I moved my behind even faster. Obviously I just wanted to cross that line!

I figured I had run quickly because there were only a few finishers at the end when I arrived. That or most everyone else decided to run the half marathon. Either way, I grabbed my frozen, chocolate-covered banana (best post-race treat ever) and waited for Amy and Erica.

I glanced at the timer as I was crossing the finish line and I thought I saw 25 something but figured it was off so I had to patiently wait for my race results to be posted to the website… It’s a good thing we had brunch plans at Little Goat post-race to keep me distracted ;)

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During brunch, our race results were posted… I finished in 25:15 and 6th in my age group!! I couldn’t believe it.

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I was thrilled with my performance and think it was a combination of being used to running in hot weather (Chicago was “warm” for the midwest that day), introducing more weight lifting into my fitness plan, and my Advo supplements that allowed me to blow my goals out of the water.

I feel a lot more confident in myself and my ability to train for a half marathon this fall/winter after this race. Now I just have to decide which race to run!

How do you set race goals? What is your 5k PR? What’s the last race you run/next race you will be running?

Dean does Chicago, Part 4 – Millennium Park + The Purple Pig

Dean was a busy guy last week! After spending Sunday in Wrigleyville, Tuesday at the Shedd Aquarium and Wednesday at the Lincoln Park Zoo, on Thursday we headed downtown again to check out The Bean, Millennium Park, and to hit up one of our favorite Chicago restaurants, The Purple Pig.

It wouldn’t be a trip to Chicago without Deany Beany getting his photo in The Bean, am I right?! We took a ton of family selfies and Dean was a good sport the entire time ;)

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After we had our fill of pictures, we strolled through Millennium Park and the new Maggie Daley Park (<– AMAZING, BTW – I hadn’t seen it completed and it looks awesome for an urban park! Mini golf, rock climbing, ice skating (in the winter), picnic places, etc.) as well as along the river walk.

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That’s a lot of walking! And walking is one of the things I miss most about Chicago – Holla to my past 20k steps per day, haha.

All of that walking had our stomachs ready for some lunch, so before a massive afternoon storm rolled into Chicago, we decided to hit up one of our favorite places in the city, The Purple Pig.

Cheese, swine, and wine… per the menu, The Purple Pig boasts an incredible wine list (I had a glass… okay two, of sauvignon blanc), lotsa delicious cheese, and sharing plates galore. It’s perfect for a large group or for a date night.

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Dean had to have his afternoon lunch while we were there too ;)

We had a fun – although exhausting, week in Chicago and can’t wait to show Dean around the city again!

Dean does Chicago, Part 3 – Lincoln Park Zoo

On Wednesday of last week, we made a family trip to the zoo!

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The Lincoln Park Zoo is an urban zoo in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. It is free to the public (awesome, right?!) and the perfect size to spend a couple of hours strolling around the park. They have a variety of animals that all appear to be well taken care of and have large, clean spaces to live, grow, and entertain us humans looking in on them from the outside ;)

Since Dean loved the Shedd Aquarium on Tuesday morning, we thought he’d like to look at the animals in the zoo. If anything, the day was GORGEOUS (albeit slightly chilly to us Floridians…) and it was nice to enjoy the sunny, fall weather in the city.

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Not impressed with Mr. Gorilla ;)

Long story short, Dean didn’t like the zoo animals as much as he enjoyed the brightly colored fish. Most of the zoo animals were “natural” colors (black, brown, tan, etc.) and really blended into their environments (as they should), so I believe it made it slightly more difficult for Dean to get a good focus on the critters. Regardless, he enjoyed the fresh air from his stroller (and our arms), and we got to pretend to teach him allll about monkey and gorillas and bears and tigers.

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After a few hours at the zoo, we headed to the West Loop for a late lunch. We attempted to try Parlor Pizza for lunch but apparently they don’t allow strollers on the dining floor – I would totally understand this if we went in the evening or during a busy time but it was 2pm and NOT busy in the least, so we had to head elsewhere. (As a side note, this statement is on their website… “Parlor Pizza Bar offers a comfortable, affordable & approachable dining destination to the West Loop neighborhood!” <– Apparently it is approachable for everyone BUT parents, LOL.) Oh well!

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We ended up at Bar Siena a few blocks away and had an awesome dining experience. The restaurant has been open for almost 2 months and their food was delicious, plus their atmosphere had a cool, urban warehouse vibe.

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Lincoln Park Zoo + A fun, late lunch made for a fun Wednesday!

Dean does Chicago, Part 2 – Dim Sum + Shedd Aquarium

On Tuesday morning, we headed to Chinatown to take Dean to his first dim sum brunch.

In full disclosure, dim sum is not my favorite thing. Kyle lovesssss it so I tag along whenever we’re in Chicago. The experience (and the tea) is definitely a fun one so I knew it would be on our list when we traveled to Chicago last week.

For those of you unfamiliar with dim sum, per Wikipedia, it “is a style of Cantonese cuisine prepared as small bite-sized portions of food traditionally served in small steamer baskets or on small plates. Dim sum is also well known for the unique way it is served in some restaurants, whereby fully cooked and ready-to-serve dim sum dishes are carted around the restaurant for customers to choose their orders while seated at their tables.”

Per our usual trip, Kyle filled the table with his favorites (bean dumplings) and a few he knew I would eat as well (shrimp anything!). Dean slept through most of the brunch until the end when he started to get hungry for his brunch as well ;)

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Happy boys!

After everyone was sufficiently full, we headed to the Shedd Aquarium to walk off some of brunch. (I should mention, my mom was with us too!) We hadn’t been to the aquarium since Jazzin’ at the Shedd last fall so it was fun to head back and watch Dean interact with the fish and other sea life.

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Dean LOVED all of the brightly colored, striped, salt water fish. I think they were easier for him to see than the (dull and boring lake fish – haha!) and his eyes followed them all over the tanks. It was cute to watch him be so intrigued by something!

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The little man lasted for about an hour before we headed back to the car – He had perfect timing too because it started down pouring as soon as we began the drive home!

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Definitely hit up both Chinatown and the Shedd Aquarium if you’re heading to Chicago with (or without!) kiddos. Both are affordable tourist spots and great experiences for all ages.

#104 Treat Yourself Tuesday

After a little break last week, I’m back for our weekly Tuesday treats! Lotsa treatin’ happened while I was in Chicago and I’m excited to share it with y’all.

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First of all, a little break from the bloggin’ world. As much as I love it, this was the first blog “vacay” I’ve taken since I began writing in 2012 – say what?!?! It was about time for a little separation. Plus, as odd as it sounds, I honestly didn’t have time to turn on a computer while we were in Chicago. We were BUSY 24/7 and it was nice to live in real time rather than blog time :)

A little mani-pedi action with my Chicago BFF Nicole. I’m ashamed to admit that I haven’t gotten my nails done since the week before Mr. Dean arrived. Yipes! On Friday night, Nicole and I enjoyed some vino and a little spa treatment. It was much needed and nice to catch up with her.

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Nights out with friends – We had a few of these while on vacation and it was so nice to see everyone AND have a few kid-free nights out. (Although they still make me a bit anxious, ha!) We hit up a bar (I can’t remember the name…) on Saturday night with a group of friends and on Thursday evening we made it to The Hampton Social, a new bar in our old Chicago neighborhood, for a late night happy hour with friends. It was fun but man was I ever tired the next day. I’m not used to staying out late these days!

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Touring Dean around Chicago. It was really fun to show him where we used to live and the places we used to hang out. While he obviously won’t remember a thing, we have the pictures to prove it ;) I shared our Wrigleyville adventure yesterday and stay tuned for more Chicago recaps later this week!

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My first race in a year! I ran with my friends Amy and Erica and it was a blast even though I got a total of 4 hours of sleep the night before… Expect a fun recap on the race as well later this week or next. Oh! And we all grabbed brunch at Little Goat (one of my favvvvvv places to eat in Chicago) post-run. It was definitely delish!

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SO. MUCH. DELICIOUS. FOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD. Chicago has the best eats, y’all! I could go on and on and on about everything I ate. But to save you from boredom, I’ll incorporate my eats in my Chicago adventure posts in a few days :)

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Wearing makeup and dressing like an adult more than once! Wahoo! It was nice to get some use out of my “real person” clothes again ;) I wore a few of my Le Tote items as well throughout the week.

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Now your turn, link up and let me know how you treated yourself over the past week!

What is your favorite place to eat in Chicago or in your city? Last time you had a manicure?

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Dean does Chicago, Part 1 – Wrigleyville

Oh, hey there!

We are back from Chicago and I am excited to share our adventures from the week with y’all.

First up, Dean’s first trip to Wrigleyville to see the Chicago Cubs play baseball!

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Seeing the Cubs play while we were in town was not an option for Kyle. He wanted to see his favorite team and take Dean to the stadium for his “First Timers” certificate. A little male, father-son bonding if you may. (As a side note, Kyle also went to a Chicago Sox game during the week, LOL. He just couldn’t get enough baseball!)

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On Sunday afternoon we loaded up the car and made a family trip to Wrigleyville to show Dean the sights and sounds (and adult beverages – don’t worry, he still has to wait a few more years to fully enjoy Wrigleyville…) of a Cubs game.

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The day was HOT but our seats were in the shade so we figured we’d be okay with Baby Dean. Kyle requested that we go to the stadium early to make sure we had time to get Dean’s First Timer Certificate. Proud father moment right there.

After finding our seats and purchasing some cold beverages to keep us hydrated on the hot day, we sat down to enjoy the day. I was really impressed with all of the employees at Wrigley. They approached me to tell me where I could take Dean to change and feed him and were just super nice to everyone with a baby. Thumbs up from me!

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A few innings in, unfortunately, it was getting really hot. There was a breeze when we sat down in our seats but the stadium was PACKED come game time so it ended up being hot and stuffy – not great for anyone holding a baby or the baby. Dean was sweaty and getting a heat rash so we headed to first aid to sit in the AC for a bit.

Wrigley’s first aid station is not only cool, but it has a room with sofas and chairs for moms to feed their babies and cool down. I thought that was pretty awesome. The first aid room was full of moms and babies, dads with their beer who were watching the game on the television while waiting for their families, and the older population. Kyle and I got a kick out of it, haha!

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After Dean had his lunch and cooled down we decided that it was best that we left – The game was in the 5th inning and it was only getting hotter. It was unfortunate that we couldn’t stay for the entire game because not only did the Cubs win, they hit a grand slam! Dean must be good luck or something ;)

While we missed all of the excitement (we listened on the radio during the drive home), it was fun to take Dean to his first baseball game.

Next time he’ll be a bit older and hopefully the weather will be a bit cooler so we can all enjoy it a bit more!

The Ditka Dash – Race Recap

I never thought these words would come out of my mouth during marathon training (more to come on my training tomorrow), but I am happy to report that I was able to run a 5k yesterday – whoop!

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Going into the race I was nervous. I hadn’t run over 1-2 miles in a few weeks and had no clue how my knee would react. Thankfully, I was able to finish… It wasn’t a great time but the fact that I didn’t have to stop due to a crazy amount of pain was a win in my book! I am also happy that the race was only a 5k – I don’t think my knee could have taken much more than that.

Anyways, enough talk about my old man knee – onto the The Ditka Dash 2014!

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Kyle and I headed to Soldier Field on Friday afternoon to pick up our race packets. Shockingly enough, this packet pick-up was the most organized and quicket pick-up I’ve ever experienced. Way to go, Ditka volunteers! We each got 2 t-shirts, aviators and a mustache for the run :)

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On Saturday, our race heat didn’t start until 10am (the organizers had 3 different heats because there were so many people running), so we met up with our friends pre-race and found our spot in the corral.

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To everyone’s delight, Ditka himself was at the start line… smoking a cigar, nonetheless ;)

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Since the race was a fun race, there was no official clock… Thank goodness for cell phone timers for those of us Type A runners who need to know how long we’ve run.

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(I look like my father in this selfie – yikes! Yes, he has a mustache.)

I stuck with Kyle for the first “mile” (mile is in parenthesis because I do not think the mile markers were correct in the least, haha!) until he wanted to walk for a few seconds. I knew there was no way my knee would allow me to stop running and then start again so I told him I’d see him at the finish line and kept chugging along.

Thanks to Allison’s advice, I tried my best to keep my strides shorter than normal and I think it really helped keep the pain in my knee to a minimum. Thanks girly!

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I finished in under 30 minutes, wahoo! And although I know I’ve run faster than this in previous 5k’s, I’ve yet to record it. Sooooo, I’m calling this a PR and my next race I’m going to blow it out of the water ;)

Also, there’s no telling if the race was actually the correct distance, haha! I know the mile markers were off so who knows if it was exactly 3.1 miles or slightly longer.

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Either way, it was a blast and great to do a fun run with some Chicago friends!

What was the last fun run you participated in? Did you run the Ditka Dash? If not, you should next year! It was a ton of fun AND on the lakefront!

Chicago Bucket List

Welp, the movers come tomorrow. That means for the next two weeks we will be living out of suitcases (and sleeping on an air mattress…) in our own apartment. This shall be fun.

I keep mentioning a bucket list of items that Kyle and I want to do before leaving the city of Chicago. Then I realized that we didn’t actually have a list. #fail

Thankfully, some of you had asked to see what was on our list… This forced me to finally draft one up, haha! Below is what we would like to do before we leave Chicago.

1. Spend every waking hour at East Bank Club. Okay, this isn’t really true, but I will be spending as much time there as possible over the next week! I mean, seriously – check out the views, you’d want to spend all day errrrday here too ;)

2. Adler Planetarium. (Check! Went there on Saturday – Yay!)

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3. The Field Museum.

4. Eat deep dish pizza. (Kyle hasn’t done this in a restaurant since we’ve been here – WHATTT?!)

5. Chicago Architecture Foundation tours – As many as possible!

6. Bike along Lake Michigan.

7. Visiting Montrose Beach with Mitchell – I hope there are dog beaches in Florida!

8. Chicago Gourmet – Kyle purchased tickets to this event a few months ago and we knew we didn’t want to miss it, so if you need us this upcoming weekend, we’ll be in wine and foodie heaven :)

9. Spend time with friends and family that live in Chicago. I think most of our days are completely booked between now and when we leave so I’m sorry if we have to turn down any invites!

I’m sure I’m missing a few things on our list, so as they come to mind I’ll update this post.

We had a great weekend touring the city… and by touring I mean eating our way through town, and I can’t wait to share it with y’all tomorrow.

If you had to create a bucket list for your city, what would you include? Fellow Chicagoans, what am I missing on this list?

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