Farewell, Summer

September 21, 2011

Summer has come to a close. Fall is here. Winter is not far behind, and I hibernate during winter. So I thought it would be good to recount some of the things I’ve done this summer.

Attended Maifest in Lincoln Square

Visited The Art Institute

Looked out over the city from the Hancock building

Attended Blues Fest

Listened to Music in the Park at Millennium Park

Worked out with the rest of Chicago at Millennium Park

Took pictures of the bean

Watched the face water features at Millennium Park

Enjoyed amazing food at Taste of Chicago

Purchased fresh produce at the Park Ridge Farmer’s Market

Visited Buckingham Fountain

Took in the scenery downtown during lunch time runs

Cooked out with friends

Vacationed in Lake Geneva, WI, and Orange Beach, AL

Joined a book club

Enjoyed a couple of picnics

Spent a couple of evenings on the porch swing with the hubs

Knowing my memory, I’m sure I have forgotten something, but it’s been a busy summer! And I have at least 2 more events on the agenda: a nighttime airplane tour of Chicago and a visit to the Skokie driving range. Then, the hibernation begins! Farewell, Summer!

What fun things did you do this summer?

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A Time to Sell

July 19, 2011

Have you ever tried to sell something that you absolutely loved? It’s bittersweet really. My townhouse in Alabama is on the market and has been for quite some time. I love that house. It was my home. The cozy 2 bedroom, 2 bath place served me well for the years I spent in it. My master bedroom was enormous – at least to me – with room for a king size bed if I had wanted. I had it set up with a queen size bed with a sleek black comforter, white shams, and zebra print blanket. I had a walk-in closet full of clothes, shoes, and bags that puts my current 1920s bungalow-sized closet to shame (no offense, Hubs). The attached bath and linen closet provided more than enough room for my super soft pink towels and bath salts. And that was just bedroom 1!

From the minute I walked in, the whole house knocked my socks off. It was deceptively large, had a decent sized yard, and was in an extremely safe area. I was in love.

The problem?

Then, I fell in love.

With my husband.

In Chicago.

I had to leave my perfect home!

And it was worth it.

But now, it’s still on the market in Alabama, and it’s time to sell.

Everyone has been talking about how tough the market is right now. I’ve heard it compared to the market during the Great Depression. It’s sad really because low prices should make it a buyer’s market…so why aren’t people buying?

I don’t have the answer to that.

But since it’s time to sell, my husband, realtor, and I (we’re quite the team) have developed a sales plan for the place, and we’re looking for other ideas!

What strategies have you used to sell a house in this market?

What words of advice do you have to offer?

Say a prayer and spread the word – It’s Time to Sell!

Find the house here.

Tastes of the Taste

July 5, 2011

This weekend I went to the Taste of Chicago for the first time. It’s one of those things that everyone says you have to do once…and then, you never feel the need to go back again! So, this weekend, I decided was my one time at the Taste.

And it was great! And crowded. And hot. But great!

I started round 1 with a taste portion of mac and cheese bites from Cubby Bear. (Note: a taste portion just means small.) Round 2 consisted of stuffed sausage pizza from Bacino’s. Delish! Round 3 was a beignet from a restaurant that I can’t quite recall its name. Oops. And round 4 – a little out of order because it probably should have come before the beignet – was chips and guacamole from another restaurant that also doesn’t have a name in my mind.

This is what I liked about the Taste. I can’t think of any other place where I could have the “tastes” of the city and actually get tastes of the world. From Italian to Mexican to French to American, we have it all in Chicago. And it’s all delicious!

Pilates in the Park

July 2, 2011

Chicago has workout classes in Millennium Park every Saturday in the summer. I made my first attempt to get downtown early enough to participate today. Unfortunately, I had to wait 20+ minutes on my bus and my train got delayed for 10+ minutes at one of the stops on my route…which extended my commute by 30+ minutes (for all you English majors out there). I arrived downtown just in time for yoga relaxation.

So, instead of yoga, which was the class I most wanted to take, I took pilates. It was so nice to be outside first thing in the morning…and to work out with a couple hundred of my closest friends.

I rewarded myself for getting up early with a very large iced coffee for the train ride back home.

It was bliss.

How do you feel about working out in public? Cool? Or not cool?

Read more about workouts in the park here.

So last week I started this series on how to make friends in a new place. You’ve probably all been there – a new environment of some sort or another. It can be challenging to meet and get to know new people. I’ve been in this situation for the past year. I picked up and moved my life from Alabama to Chicago. I left my family and my friends there, and I had to find a way to make new friends here. These tips are based on my experience.

Tip #2:  Take advantage of the local flavor.

This weekend I went to a local farmer’s market. (see my fresh strawberries below.)

Fresh Strawberries

I have a wonderful friend who already knew about this special event, and she allowed me to tag along with her and her twin daughters. We walked around, ate free popcorn and sampled other goodies, and bought some fresh produce for the week. (In case you were wondering, I bought spinach, asparagus, a bell pepper, and strawberries.) It was so good to get out and enjoy something this area has to offer with a good friend.

I also went with the same friend to a local park so her twins could run around and release some energy. I took my oversized puppy with us and we snacked on some fresh veggies, potato chips, and yummy dip.

Later that same day, my husband and I met two other couples downtown at Millennium Park for a free concert. We took a picnic and enjoyed each others company for a few hours. It was perfect weather for a picnic in the park!

So this week’s tip is to look up fun things to do in your area and make plans! What a wonderful way to learn more about your town and meet or get to know new people!

Word of the Week:  New

Word to the Wise:  “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God….”  Psalm 40:1-3

Disclaimer:  As I said previously, these tips are based on my own experiences. Take them for what they’re worth.

What fun events are planned in your area?

I decided about a month or two ago that spring did not really exist in Chicago…at least not this year. Instead, I nicknamed the season, Sprinter. One day it is spring, and the next day? It is winter.

Last week, we had 40 degree weather and freezing cold rain! Tomorrow, it is supposed to be 90!

See what I mean?

I am still sleeping in flannel pjs and with an electric blanket.

And it’s almost June!

The worst part? Hearing about my friends down there in the South headed to the beach, the pool, the lake, etc. As much as I love you, I don’t want to hear about your tan, your sun, or your view from your condo!  At least not when it is rainy and cold here!

I long for the nice, warm summer days – the reason Chicagoans fight through the winter. The reason Chicagoans call Chicago home.

Until then, my soft fuzzy blanket and I will remain well acquainted. I can rejoice in that.

Word of the Week:  Rejoice

Word to the Wise:  “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”  Psalm 118:24

Disclaimer: While the weather is cold and I am currently jealous of your warm weather, I know that in a few months, my weather will be perfect and yours will be scorching. This does provide me a little comfort. No offense.

What is the weather like in your area?

Date:  March 12, 2011

Title:  Clark Street Bridge in Winter

Clark Street Bridge

See all picture posts here.