#tbt I’m on a Boat (on Lake Michigan)!

Now that it’s officially fall, this #tbt post (a new concept I’m trying because I’m behind on posting) seems completely necessary.

Seeing as boating on Lake Michigan has been on my to-do list for awhile, you could imagine my excitement when, late in the summer, we chartered a yacht for my bestie Tara’s bachelorette party.

I can’t recommend this enough! Here are my five tips for enjoying your time on the water:

1. Take lots of photos, including selfies. For some Chicagoans, getting on the water is a common thing (lucky devils), but for the rest of us, this opportunity is once in a lifetime–so document it. Must-take photos include (but are not limited to): group photos, skyline photos, photos with the captain, posh/diva photos, and sunset photos.

2. Skip short skirts/dresses and heels. I learned this the hard way. It’s windy, and there’s a ladder to the upper deck. Need I say more?

3. Don’t go below deck unless you have to. This is especially for my seasick friends. As long as I had fresh air, I was in good condition.

4. Be a tourist. You get such a great tour of the city on Lake Michigan and the Chicago River. Take advantage and pay attention to your surroundings. Repeat tip #1.

5. Have a good time! Being on a boat is an awesome experience. Be silly, be funny, live it up!

I’m so grateful to Tara and her sister for organizing this! Tara is getting married this weekend, and I couldn’t be more excited. I realized over the weekend that we’ve been friends for 20 years, which is just crazy and brings me a lot of joy. I am so happy for her and her husband-to-be. Wishing you both a lifetime of love and happiness! Xo

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Week #35 – Water Taxi & Lao Sze Chuan

Nǐ hǎo from Chinatown!

Honestly, this one goes down as one of my favorite things I’ve done for the blog so far! I’ve had a water taxi ride and visiting Chinatown on my to do list since the beginning of the blog, and I couldn’t have picked a better group to check these activities off the list.

Bridget, Trey, Lauren, Bill, Gina, Erin, and I all met at the Madison Street water taxi station around noon to take the water taxi down to Chinatown. For $5 (each way), we could take in the beautiful sights of the city…on a water taxi!

We boarded the boat and walked toward the front to get the best view. I was worried about the boat being a little rocky, but rest assured, these taxis are smooth sailing. We caught up as we headed south on the river, posed for photos (see below!), and enjoyed the hot summer day.

Quickly we arrived at the Chinatown stop, where we were greeted by a huge Chinese structure (which we posed by on our way back to the loop). We walked through the winding residential streets until we arrived at the heart of Chinatown, where there’s a square, and lots of shops and restaurants.

Not only is Lauren the coordinator (and mom) of the group, she and Bill lived in Singapore for two years and traveled extensively around Asia, so I gave her the task of choosing our lunch spot. Lao Sze Chuan was her choice, and I couldn’t have been happier. Recognized by the Michelin Bib Gourmand, Lao Sze Chuan is one of the highest rated Chinese restaurants in Chicago!

Natalie and Pat met us there, and we started off our meal with a spicy cabbage appetizer (brought to every table, like bread) and green tea. We ordered Tsingtao beer, per Lauren and Bill’s suggestion, and it was refreshing on that warm day. For appetizers, we snacked on crab rangoon and pot stickers, and for the main courses, we had a little bit of everything: sesame chicken, sauteed green beans, shrimp with broccoli, fish, crispy spicy chicken, mongolian beef, spinach, orange chicken, and I know I’m missing more. The best thing about going to Chinatown with a bigger group is that we were able to sample so many different flavors. And what meal isn’t complete without dessert, a.k.a. a fortune cookie! Now, I don’t know about you, but I am superstitious and won’t read my fortune until I’ve completely eaten my cookie. My fortune was: Time is the wisest counselor…in bed. Don’t you add “in bed” to your fortunes? Once you start, you won’t stop, I promise. 😉

After our delicious meal (I will definitely return!!!), we wandered around Chinatown, looking in the shops and getting lost in the summer heat. When we returned to the square, we took pictures by the different Chinese zodiac signs: Erin, Gina, Pat, Natalie, and I are dogs; Bridget and Lauren are pigs; Trey is a monkey; and Bill is a horse. (In no other context is that sentence appropriate!)

From there, the majority of us headed to the water taxi to return home. Seriously, before this hot summer weather goes away, take a water taxi ride down to Chinatown for a bite at Lao Sze Chuan. It’s like a really inexpensive architecture tour with a good meal in between. I promise, you won’t be disappointed. I know I wasn’t!

Chicago Water Taxi

Lao Sze Chuan
2172 S. Archer
Chinatown

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Week #12 – Dyeing of the Chicago River

Well, friends, I’m checking a major accomplishment off of my to do list: seeing the Chicago River dyed green for St. Patrick’s Day!

Now, I did a little research and discovered that the city of Chicago has been dyeing the river green for more than 50 years. I’ve been alive for 30 of those. How many times had I seen the green river prior to yesterday? Zero! (Damn, that’s too many numbers…)

My friend, Lauren, offered to have people over because she lives in a high-rise condo building along the Chicago River on LaSalle—prime real estate to see the infamous green river! Or so we thought…:)

My sister-in-law, Melissa, and I arrived at Lauren’s for a St. Paddy’s Day-themed extravaganza: green eggs and ham, green-dyed bagels, Lucky Charms cereal, Irish soda bread, tater tots (not so Irish, but beloved nonetheless) and more. I brought pistachio bread (Melissa’s recipe) because the bread has a green tint from the pistachio pudding (see photo below). Oh, and I can’t forget the mint chocolate chip ice cream-spiked Shammy Shakes too!

As we enjoyed the food, drinks, and company, we waited for the green dye to come along. And we waited. And waited some more, but it never came! Once we realized it wasn’t going to make its way to LaSalle any time soon, Melissa and I went down to the river, determined to see it.

We crossed the bridge to Wacker Drive and walked east to see the dye. Once we got to Wabash, we couldn’t miss the bright green river! I’m so glad I’ve finally seen this great Chicago tradition, but I have to tell you—it was cold! Too bad I didn’t decide to check it out last year when it was 80 degrees!

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