Chicago

A conference took me to Chicago for a few days last week.  A whole 48 hours, to be exact.  I’ve been traveling a lot for work lately – mostly local – but this trip was actually a nice change of pace.

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You know what wasn’t cool?   Still feeling a wee bit “under-the-weather” when my flight took off.

That Vodka.   She’s a sneaky little bastard.

Like 90% of the human population on a flight, I fully intended to put my ear-buds in the moment I sat down. Thanks to Southwest allowing you to choose your own seat (which by the way is awkward when you are one of the last to board) I scoped out the least intimidating person to sit next to and picked a guy who looked to be my father’s age who didn’t avoid eye contact.

Gary, was his name, and we ended up chatting the entire hour and 20 minute flight to Chicago.  Gary was on his way back to New Orleans where he is currently working for the railroad.   He’s from Nebraska and had just flown home two days prior to surprise his wife on her birthday.  How cute!   We chatted about our dogs, love of Harley-Davidson, his three kids, his grand-kids, Jeep’s, Range Rover’s, farm life, living on an acreage, etc.    He showed me a photo of the acreage he and his wife currently live on, which is absolutely stunning.   They happened to stumble into it as it was originally a foreclosure, but two years and $90,000 later, they landed themselves a $400,000 home and acreage.   I told him I was incredibly jealous.   He followed up with the offer to sell it to me and I reminded him of the little fact that I know what he paid for it.    ha.

It was such a nice flight!   We shook hands, wished each other luck and vowed to keep an eye out for each other in Sturgis next year.  🙂

So, here it was 4pm on a Sunday afternoon in the city of Chicago.   And I was starving.   After a check-in at the hotel and a walk around down town, I ended up at Rockit Bar and Grill on Hubbard Street.

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This place had an easy going vibe, cool interior and down right delicious food.   I ordered a pretzel appetizer that was out of this world and for my main course the buffalo calamari salad that was equally as delicious.    Two beers, a full belly and I found myself walking back to my hotel.   Halloween Party aftermath.  Just can’t hang.

Monday morning had me up and going for the start of the conference.  Yogurt, granola and a Diet Pepsi to start my day.  Figured this was far better then the donuts and rolls that typically accompany conference breakfasts.

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After a morning of sessions and a working lunch, I took off mid-day for the short mile walk to Millennium Park.

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To see the BEAN of course!

 

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I even did the tourist thing and asked a stranger to take my photo.

 

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Anyone else remember the movie “The Adventures in Babysitting”?    Then you’ll recognize this building!

 

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LOVED that movie!

 

I headed back to the conference to close out the day with a few sessions before heading back to the hotel to freshen up before hitting the night scene.

 

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Two of us took off on foot downtown to check out the scene (definitely can’t miss Trump Tower) before landing at a Burger Bar for some drinks, a burger (go figure) and crappy service.   We ended the night at Howl At The Moon Piano Bar with several other conference goers.   This place was a total blast – and on a Monday night even!   A Monday!

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Tuesday morning started WAY too early with a breakfast that I should have been appreciate of, but wasn’t.   It was a Hyatt Hotel, snobby plated breakfast. I just wanted a Diet Pepsi and a banana.  Is that too much to ask for?

Several sessions and a lot of sitting later, I decided on some ME time and went for a walk down Magnificent Mile for some sun, exercise and shopping.   It was glorious.

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I even stopped at Garrett’s Popcorn, thanks to about 10 peoples FB suggestions. 🙂

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Too soon I found myself heading back to the airport for my returning flight home.

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This time with my ear buds in.

 

 

Cheers!

 

 

Airports, Delays and Florida

Here I sit, on a Monday night, in the Chicago airport, waiting for my connecting flight home. Of course it would happen that we’re 2 hours delayed… Such is life when at the mercy of the airlines.

My whirlwind weekend trip to Florida started Saturday afternoon with a 2:45 flight out. Goodbye 40 degree weather, hello 80’s and humidity!! Not complaining here!

My trip to Florida was for a national conference and my attendance turned out to be quite beneficial! I have many new ideas swarming around my little brain.

The conference was held at the
Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort and Spa. Hello gorgeous!

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My room was a villa, an apartment really, if you ask me! I had to walk over that bridge you see above to get back and forth between the main center to my “apartment”. So fun!

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Oh, and this little beauty awaited all walkers at the end of the bridge.

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#floridaproblems

Sadly, no gators to be found.

Absolutely stunning resort. Top notch customer service and amenities. If you’re a golfer, this is a must stay for you. It was rated #1 for golf resorts in the Travel and Leisure Magazine. The resort is also less then 3 minutes from the ocean, an added bonus!

Sunday was full of keynote speakers and breakout sessions. No conference would be complete without a dose of Starbucks. Sometimes you just need a caffeinated pick-me-up to get you through those afternoon sessions.

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The real fun of Sunday started at 6 when one of my college girlfriends drove over to see me! She currently lives around 2 hours away from Jacksonville, so seeing each other while I was in “town” was a must!

We went to this bar and grill called Pusser’s. Not quite the name I’d choose, but hey, it works! I wonder if I’ll be questioned when I turn in that receipt for reimbursement. 😉

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We had some absolutely delicious crab dip and shared our entrees of crab cakes, salmon and coconut shrimp. De.lic.ious.

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Highly recommend, even though the name of the place resembles a sort of club that I don’t particularly frequent. =D

We spent a good three hours catching up and reminiscing until we parted ways. So happy it worked out to see her while in the beautiful state of Florida.

And now we are at Monday. A morning filled with speakers and sessions and now a full afternoon of flying and airports. I started AND finished The Fault in our Stars by John Green today. Such a great read! I’ll recap on that at a later date. I am part of a little movie/book club and this was our October read. 🙂

They just announced we will be boarding in 15 minutes. Woot woot! Homeward bound. My husband is just thrilled to be picking me up two hours late.

Cheers!