Week #11 – McCormick Tribune Ice Rink at Millennium Park

My ice skating skills are not the greatest…but that doesn’t stop me from having a good time!

I purchased a Groupon (I’m a sucker for the deals!) a while back, in hopes that Nate and I could go ice skating at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink at Millennium Park on a romantic date for two. I envisioned a cold, snowy day, bundled up in hats and scarves, holding hands, drinking hot chocolate…you get the picture. Well, in my true Groupon purchase fashion, I waited until the last minute to use the thing and my husband made it clear that he would rather not go ice skating. Fail.

Lucky for me, my gal pal Sandra, who accompanied me to Slurping Turtle, Ada Street, and The Boarding House, joined me for a little afternoon skate recently. We decided to go right after work, and it was our best decision by far. There was no line to rent skates (it’s a notoriously long line, I guess), and we got right on the ice! Now, the last time I remember ice skating was back in 5th grade, when all my girlfriends and I would head to Oakton Ice Rink to meet up with the boys. I was a little rusty, to say the least.

We decided to go slow and take five laps at a time, soaking in the beautiful Chicago architecture that feels like it’s at your fingertips, all while trying to stay coordinated and not get mowed over by show offs and others who, like myself, were a bit challenged on the ice.

I’ve got to tell you: the people watching at ice rinks is awesome. Young new couples, several skaters who are out in the middle of the ice trying to show you they’ve still got it, a girl speed skating by herself with her hands full of shopping bags—you name it, we probably saw it. A young couple approached Sandra and me and asked us to take their photo. It that seemed like they just started dating, so I made them kiss while I snapped the photo. Do you remember those first photos you took with your guy/gal when you just started dating? I remember mine was with Nate and his twin brother Aaron at a bar in Champaign where we went to college (Gully’s, for those who are familiar!). I remember how giddy Nate and I looked in that photo. Ahh, young love.

Getting back on topic, Sandra and I skated for about 35 minutes, then decided to head up by the Bean for a photography session. It was perfect timing because the Zamboni came on the ice right as we turned in our skates so we had to get off the ice anyway. It was a nice night (a.k.a. not freezing and windy), so we spent a little time taking selfies, photographing shots of the Bean and the city, and our fellow skaters below us on the ice.

As I rode the #20 bus home with a Starbucks hot chocolate (with soy milk, no whip) in hand, I realized how lucky we are to have these great outdoor activities that the city puts on. I can’t wait for festival season—and warm weather!—to arrive.

McCormick Tribune Ice Rink (closed for the season)
Michigan Avenue & Washington Avenue
The Loop/Millennium Park

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Week #10 – Anthropologie Lincoln Park

So, I’ve been to Anthropologie before—it’s one of my favorite stores! HOWEVER, I’ve never been to one of their store openings before…

When Bridget invited Lauren and me to the opening of Anthro’s new store in Lincoln Park, we couldn’t resist. The shopping trifecta was back in action! (See Lincoln Antique Mall and Architectural Artifacts postings for our past shopping trips.)

As we walked in, women stood by the door with clipboards to check our names off of a list (exclusive!). We then made our way to the cocktails; the signature drink of the party was a Moscow Mule (one of my favorite drinks) served in a Mason jar. I must admit that I’m a huge fan of serving drinks in jars; we used them as water glasses at our barn wedding (which means I now have 160 Mason jars in my storage unit and my mother-in-law’s home). They also passed appetizers, and had tasty little cupcakes from More Cupcakes, and a delicious spread of cheeses, roasted nuts, jams, crackers, and fruit near the cocktails.

We walked around the new store, ogling the gorgeous spring clothing line (Bridge purchased a denim top and Laur bought a cute dress for her husband’s graduation from his master’s program). And I couldn’t get enough of the uber-creative, inspiring displays. (Kudos to their design team!) Good tunes played in the background as we chatted throughout the evening.

I have to admit, the funniest part of the night was seeing all the boyfriends and husbands cramped on the chairs and sofas, looking like they were about to die of boredom. Ladies: If you want to get some serious shopping done, leave your man at home. You’ll be doing yourself—not to mention your significant other—a huge favor.

I’d like to end this post by stating: if I could outfit my entire home—and myself—in Anthropologie merchandise, I would. Their luxurious bedding, delicate glassware, statement jewelry, stand-out dresses, impressive book collection—do I need to go on? Actually, have you ever smelled their candles? Yum.

Next time you’re shopping for groceries at Whole Foods, picking up home goods from Crate & Barrel, or grabbing a bite at Uncle Julio’s (which we did after the store opening!), be sure to stop by and check out the latest Anthro location.

1548 N. Fremont Street
Lincoln Park

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Week #10 – Village Yoga Lincoln Park

My co-worker Erica, who introduced me to Native Foods, recently told me that the West Town yoga studio she used to go to was opening a new location in Lincoln Park. Better yet, Village Yoga was having free classes at the new location, so she urged me to try it.

Along with the good price (free!), I also wanted to go because Erica had only nice things to say about Alyson, who owns Village Yoga. Erica explained how Alyson really takes the time to get to know everyone, and never makes you feel uncomfortable about your skill level (phew). So I scheduled myself for a beginner class. And hoped that someone would go with me.

But no one could, so this was a solo mission, whether I liked it or not. I had a little anxiety about going to the yoga class for a few reasons. #1-I’m a little anxious by nature. I worry about everything from what’s in my food to germs to if I’m going to be a good mom one day. (No time soon…sorry, friends!) #2-I get nervous to do things alone. I’m not sure if it’s because things are always better when you share them with someone, or if  it’s because I’m just not as confident of a woman as I think I am. (Sassy? Yes. Independent? Maybe not always.) #3-I’m not very good at practicing yoga, probably because I don’t do it often enough. However, I’m really great at the end of the sessions when you relax and connect your mind, body, and spirit, but I’m just not as strong (physically) as others. Gosh, what is this—Oprah?

Erica told Alyson that I would be coming to the class, so that really meant I couldn’t back out of it. (I’m really glad she did.) I got to the studio a little early to make sure I wouldn’t be late. The signage made it easy to find the studio in the industrial building, and I immediately felt comfortable as Alyson greeted me with a warm smile upon arrival. I removed my shoes, signed a release form (I’m a clumsy, and I’ll take responsibility for it!), and paid $2 to rent a yoga mat. The actual yoga studio was very open, loft-like, but inviting. The back wall was filled with shelves of new equipment that had never been used, like yoga blocks, straps, rug mats, and more. There was a hint of fresh paint in the air, which I kind of liked.

I found my place toward the back of the room, but there was no hiding from Alyson. We started off with some yoga sequences, followed by holding more complicated poses, and finished up with the relaxation portion. The hour-long class flew by. Alyson was an excellent instructor, guiding us individually with helpful suggestions, correcting our stances, and encouraging us when we’d done well. I had to laugh when she told me to relax my face. I could only imagine the look of concentration, determination, and confusion I was wearing. Oh well! I also loved that the lights dimmed as the class progressed, and the music was calming, not overwhelming or distracting.

I would definitely return to Village Yoga. Alyson is patient, kind, and friendly. And I felt like I got a good workout too. Special thanks to Erica for giving me the tip, and congrats to Village Yoga on a new location opening! I wish you much success. Om shanti om.

Village Yoga
855 West Blackhawk
Lincoln Park (they have a West Town location too!)

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