Apr 17, 2014

Chicago Adventure

I'd been craving a just Angel-and-me getaway for some time now. We decided it would be a better idea to plan travel after the icy roads were done for the season, so we used Airbnb (2nd successful Airbnb booking!) to reserve an apartment in downtown Chicago for two nights.

During our 48 hour getaway, we were able to accomplish a variety of adventures, including but not limited to:

-Visiting friends
-Taking the subway/train/whatever they call it
-Visiting Chinatown, where Angel found a new favorite snack: dried fish.
-Learning to play Settlers of Catan
-Eating appetizers at Roy's Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine (sweet potato fries were amazing!)
-Eating chocolate cake at The Cheesecake Factory (because Angel detests cheesecake)
-Walking lots and lots of miles.
-Wandering around the mall at the Watertower
-Eating lunch at Frontera Fresco, purely because we'd been to the Frontera Fresco in the international terminal at the Chicago Airport before when we were in transit, and Angel loved it.
-Exploring the Field Museum
-Exploring Navy Pier, including the (free!) Smith Museum of Stained Glass and Crystal Garden and drinking a (not free) smoothie from Jamba Juice.
-Watching the latest Once Upon a Time episode on ABC.
-Working out in the gym at the apartment building.
-Eating dinner at Chipotle.
-Watching 5 episodes of Psych on Netflix.

I wanted to hit up the Lincoln Park Zoo, too, but Angel wasn't up for another several mile walk in 37 degree weather with no earmuffs, so we decided to relax more than we would have had the weather been nicer!

 Our view of a snowy and rainy mix from the 37th floor apartment.

 Mandatory River Photo

 Interesting advertisement battle.

 The actual skulls from the very scary lions from the true story of man-eating lions which inspired the movie The Ghost and The Darkness. (In a strange turn of events, once upon a time someone gave us a DVD player which had The Ghost and the Darkness DVD inside it...so we watched it. Otherwise, I probably never would have heard of this terrifying tale)

 This mineral was exhibited at the 1893 World's Fair and they let us touch it! (The sign said we could)

 My favorite stained glass picture from the museum.

 I was quite enamored with this fountain in the Crystal Garden.

This was Angel's favorite museum exhibit, of course.

We also learned a few lessons about city life, and its differences from small-town life in West Michigan:

-You ride elevators a lot more. And I don't particularly enjoy having to rely and wait for an elevator to get in and out of my own home, but when you're staying on the 37th floor, you don't have much of a choice because the stairs don't sound fun either.

-Angel learned first-hand that people in the city are much less trusting, probably with good reason. A bunch of people were getting on an elevator, and the lady in front of us was having a hard time pulling her rolling suitcase onto the elevator because of the little ledge, so Angel bent down and put his hands on her suitcase to help her lift it over the edge and she immediately started shouting at him to get away and get his hands off of her stuff. I'm guessing she felt very threatened and scared because of what he'd done--though I do think she overreacted, of course that's because I know and trust Angel. He apologized to her when we all got into the elevator but she continued to yell directly at Angel and all the other people in the elevator who were not affiliated with the incident--I felt so bad for the other people in the elevator, including our friends' baby who started crying because she was scared of the yelling. Angel probably should have known better than to do that in the city. Where we live, it's normal to do stuff like pick up something someone dropped and hand it to them or catch a blown-away grocery cart for them or, say, help someone pull their suitcase over a ledge, but it doesn't seem  appropriate in a large city. Next time we'll wait until someone asks for help to assist. Or maybe Angel won't. I can't quite always predict what he'll do. He says he doesn't mind getting yelled at, he's used to it because of his job. But I can relate to the crying baby because I was quite nervous, myself!

-There is construction everywhere. I don't know if this is normal for Chicago or if it's construction season, but there was construction in the building we stayed in, the street we were staying on, the Field Museum, AND Navy Pier. Construction everywhere!

-The city is so much more fun to cheapskate-me when we don't have to pay to park everywhere we go. Our apartment included a parking pass, and after we arrived, we walked almost everywhere we went (we took the train to Chinatown). The museum and Navy Pier and other adventurous places start to sound so much more appealing when you don't have to pay $20 for parking everywhere you go. The weather wasn't ideal, but we still conquered!

We returned home on Tuesday with sore legs and interesting memories.

Apr 15, 2014

Just Hangin' Around

I almost forgot about this one (as is probably obvious due to the snow on the ground). But it's a good one, it doesn't deserve to be forgotten.

Funny story: That's not Angel in the bear costume. I'm not sure he could hang by his knees anymore...can you?

Apr 14, 2014

Standing in the Middle of the Road is Dangerous

Rachel: "Angel! I had a brilliant blog post idea! Next time we take outfit pictures, we have to go stand out in the middle of the road to take them, because lots of fashion bloggers do that, and then I can write about what it's really like to stand in the road and take pictures!"

Angel: "Ummm, okay. You know that the speed limit on our road is 55, right? Those bloggers probably live in residential areas with a 25 mph speed limit."

Rachel: "So?"


Taking outfit pictures in the middle of the road feels illegal. It gives you an adrenaline rush like no amount of taking outfit pictures indoors could ever give you. It's also against everything my mother has ever taught me. What are the odds that by some miracle she happens to not read this particular post? Because that would save me a scolding.

It was a strange experience, involving lots of giggling and lots of attempting to keep my hair from blowing in my face...but that's normal. What wasn't normal was having to vacate our photo taking spot twice during the 5 minute picture-taking adventure because of cars approaching from either side, and sheepishly waving to them, wondering what the drivers thought when they spotted two people in the middle of the road who appeared to be engaging in an impromptu photoshoot.

I hope their thoughts of us were kind. Perhaps they even admired my dress. But I'm guessing it's more probable that it was something along the lines of, "What are those crazy people doing in the middle of the road? Move!!"

From what I've noticed, people don't seem to think especially kind thoughts when driving.

I doubt this is an adventure I will participate in again. Once upon a time, I got hit by a motorcycle that ran a red light. You would think I would have learned my lesson by now. Choose safety and stay out of the road.

But just this once, I did it. For the thrill, of course. But that's enough thrill for this dangerous woman.

Apr 11, 2014

The Envelope System: Marriage Edition

Angel and I have been apart much more than we're used to over the last few months--a total of about 7 weeks since August. Since we've been married, we haven't been through any long-term separations, the longest we've been apart has been three weeks. Most of the time, when we're not in the same place, it's just for a week or a weekend...but even these short separations aren't the most fun.

I got the "envelope system" that I use when we're apart from what my Mom did for all of us kids when she and my Dad left us with our grandparents for a couple weeks and traveled to Israel (that was something like 13 years ago now!). She had paper bags with dates written on the outside, and every day we got to open one bag, which always ended up being a treat that we got to share: sometimes a snack, sometimes a couple coloring books or a new videotape for us to watch. As a kid, I loved it, and, obviously, since I still remember it 13 years later, it ranks up among the top special treats of my childhood.

When I have to go away and leave Angel at home for whatever reason, I decide to apply the system my Mom used for us kids to give my husband a fun treat while I'm gone. I'll get a bunch of envelopes, either one for each day or one every couple of days, depending on how long I'll be gone and how ambitious I am, and I'll start filling them with things that I hope will make his day happy.

I look at his work schedule ahead of time so that I can plan treats according to whether he'll be working that day or not. A couple examples of what I've included in envelopes include:

1) KitKats, Reeses, or some other incarnation of his favorite candy.
2) $5 and a note telling him to go out to Culver's for a burger (this is particularly special because I neither eat nor encourage anyone to eat fast food. But sometimes the rules can be relaxed...)
3) A typical love note.
4) A photo of me, in case he forgets what I look like.
5) A to-do list (okay, okay, I know, that doesn't sound like a treat, but to-do lists are my thing, they're they way I am, and I will typically throw in a few fun activities along with reminders of things that he really shouldn't forget while I'm gone like paying the cellphone bill...)
6) Glowsticks.
7) A toy or treat for our cat.
8) Some other really random item that just screams "ANGEL!" to me when I see it. i.e. something involving LEDS, Balloons, fake snake....you know, the usual stuff.

I could use paper bags instead of envelopes, I just use envelopes because that's what I usually have in the house. It doesn't take me long to put envelopes together before I go on a trip, but it helps me with missing my husband because I feel like I'm still showing him love even from a distance.

And, for the record, so far I've noticed that candy, money, photos, and glowsticks get the best reviews from my husband. That probably reveals something about his personality. Candy>Romantic Mushy Stuff, any day of the week.

How have you said "I miss you!" from a distance?

Apr 10, 2014

WBBE: A New Hairstyle

When I saw that today's creative challenge on Elah Tree was a new hairstyle, I knew I just had to do something about that.

It's been all too long since the last installation of "Worst Beauty Blogger Ever," my occasional series which pokes fun at the fact that I'm a rather odd fit for the title of beauty professional. My hair is excessively long and heavy at the moment (some of it reaches past my shoulders. Gasp!) and people I love are attempting to blackmail me into keeping it long.

Something had to be done. I've been rather attracted to this Rosie the Riveter style of tying up my hair in a scarf for a while but didn't know how feasible it would be or how attractive it would look in real life. I found out that it's very easy, or, at least, it became very easy once I figured out that in order to tame my naturally volume-loving locks enough to get them to fit in the scarf, I had to stick a couple pins in and put the rest in a low ponytail before I put the scarf on. I curled my bangs to give the look a bit of glamor, and that was it!

Also, you'll notice that I actually wore eyeliner and lipstick. My eyeliner is my famous coordinates-with-my-hair liquid eyeliner but the bright lipstick was provided by Influenster in partnership with Rimmel for review. The color is "As You Want Victoria" and I love how vivid it is.

So, what do you think of this look? Am I erring TOO far on the side of creative and wacky, or can I pull this off? Would you try, or have you already tried the retro headscarf look? Bonus: it's just as good as a hat for disguising stubborn hair days!