Wednesday, February 5, 2014

And Its Official

Right after I posted about the possibility of going to Alaska, I got the official word that I'm hired.  I'm super excited and can not wait to head north.  Between now and May, I feel like I have tons to do. 
  • Do some new work stuff.
  • Buy plane ticket.
  • Make reservations. 
  • Sublease apartment.
  • Pack.
  • Move.
  • Visit both kids.
  • Also want to make sure I have passport in hand before I leave just in case opportunity for foreign travel pops up
So many things.

Have any suggestions of what to take with me for a spring/summer/fall in Alaska?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Heading to Alaska

Fingers crossed.  If all goes well, I will be heading to Alaska in May.  I'm currently in the running for a job at a resort in Delani.  My excitement can hardly be contained.  Hopefully, I will find out this week.  More news on this adventure to come.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sketchbook Project 2013

I have wanted to participate in Sketchbook Project since I first heard about the project through Linda at Curious Notions.  2013 was my year.  Below are photos of the book I mailed off.  I had planned on drawing pictures but the book evolved to a travel scrapbook instead.  I traveled quite a bit for me last year and it made logical sense to create a scrapbook.  Enjoy.




Saturday, December 7, 2013

Chicago Wine Bars

I love wine.  Can't deny it.  In the slightest way.  I love it.

I would rather have a glass of cheap wine than an expensive martini or craft beer any day. 

So the thought of going to a place that labels itself "a wine bar" makes me swoon.  Unfortunately, I have only made my way to two wine bars in Chicago: Bin 36 and Oenology.

First up: Bin 36
339 N. Dearborn Ave.

I've been here twice. Pictures are from my first experience. My friend Christy accompanied me both times. Our experiences are like night and day. First time, the service was horrible. The second time, it was fantastic. Both times the food and wine was excellent.   During our second visit, we mentioned to the gentleman who brought us our wine flights that our service was going so much better this time.  He continually checked on us and pried information out of us about prior visit.  Little did we know he was the owner.  I highly recommend a visit to Bin 36 if you are in the downtown Chicago area.

Next Up: Oenology
505 N. Michigan Ave.
This wine bar is tucked into a hotel building like Bin 36.  I spent a few hours here killing time and enjoying a great flight of Pinot Gris and a cheese plate.  I feel in love with Pinot Gris on my visit to Portland, Oregon.  While the bartender and I both agreed that my wine flight and cheese plate did not compliment each other, both were fantastic.  I picked them individually based on my taste buds at the moment.  The red wine I ordered as a follow up went perfectly with the Hardliner cheese flight.  Yum.  Try this place.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Burgers in Chicago

I have a thing for hamburgers, not traditional hamburgers which are plain with lettuce, tomato, and raw onion.  I love ones with STUFF on them.  If you know me, it is typically the same type of stuff over and over but I like to compare burgers.  Burgers are something I get mad cravings for every couple of weeks.  I wish I was more consistent with my food picture taking so I had pictures of each restaurants' burger for comparison.

The standard stuff I like on my burgers - cheese, bacon, fried or caramelized onions, bbq sauce.  I do venture off my standard path occasionally but I'm fairly predictable.

DMK Burger Bar

DMK Burger Bar was recommended to me by several people as The Place to go for burgers.  Well....that would not be my opinion.  I had the Aged Cheddar burger with caramelized onions.  The flavor didn't pop for me.  The burger was small and the bun...not my favorite.  However, the Amish Blue and Smoked Bacon fries and Chili Rubbed Onion Strings were amazing as well as the Not-So-Daiquiri Daiquiri.  I would definitely go back just for the daiquiri.  It is very rare to find a bar that can make a regular lime daiquiri or even know what I am referring to.  It was delightful.
Kuma's Corner
A terrible picture. My phone, at the time, took awful pictures.
Kuma's Corner is by far my favorite Chicago place to get a burger.  They also offer fantastic mac n cheese with a variety of add-ins. Yum yum. I've tried the Mastodon and Kaijo burgers.  I love the pretzel buns.  The burgers are huge and flavorful.  The atmosphere is heavy metal (not my first choice) but I love the heavily tattooed and pierced staff.  Kind of an anything-goes type of place. Kuma's is very popular and usually involves a long wait but it's well worth it.
Poag Mahone's
OMG! Try the Bacon, Beer and Shot burger at Poag Mahone's.  Wonderful. Good bun, great flavor, nice size.  Perfect.  I went during traditional happy hour.  The bar sported an afterwork white-collar crowd. 
Another of my favorites is the Hillbilly Paradise burger at The Squared Circle with cheddar, pulled pork, and bourbon bbq sauce.  This restaurant does an unique twist to burgers.  They stuff them.  My burger was stuffed with cheddar and topped with cheddar.  Hell yes!  Check out their menu with the different combination.  Ahhhh, now I'm hungry. 
Chicago offers so many places to get burgers that this will not be my last post on burgers. 
Have any recommendations for me?

Monday, December 2, 2013

Operation Leave the Country

This is the name of my master plan of traveling the world.  Not original, I know. But...whatever.  Below is the list of steps I need to complete. (not in order yet) (and not complete)
  1. Take passport photo $12
  2. Order passport $135
  3. Apply to Trusted Housesitters
  4. Make appointment with TEFL office
  5. Take TEFL class $1350
  6. Move my stuff - sell, take to Toledo, store in Chicago, something
  7. Check visa requirements for first destination
  8. Ask work about transferring
  9. Find a place to live
  10. Save money - amount unknown - England $1500 90 days before in savings and $750 for visa
  11. Buy plane ticket
  12. Get bank account with low overseas atm fee
  13. Find out if shots are needed
  14. Set up separate email for bills
  15. Learn some Spanish, helpful
  16. Need decisions on cell phones, computer, e-reader
  17. and on and on
If you have any suggestions or items I should add, please let me know.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Step by Step

Yesterday, a friend of mine asked me about getting his passport based on several drunk conversations we have had about moving overseas together.  He was sober.  I was shocked that he remembered our conversations and talked about it to another one of our friends.  Needless to say, it motivated me.  I've had steps mapped out in my head on what is necessary to achieve my goal of traveling around the world.  Today, I wrote it out.  Or rather I should say I started to write the list as I'm sure it will be ever evolving until I actually leave.  I already knew as of last month that I needed to start moving forward with this goal if I was ever going to actually do it. 

I want this goal more than anything I've ever wanted in my life.  Whether my friend joins me or not, I am leaving the country.  I've decided to call it Operation Leave the Country.  Not very original, I know, but it works for me. For now.  According to Married with Luggage, you should name your journey.  Its a motivator.  Its working for me.  I posted something on Facebook about achieving step one of my Operation and I've since had 2 separate conversations about it.  Yeah!  Keep the motivation going.