An American Adventure – Chicago Edition

Last month, I went over to my parents’ house and slept over so we could wake up early the next morning and drive really far west. A friend of the family – someone I have known since I was four or five years old – was getting married1 in Chicago.

I have been to Chicago before, but it was winter and while the snow made everything that much more beautiful, it was far too cold to really enjoy just how beautiful the city is. We arrived at almost 1am on Friday morning, and left at 8am on Sunday morning. There was a rehearsal and dinner held on the Friday, and the wedding itself on the Saturday – it was a busy weekend.

I had insisted on driving through Cleveland for our mid-way stop. I didn’t want to drive through Michigan, so I scoured the routes to try to find something fun to check out. What’s more fun than checking out a craft brewery while you’re on a road trip?! The Great Lakes Brewery was in the heart of “downtown” Cleveland. We walked around a bit to stretch our legs, before going into the brewery for a linner-like snack. The food was okay, but the beer was delicious.
chi2016-7

Rye Oh Rye Can’t We Win

Sausage and Perogies anyone?

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I went with a dark rye IPA called, “Rye oh rye can’t we win,” ’twas delicious. I only got a half-pint as it would be my turn to drive once we got back on the road. I bought a growler to take home to Toronto with me, and a six pack of a few of their other brews.

The Air BnB we stayed in was a little disappointing for a family of clean freaks, but it didn’t stop us from enjoying our stay. Besides, the location was so convenient and lovely that the fact that we had to sweep under the bed a little bit and avoid the window sills really wasn’t all that much of an inconvenience. I do wish we had been able to use the jacuzzi in the bathroom, but we were only really in the apartment to sleep, shower and get ready all three days that we stayed.

There was so much to love about our trip to Chicago; everything we did was a lot of fun: The Chicago Riverwalk, The Lake Michigan Sightseeing Cruise, Walking to and through Millennium Park, Going for coffee and breakfast (Jackalope Coffee & Tea, Ain`t She Sweet Cafe and Robust Coffee Lounge), going shopping , and of course the rehearsal and dinner, the beautiful wedding ceremony and dining and dancing at the wedding reception.

Aren’t they cute walking down the aisle?
These balloons at the rehearsal dinner made their way to the wedding reception too

The beautiful couple’s first dance
The gorgeous Chicago waterfront
Windswept on the boat tour

I thought it would be hard being in Chicago after the changes I’ve made in my life recently, but it was surprisingly easy and carefree. Life, actually, has been wonderfully carefree2 in general. I still feel some pain, but it is so much more manageable than it was. I think I might even have gotten a glimpse of the end of the tunnel – I say might because I am trying to focus on the here and now.

On the way back, we drove through Michigan; specifically, we stopped in on the Great Lakes Crossing Outlet Mall. We scored some pretty sweet deals, but we also had a longer stop-over than we did on the way to Chicago… not a big deal at the time, but it meant that we didn’t get back to Toronto until 1am again. Getting up for work the next day was a little tough, but it was all worth it. I hope this is the first of many road trips I get to take with my parents, and hopefully we’ll be able to take my brother and our beloved dog with us on the next trip.

Enjoy the first half of the photos from our trip. More to come later this week.

Footnotes:
  1. finally – it’s a long story[]
  2. maybe not completely but there has certainly been a vast improvement[]

Don’t let the door hit you on your way out, 2013!

Well, I guess that’s it. Isn’t it? This year is finally behind us. I’ve never looked forward for a year to end so much as I have this year. This year was the worst year out of all the years of life. And yet a lot of wonderful things happened1; I guess it just goes to show that there is always good that will come out of a bad situation. I just wish there had been more good this year than bad.

The things I wish to never forget about 2013:

1. That time I was in the pilot episode of a reality TV show called, Come Date With Me on the W Network.

Still from Come Date With Me Canada

2. Being auctioned off at Love a Heart2. Photo credit: Chris Luckhardt.

Facebook Events | Love a Heart

3. Stage Managing for Canadian Music Week and meeting #LeBeau, Garret3.

Canadian Music Week Stage Manager

4. Stage Managing for North By North East and meeting Sloan. Sorry no pictures.
5. Getting a brand new family member, Drogo.

Drogo Sy!

6. Having a custom vine made just for me by Cyrstal Light Canada.

Facebook | Crystal Light Canada | Weird & Wonderful You

7. Assistant Stage Managing for Pride and getting to meet and work with En Vogue.

En Vogue at Pride 2013

8. Going to Cunt Cottage and having an amazing weekend away from the city.

http://fragileheart.com/wp-content/uploads/cunt-cottage.jpg

9. Working for TIFF and getting to see some stars up-close-and-personal-like. No pictures, because I want to be able to work there again in 2014.
10. Going on a boat cruise with Shannon & the gang courtesy of Crazy Uncle. No pictures because I have no idea what I did with the pictures from that cruise. Oops.
11. Volunteering for TEDxToronto4.

TEDxToronto 2013

12. Being in a feature film that won an award at TOIndieFF2013, was part of the official selection at DIFF2013 and reviewed here.

Unhappy Happy Still
13. Working on the 48 hour film project where our team won Best Ensemble Cast.

Hashtag Bougie Productions

13. Meeting and falling in love with #LeBeau’s two daughters5. No pictures, of course. They’re too wittle.
14. Celebrating Christmas with our families and getting 2nd Christmas with the girls. Also no pictures, because I’m a spoil sport like that.
15. Being able to celeberate my birthday & the holidays with some really awesome friends. Again; no pictures, because we didn’t take a group photo and there are too many great ones to choose from.
16. Getting to keep in touch with my wifey, Christine Estima even though she’s a gazillion miles away.

Skyping with the Wifey

Last but not least…
17. Getting to do this fun photoshoot for Ford Canada with the ever-sexy, Ford Fiesta, Marie & Brock.

Date Night with the Ford Fiesta

Shopping fun with Marie & the Ford Fiesta

I’m not at all interested in re-living the past that was this horrible year, so I won’t go into any details about it. I would rather look forward with hope and excitement for what 2014 might have to bring. I can only hope that it’ll be a good year because if my own personal history has taught me anything 2015 is set to be another doozy. You see, there’s something about years that end in zeros and fives – they don’t like me very much. I had a terrible 1995, I can’t say 2000 was any better, 2005 was horrible, 2010 was another nightmare year… mind you, they were all bad for heartbreak but not much else.

Anyway, that’s a whole 365 days away. For now, here’s hoping that in 2014, I…:

  • …no longer have to worry about how I’m going to pay for groceries or laundry.
  • …can actually afford to meet up with friends at least once a week.
  • …find the energy to get off my ass and start exercising again.
  • …will visit my parents and cook for them more often.
  • …will stop worrying about things that I really have no control over.
  • …can reconnect with some old friends who I miss but have drifted away from, for no good reason. And stay connected.
  • …get to go camping twice – once with the family, and once with the man and/or friends.
  • …get to visit somewhere I have never been.
  • …write more for this blog.
  • …learn how to make a Filipino dish I have never made before, but love to eat.

And that’s about it. I had a longer list but I’ve cut it down some in an attempt to be a little more realistic with my resolutions. I didn’t make any resolutions for 2013 because at this age, I’m kind of over them. Since 2013 was such a bad year though, I needed some things to look forward to. And these are some of the more important things I’m looking forward to for this New Year.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

What are you looking forward to in 2014?

Footnotes:
  1. I met Garret this year after all[]
  2. an annual favourite[]
  3. Nope. Not his real name[]
  4. another annual favourite[]
  5. and finally having children in my life. wee![]