photo courtesy of The Harrises of Chicago

photo courtesy of The Harrises of Chicago

Weekly Photo Challenge: Love

In the wee hours of a Saturday morning, hubs awakened me long before anyone should be up after a long work week informing me we had to head to the airport because we had an appointment in another city that afternoon.  Upon arriving at the airport, I learned we were traveling to New York – surprise #1.  It had been years since I’d enjoyed the concrete jungle so I was thrilled to spend the day mesmerized by Times Square and the greenery of Central Park.  But then, our stride quickened until stopping in front of the Gershwin Theatre where I was presented with two tickets to Wicked, a musical I had long desired to see – surprise #2.  Love . . .

Are you participating in the weekly photo challenge?



Dear Snow: A Love Letter

Dear God, Mother Nature, Snow-makers, Al Roker(?),

Two years ago when I excitedly accepted my future husband’s request to relocate to Chicago, I had happy visions of city dwelling, restaurant hopping and snow.  Yes, snow.  Though I’ve skied numerous times and have resided in areas that have received the unusual and unsuspecting snowstorm, I really was excited about the opportunity to live in a city allowing me to be in constant expectation of snow.  It had absolutely nothing to do with the hot, humid, unrelenting, miserable summers Houston offered.

Imagine my kid in the candy store-like excitement last January when the skies released a beautiful and abundant 9 inches of snow.  Sure, it took my bus driver an hour to travel the two miles from work to home, but my eyes couldn’t get enough of this white stuff that was wreaking all types of havoc on the evening commute.  I even opted to get off one stop prior to my usual one to finally and properly break in my snow boots and get a sufficient quad workout lifting my legs with each stride all while allowing the snow to gently fall on me.

Now I know many Chicagoans curse the very mention of you in a forecast.  Not me.  I’ve eagerly listened to the local meteorologists and often check my weather app waiting with bated breath for snow in the forecast – all for the chance to marvel at your beauty while giving my snow boots another walk around town.

Dear snow – please come.  Soon.  I promise to smile and attempt to whistle while running walking my errands around town.  I’m sure lakes, rivers and reservoirs all appreciate their increasing water levels if you should happen to visit.

                                                                                                                                                                    In eager anticipation,

Are you experiencing a normal winter in your neck of the woods?


57th Inauguration

Last week I shared how in a moment’s notice I went from heading back to Chicago to watch the Inauguration from our couch to being among the ticketed allowed to view it from the crowded steps of the U.S. Capitol.  Upon arriving at the U.S. Capitol, lengthy lines to pass through security checkpoints awaited us.  Since it was much warmer than 4 years prior, the wait was bearable.  After receiving the green light from security, we were met with the majestic view of the sun rising behind the Capitol building.  Just as soon as were were to cross Pennsylvania Avenue to take our position just west of middle, we were prevented from passing as to allow uniformed military walking the Avenue leading the procession of vehicles carrying elected officials and others to the Capitol who were in possession of the real golden ticket.  About half an hour later, the impasse was lifted like a gun shot sounding the start of a race.  We all did out best Usain Bolt impersonations in the mad dash to the steps to ensure we got the best remaining position that would allow for us to have a distant view of the actual festivities while being able to rely on the screens made available for closeups.  It was at this point, after snapping one picture, that I put the camera away because there wasn’t even room to allow my lungs to fully expand and take a deep breath.  Literally.

My takeaways from this inauguration –
1) My college roommate is the bomb!  To think to share the additional ticket with me is something I will never forget!
2) In all, a good day of history watching.  It wasn’t as awe-inspiring and surreal as the 56th Inauguration, but nonetheless, worth it!  However, having now recently dealt with crowds at the SF Giants Victory Parade and  57th Inauguration, I’m over crowds.  Totally.

From where did you view the 57th Inauguration?


Do What Is Necessary

Happy Monday! We’re nearly a month into the new year.  I don’t know about you, but this month has gone by very quickly for me.  As I reflect on what’s been accomplished thus far this year and what remains, admittedly the tasks on the to-do list that are more desirable have been completed while the more daunting and tedious tasks remain unchecked.  Enter Tony Robbins with the reminder –

Reasons come first. Answers come second.
If you find yourself saying ‘I can’t do something’,
but you know it in your heart of hearts that if you do it,
you’re going to grow, you’re going to be a better person,
it’s going to contribute to your family or to your kids or to something that matters,
and you keep saying ‘I can’t do it,’ there is no question—you must do it.
You don’t discuss it anymore. You just take immediate action…
You do what’s necessary.
~Tony Robbins

What requires your immediate action?


Pepper Palace

Like a vegan at a rib festival, a store rests on the eighth floor of the extravagance that is the Water Tower Place that just doesn’t quite fit.  Among the upscale shops and dining that completes the tower on the north end of the Magnificent Mile rests a Pepper Palace?!?

photo courtesy of The Harrises of Chicago

photo courtesy of The Harrises of Chicago

As I would with the aforementioned vegan, I had to figure out why this was here.  Not only was I intrigued by its placement in Water Tower, but also because we LOVE all things spicy.  So like a moth to a flame, my feet led me to the palace which is replete with as much creativity as it is the spicy.

I tasted and contemplated which to purchase until I noticed several offerings that were beyond ridiculous.  Here I present the:

But why would you though?

The weekend following my discovery, I dragged my husband to the eighth floor to see if it would garner the same reaction I had.  And it did! He very quickly turned to me and said, “Um, this doesn’t seem to fit.”  However, that didn’t stop him from being entranced by its mystique and walking in to begin the same ritual that had befallen so many.

Are you a fan of spicy food?  What’s your go to hot sauce?