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Chicago 4th of July Weekend : All the Trimmings of Americana

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Welcome back! I hope that everyone had a safe and happy weekend, whether you celebrated the Fourth of July, a birthday, or just the fact that it was the freakin weekend! I think that it is safe to say that this weekend we went for it, Americana-wise (or at least as close as we could get in the middle of the city). We didn’t hit a country fair or amusement park, but we did it up true Chicago-style (and yes, that does include the hot dogs!). I was okay about taking pictures, but not the best, so I’m going to give you all a taste of the weekend but also rely on some older pictures. But with a weekend filled with beer, bbq, bourbon, brunch, brats, beach, and baseball, we’ve at least got the b’s covered if not the patriotism!

Thanks, Katie!

Thanks, Katie!

First off, I think it is safe to say that this year I spent the Fourth in quite a different state than last year: pretty much the only similarities were the fact that I was supposed to do a long run the next day and that I spent time in the sun! Last year, if you remember, I spent the day largely alone and then fighting off a fever that came out of nowhere. But at least I got some tanning in and wore a giant hat. 

Rose DeWitt Bucater taught me that big hats are always a good idea.

Rose DeWitt Bucater taught me that big hats are always a good idea.

This year, I spent America’s birthday surrounded by people and barely at my apartment building. Here’s what we ended up getting in to!

Friday: 

Alex finished his last night shift of this week of night float, came home, and went to bed to try to rest as much as possible before our friends started to arrive. Meanwhile, I headed over to my office gym for a turn on the spin bike and leg machines. I knew that I wouldn’t be running until Sunday, so I decided to blitz them, lol. 

I got a text from my boss (on vacation) the night before asking if I could take a client to see a few units which a) happened to be in my neighborhood and b) would happen before anyone arrived, so I agreed and headed off to those appointments.

North Water Apartments View

500 Lake Shore Drive View

The apartments that we were looking at really sucked. 

Then I met up with the first round of arrivals (and Alex) at Howells and Hood, which used to be one of our favorite bars and restaurants, but has, to our chagrin, not been as good the past few times we’ve been there. This time, however, the food was great, but service took forever on the bright side, it did give us time to catch up and soak up the awesome weather. Then it was back to the apartment to wait for the last of the crew to arrive (necessitating many hands of a$$hole) before heading off to Chicago q for dinner!

Being a bad girl, I didn’t take pics at dinner, but Alex and I went with our usuals and also as per usual ate our bodyweight in the chips and pickles. To say that we overate would be to say that I am a natural blond. There is just no other way around it! But it was so delicious….

Hopsmith Tavern Gold Coast Chicago Bar Upstairs

Then we headed over to a newer bar in Gold Coast called Hopsmith Tavern that I’ve been hearing really good things about, and it did not disappoint! The interior is awesome, there are multiple levels, a fantastic draft and bottle craft beer selection, and even this cool little extra area that nobody seemed to realize was even there that we of course commandeered.

Suz and Friends at Hopsmith Tavern Chicago 4th of July Weekend

And it even had a twister spinner built into the wall + a tv playing the music videos to the hilarious DJ’s playlist (a magical mix of throwbacks). We will definitely be back!

Hopsmith Tavern Ladies Room Wallpaper

Also, check out the wall paper in the bathroom–HILARIOUS.

After Hopsmith, we went to meet one of our visiting friend’s brothers who happened to be in from out of town as well (for the Grateful Dead concert–omg Deadheads were EVERYWHERE) in Old Town, and I called it a night around midnight and walked home. Apparently the rest did not too long after, but some when to a barcade that sounds like also needs to be a destination for us the next time (who the hell knows when that might be) we make it out with friends).

Saturday

I woke up early, and unfortunately, so did one of our friends who had arrived with a raging sinus infection that he had been (unsuccessfully) fighting. He made the executive decision to go back home early to try to recover, and I don’t blame him. Poor guy, he looked a wreck, but hopefully getting home will help. I did some weights and yoga (what else was I going to do with everyone else asleep?) and waited….. Finally, I roused the remaining 2 (one of them being Alex), and we head to brunch at a local favorite, West Egg, around noon. 

west egg carls egg white scramble

I got my Carl’s, which always hits the spot. Alex got the corned beef hash skillet, which I of course helped him out with. 

Gang at Oak Street Beach Chicago 4th of July 2015

Our next move was to meet the two friends (actually, the couple that got married right outside Charleston last year) at Oak Street Beach, which was in its glory on the Fourth: Good (live and recorded) music, beer choices, and even Don Julio Margaritas on tap, plus people watching galore and the amazing weather. But the outfits that some people were wearing…. hahahhahahahaa and oooohhhhhhh…..

Wrigley Field Group Shot 4th of July

The next big ticket item was the Cubs game at Wrigley Field. I went last year when my little/MOH visited, but Alex still had never gone (none of the others had, either), so we thought, what better way to spend the Fourth of July than watching America’s sport at one of the most famous and oldest ballparks in the country while drinking overpriced Bud Light and eating Chicago style-dogs and nachos?

Alex and Chicago Style Dog at Wrigley Field

Answer: not much better, so we went with that option! I obviously didn’t have a hot dog, and I also didn’t get my Cracker Jack like I did last time, but I still filled up on all sorts of things that I rued the next morning on my run, lol.

The weather was spot on perfect, the Cubs played a great game and won handily, and we didn’t even have to go anywhere for the zenith of all July 4th celebration traditions: fireworks. As we were sitting in the bleachers (in the outfield), we had a great view of the field fireworks, but we had to look straight up for the big ones overhead (I told Alex multiple times that the cool ones were straight up but a) having been drinking all day b) not being able to hear me that well over the fireworks and c) wearing a hat, he didn’t realize that they were even there until just before the finale). I could seriously watch fireworks all day. 

Wrigley Field Day and Fireworks Panorama 4th of July 2015

Wrigley Field 4th of July 2015 Fireworks

Because of the construction that they are doing at Wrigley, getting out of there was a bit of a nightmare, but we made it (finally) and headed over to the Clark/Roscoe section of bars where there is a place called Beer on Clark that Alex had been many times and really wanted to take the others to. Essentially it is a dive bar, but they have decently priced beer and you can play beer pong, so Alex loves it, haha. I personally really dug the guy playing the live music–>he used a keyboard to jazz up what would essentially be karaoke tracks, and then he sang, but it was great frat party-esque tunes that you know all the words too and can sing along as well. I ended up returning way earlier than I thought I would, but my body and brain had just cashed in its chips, I needed a snack if I was going to power through and there were no options really (especially as the body as cashed in its chips yuk yuk yuk), so I headed home early again. Glad I did, though, seeing as the next things I knew, it was about 3 in the morning and the boys were yelling in the other room doing God knows what. Alex got in bed around 4, and I got up around 5, seeing as I was expecting to coach (they moved the run to Sunday for the holiday) and everything!

Sunday

I ended up not coaching, as it was an all-group run (all of the locations running together out of the Old Town locations, rather than at their stores), and I wasn’t needed, so I took the liberty of doing my run on my own. And it was quite good, except for some gastro issues that kept cropping up. I was back at a pace much closer to my usual 8:30s for long runs, and other than the 1 stop and a few pauses, I felt pretty damn good!

I came back and showered and started the laundry (knowing there would be more) and then started my next project: making a protein shake smoothie. You all know I don’t really do smoothies, or protein shakes, that often. So why, you may ask, was I starting one now? Was it because I was hot and bothered after my run? Or that I was concerned for my hydration and ability to consume food? (HAH)

No. It is because after 9 am Sunday, I am now on a liquid(ish)/ low residue diet until Wednesday around noon.  No, I’m not doing a cleanse (well, not by choice, or of the typical nature of a cleanse). Rather, this is very much NOT by choice, though you can definitely say I will be rather cleansed after 3 days: I’m getting a (routine) colonoscopy. 

Yaaaaaaaaaay. NOT.

And, to add to the fun, the prep hasn’t worked on me the past 2 times I’ve had the procedure done, so we are trying to clean me out a bit more thoroughly. I’ve actually been supposed to be on a low fiber, low veggie diet for the past week but THAT hasn’t happened. Though I will say, they could have done the procedure after my run on Sunday. I was clean as a whistle, then. Deal with the TMI. I have Crohn’s, I run, and you know better. To add insult to injury, I have anxiety from the past 2 failed preps and actually get panic attacks when I have to drink the solution. This will be super fun.

Laundry, groceries, and soaking up the last of the friend time rounded out our weekend, as did catching up on sleep and then watching the Women’s World Cup Final!

Wrigley Field 4th of July 2015 Flag

All in all, it was an All-American weekend where I was surrounded by many of my favorite people. If that isn’t living the American dream, I don’t know what is!

All the #America! How @Suzlyfe spent #4thofJuly in Chicago #mimm #fitfluential Click To Tweet

We certainly had a busy few days, did you do all the things, too, or were you more low key?

What do you like to eat at baseball games? Wrigley has pretty decent options in the main seats, but in the bleachers (which is separate, you are a bit more limited. Still, if you are worried you can bring your own food in).

When was your last colonoscopy? Everyone should get them done every few years!

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