Week #18 – WhirlyBall

Well, friends, the mystery is solved. I now know first-hand what WhirlyBall is…and it’s pretty fun!

I was excited to see WhirlyBall on the agenda when I received the invitation for our friend Scott’s 30th birthday. I asked around a bit to see if other friends had gone and what they thought of WhirlyBall, and I only heard positive things. How’s that for word of mouth advertising?!

Saturday night was the big night. After filling up on Art of Pizza (some of the best pizza in the city!) and homemade cake at Scott and Katherine’s, we were ready to compete.

I played about three games, always on Team Red. (Tip: the black cars were rumored to be the faster cars.) My strategy was to knock the whiffle ball out of my opponent’s scoop, and T-bone people to throw them off when trying to pass. Ha.

If I’m going to be brutally honest, I was terrible at offense, but was confident in my defense skills (I was always a badass full back in soccer), and I was terrible at scooping up the whiffle ball. (I got extremely nervous and usually lost out to my opponent who was faster than me.) Needless to say, I never scored.

The biggest surprise I found—other than how much fun it is to hit your friends in bumper cars—is that you get really hot, temperature-wise. I really didn’t think I’d have to put too much effort into it, but if you take it seriously, you can get heated up!

Other nice surprises of the WhirlyBall facility are the big bar area where they have huge TVs and an excellent craft beer selection (I had a tangerine wheat beer named Clown Shoes), along with many arcade games, air hockey tables, pool tables, and—you guessed it!—a photo booth. (See below for my photos with Nate.)

Some unofficial rules I learned from playing WhirlyBall. 1. Ladies, don’t wear high shoes. My wedges looked really cute when I was hanging out in the waiting room, but they were not nearly as cool to drive in. 2. Prepare to get banged up! I have four sizeable bruises on my legs. Ouch!

If you have a fun group of friends who aren’t afraid to get competitive, WhirlyBall is a must. I’m so glad I tried it, especially while celebrating a good friend. Happy birthday, Scott!

1880 West Fullerton

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Spotlight New York City – The Smith Restaurant NYC

In my early 20s, I lived in NYC with my sister Lauren while I interned for a few summers. During that time, we pretty much lived the dream–went to cool parties, dined at the trendiest restaurants, and spent our weekends at the beach. Some of my best memories are from those summers!

When I visit NYC now, my priority is spending the most amount of time possible with my sister, her hubby, and my two sweet nieces, Emma Jean (2 1/2 years) and Jules (9 months). But since my friend Callie moved there in October, I like to meet up for brunch or to grab a drink if we can.

Last time I met up with Cal, we went to Cafe Lalo, a neighborhood favorite on the Upper West Side and an important setting in the movie You Got Mail. This time, I got a glimpse at my old 20-something life during brunch at The Smith.

When you walk into The Smith, located in the East Village, you instantly feel the coolness factor go up a few notches. Imagine white subway tile everywhere, black and white photographs, chic light fixtures, and tons of natural light. The patrons are pretty much all 20-somethings, probably rehashing the good times (or horror stories) that they have from the night before. (I felt like a true Midwesterner with my North Face puffy jacket on in a sea of hip-clothed diners.)

We were seated quickly (a plus!), and they brought these adorable wine bottles filled with still and sparking water, along with some of the tastiest bread and butter (I swear, what they say about bread being better in NYC because of the water is very true) I’ve had. Side note: must find wine bottles to use for water!

Because I’m on antibiotics again (wha whaaaa), I ordered one of our waiter’s favorite housemade sodas: agave lemonade. This tasted so delicious without being overly sweet. The mint leaves were a good touch. Cal ordered the other, cucumber ginger ale, and my sip was especially refreshing.

On to meals: I opted for the Simple Scrambled with scrambled egg whites, home fries, and apple smoked bacon. Even though the food was a little pricy (heck, it’s NYC), the portion was good and everything tasted delicious. Cal ordered the Avocado Sandwich with goat cheese, cucumber, sprouts, tomato, and red onion on multigrain bread with a side of spinach (damn Callie and her healthy ordering!).

One thing I noticed the restaurant had was a photo booth on the lower level. Now, I don’t know about you, but when I see a photo booth, I must take photos–this is kind of a golden rule of mine. I have precious strips of photos from the mall, college bars, adult bars, and weddings, so this visit was not going to be the exception. After plenty of giggles and ridiculous faces, we had our photos, and the perfect memento from a perfect brunch date. Can’t wait to see where we’ll end up next time!

The Smith Restaurant NYC
55 3rd Avenue
East Village

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