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Sunday Social

Sunday Social

1. What is the best trip you’ve ever been on?
I have been on so many amazing trips (34 countries); it is really hard to choose just one. So I’ll just tell you about my most recent trip… I went to Chicago in May and had the best time!! Check out my blog post about it here.

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2. What is your best idea for a girls weekend trip?
I have been on girls only trips to New York City and on a cruise to Mexico and Grand Cayman. Oh yeah, and all around Europe, Cambodia, and Thailand, but those weren’t typical girls trips. Although now that I think about it, I would recommend Southeast Asia as a great girls trip destination. Beautiful, lots of good food, and dirt cheap massages! Check out more reasons here and the best places to go here.

Kuang Si Falls, Laos

Laos, 2012

Oops, just realized the question said weekend trip… In that case, Vegas!

Sin City, 2008

Sin City, 2008

3. What is your best idea for a couples trip?
Italy! I loved it and would love to take a boyfriend/husband there one day. Eat lots of food, drink wine, chill on the beach…

Cinque Terre, 2004

Cinque Terre, 2004

4. What is the best vacation on the cheap?
Southeast Asia!! See above.

5. What is the place you most want to visit?
Peru… Planning a trip there for 2014. 🙂

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Saturday 9

1. Crazy Sam’s dad often traveled for business, and always remembered to bring her the little complimentary soaps or body lotions he got from the hotel. When you travel, do you bring back souvenirs? Send postcards?
I do send postcards and I usually get one small souvenir for myself. Sometimes I get souvenirs for friends and family as well.

souvenirs from my most recent trip (Chicago)

souvenirs from my most recent trip (Chicago)

2. When you fly, do you prefer window or aisle? Or doesn’t it matter?
Aisle! It matters!!

3. According to Askmen.com, Jim Anderson (Robert Young) of Father Knows Best is the best TV dad ever. Who is your favorite TV (or movie) dad?
Just thinking about the TV shows I watch regularly, I would choose Ned Stark from Game of Thrones.

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4. Sam’s father was the family disciplinarian. What about you? Do you consider yourself a rule maker, a rule follower, or a rule breaker?
Rule follower for the most part, the other two sometimes.

5. Sam’s father was the one who gave her driving lessons. Think back to your first few times behind the wheel. Were you a naturally good driver?
Yes, but driving a stick shift didn’t come naturally. It was easy enough to learn though.

6. This week’s featured artist, Kenny Loggins, was born in Washington state. Have you ever lived in, or traveled to, any of our northern border states? (For those of you not as well versed in geography as Crazy Sam, that’s AK, WA, MT, ND, MN, WI, MI, PA, NY, VT, and ME.)
I have been to Pennsylvania and New York.

7. As part of the duo Loggins and Messina, Loggins performed the song “House at Pooh Corner.” Do you have a favorite character from the Winnie the Pooh books/movies?
Eeyore of course!

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8. The mercury is going to start rising. How hot is too hot for you? 85? 95? Or are you one of those “the hotter the better” people?
I like it to be 90 if I’m going swimming. If not, 70-80 is good for me.

9. To celebrate Father’s Day, Sam is giving away her father’s favorite candy: Life Savers. Would you prefer a roll of Wild Cherry, Butter Rum, Wint O Green, or Pep O Mint?
How about some fruity Gummi Savers instead?

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Ten Things to Smile About: May’s Favorite Things

1. Chicago! I spent an amazing long weekend there with friends.

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2. Mother’s Day lunch with my mom.

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3. Season finales of my favorite TV shows.

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HAYDEN PANETTIERE, CONNIE BRITTON

4. Swimming!

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5. Hitting the 20 pound weight loss mark!

6. Getting another tattoo!

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7. The Americana Burlesque & Sideshow Festival!

Americana Burlesque & Sideshow Festival

Americana Burlesque & Sideshow Festival

8. Going on a special LaZoom tour for Asheville’s Beer Week!

LaZoom Beer Week Comedy Tour

LaZoom Beer Week Comedy Tour

9. The Great Gatsby and The Hangover: Part III.

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10. Reading five great books: The Kitchen House, Wonder, Eleanor & Park, If I Stay, and Dead Ever After.

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Dead Ever After.

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We Want to Know Wednesday

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1. If we met up for coffee what would we talk about?
Well I wouldn’t be drinking coffee; yuck! I’d probably blab on about my new job as a children’s librarian, complain about taking summer classes, tell some funny (probably only to me) stories about my cats, and reveal how nerdily excited I am about going to a Khaled Hosseini book signing in two weeks.

2. What is one great thing that has happened to you this month?
I visited Chicago! It was awesome.

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3. Where is the last place you went?
I went to Pearson’s Falls this afternoon… I am going to be leading a hike there as a Summer Reading Program event and wanted to check it out!

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4. If you could meet up with one or two bloggers who would they be?
Kristi from Pineapples and Sunshine because she was my first blog swap partner and has been great about keeping in touch. And Beth from Living A Goddess Life is a great blogging buddy as well.

5. What are your pet peeves?
Too many to name… The first one that comes to me is how my mom leaves used tissues around the house. And dirty hand towels in the kitchen. Gross!

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CHICAGO!

It’s been two weeks since I got back from Chicago, and I finally found some time to blog about it. I had a GREAT trip! Chicago is a really awesome city and since I was there with some amazing friends, it was even more fun!

I stayed at Hostelling International Chicago. If you’re on a budget when visiting the city, I highly recommend it! The location is perfect… Safe neighborhood in The Loop, close to bus stops, the subway (straight shot to O’Hare), restaurants, shopping, Grant Park, Willis Tower, etc. I booked a bed in the six-person female dorm ($30-$32 a night). The room was spacious and clean and each person had their own locker. The hostel itself was huge! On the second floor there is a lobby with an information desk and the kitchen/dining area where free breakfast is served (toast, bagels, muffins, cheese, cereal, juice, etc.).

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I arrived in Chicago around noon on Thursday and walked from my hostel past Grant Park and Millennium Park to Tavern at the Park, to meet my friends for lunch (about 0.8 miles).

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Lunch was yummy but a little bit expensive. I had a 312 Urban Wheat Ale from Goose Island Brewery ($6.50) and the southwest chicken sandwich ($15). I also tasted one of Tessa’s duck egg rolls ($12). Everything was delicious!

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After lunch we went to Skydeck Chicago on top of Willis Tower, the tallest building in America/the western hemisphere and the third tallest in the world (formerly Sears Tower and formerly the tallest building in the world). Admission was $18 but well worth the price due to the great views and the glass boxes that extend out from the Skydeck. I was too scared to stand in the boxes (fear of heights) but those who weren’t got some awesome photos!!

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That night we went to dinner at Cantina Laredo. I had the white honey sangria ($7.50) and tacos de pollo ($12.49). We also had the top shelf guacamole made at the table ($9.99). My drink was too strong and the guacamole was a disappointment (I wish the server would have explained how she was making it or been enthusiastic about it) but the tacos were amazing! They also served chips with two kinds of delicious salsa.

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After dinner Tessa and I went to meet David and Craig at a gay bar called Bobby Loves in Boystown and we also visited a gay strip club there called Lucky Horseshoe Lounge. It was a crazy and interesting night! Tessa and I ended up riding the subway back to The Loop at 2:15am, which was a fun experience (and we felt safe the whole time).

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The next day Tessa was hungover so I spent the day by myself, which was just fine with me because I’m used to sightseeing solo! First I took the bus to Adler Planetarium because I heard that’s where you should go to get the best photos of the city. The bus passed the Field Museum and Soldier Field so that was cool too. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t great so my pics didn’t turn out so great either. They call it The Windy City for a reason!

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I stayed for about two minutes, then hopped back on the bus and headed over to The Art Institute of Chicago ($23). I’m not a huge museum fan but it was raining so I thought why not? I was so glad I did! This was hands down the best art museum I have ever visited in the world (I’ve been to the MOMA, Met, Louvre, etc.). I loved the modern art wing and the Picasso exhibit! I also was really happy to see American Gothic and many of Dali and Van Gogh’s paintings. Tips: Bring cash if you need to check a coat, backpack, etc. ($1 per item). Do not wait in the very long line at the front entrance! (I made this mistake and wasted at least half an hour.) Go around the left side of the building and there is another entrance. Wish I’d known that!

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I was starving so I left the museum around 2pm and got lunch at Haifa Cafe right down the street. The chicken shawarma, rice, pita bread, salad, and hummus were delicious!

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After a nap, I went back out that evening to see Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park and enjoyed a lovely walk around the area.

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Then it was time for the Jackpot Donnie concert at House of Blues! Craig is friends with one of the band members so we got free tickets and got to go backstage and party like/with rock stars!

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But the night wasn’t over yet! Tessa and I headed out to F. O’Mahony’s to meet her childhood friend Cameron. We had a drink there and then went to Holiday Club for photo booth fun and dancing.

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Saturday we went to a Cubs game! I had never been to an MLB game but it seemed like something you have to do when in Chicago. It was fun!! We bought tickets there, the cheapest they had ($23.50 each with fees). It was Derby Day so they gave all the ladies free hats. We watched the game and enjoyed some expensive nachos and hot dogs. But we left early to avoid the crowds!!

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That evening we went to Navy Pier to take Seadog’s River and Lake Architectural Tour (regularly $31.95 but I got tickets on Groupon for $20). It was cold and I think the rest of my group was miserable (especially during the speed boat part around the lake) but I enjoyed the tour and loved taking photos of all the buildings.

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For dinner we went to Pizzeria Uno. We had to have some deep dish and this was the place everyone recommended. There was a 45 minute wait but you put in your order when you put your name down and it takes the pizza 45 minutes to cook, so when you are seated your pizza is ready! That was nice but unfortunately, I HATED deep dish pizza! I had the individual size four cheese and pesto ($8.29) but luckily I ordered the Caesar salad too ($6.99) because I only ate a bite of my pizza. You would think it would be hard to mess up pizza, but YUCK! I can’t exactly explain what was so bad about it but the crust just tasted disgusting. I tried the pepperoni and sausage too and that one was just as bad. Oh well!

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After dinner Tessa and I went to The Comedy Bar ($18 for four people on Groupon… Beverly and Jo Ellen ended up not going with us). It was fun but we were exhausted so after the show we called it a night. That was the end of the trip for me, as I headed to the airport the next morning.

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A few more tidbits about my trip…

I stayed right near the beautiful public library! (Being a librarian, I thought this was pretty cool.)

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I bought a three day CTA pass for $9 on Groupon (regularly $20). I used Google Maps for directions and it was super easy to get around! Just make sure to charge your phone!!

Here are the souvenirs I got…

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Happiness 365: Days 118-128

April 28: Day 118
Steak dinner at Ruth & Michael’s

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April 29: Day 119
Diesel being a cutie

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April 30: Day 120
My photo published in WNC Magazine

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May 1: Day 121
Storytime at Saluda Library

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May 2: Day 122
Chicago! “The Bean”

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May 3: Day 123
American Gothic at the Art Institute

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May 4: Day 124
Navy Pier Ferris Wheel

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May 5: Day 125
Cinco de Mayo

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May 6: Day 126
Diesel and Riley’s personalized food bowls

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May 7: Day 127
Mother’s Day storytime

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May 8: Day 128
Started reading Wonder

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Happiness 365: Days 109-117

I have been so busy!

April 19: Day 109
Picked up cupcakes for Steeplechase.

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April 20: Day 110
Steeplechase!

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April 21: Day 111
Mint chocolate chip ice cream is great for hangovers.

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April 22: Day 112
First day of my new job!

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April 23: Day 113
I needed some comfort food… Redneck pasta time.

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April 24: Day 114
Babysat Sam and played with bubbles.

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April 25: Day 115
Planned my first storytime!

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April 26: Day 116
Pint Night Fundraiser… Dale’s Pale Ale.

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April 27: Day 117
5 days ’til Chicago… Got my CTA pass in the mail!

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