On The Windy City...

This post is roughly six months delayed.

But to be fair, it's been a busy six months.  More on that later.

What's important is finally sharing my trip to, what I think, is one of the greatest cities in the country. (Aside from San Francisco, of course).

I couldn't tell you what has always drawn me to Chicago.  Maybe it's the ancient ivy on the walls of Wrigley Field, maybe it's movies like Ferris Beueller's Day Off or Return To Me, or maybe it's because some of my family used to live there.

For whatever reason, I've been aching to travel there for [what seems like] forever.

Thankfully, last year I met someone amazing who is from the midwest and felt like April was as good of a time as any to finally take the trip! I obliged, of course :)

What I learned about Chicago, myself and my partner, is that we are all more awesome than I'd ever imagined.  I can safely say, this was the best trip I've ever been on as an adult.  The most fun, the most exciting, and the most romantic to date.

Chicago is a brilliant town filled with history, quirkiness, delicious food, amazing art and style for days.  It reminded me a little of San Francisco in some ways.  The way the executives descended from their high rises to meet their wives at swanky bars for dinner, the way the rainy fog can slip between the buildings and block the tops from sight, and the overall look and feel of the city.

We decided to give ourselves a whole week to explore.  This gave us time to do touristy things as well as explore on our own.  We went to some museums but not all, some parks but not all, and ate plenty of food.  Some of my favorites things include...

The Museum of Science and Industry where we saw so many amazing things.  One of the coolest was definitely this submarine.

Millennium Park and THE BEAN!  I read about The Bean once and have been obsessed with it since.  Like my obsession with Chicago, it has no reason, but if I were to be soul mates with an art installation, this would be it.

We loved it so much, we visited it twice!

Wrigley Field.  As some of you know, I am a devoted baseball and San Francisco Giants fan.  Not just as an adult, but as a kid.  I've watched baseball with my family as long as I can remember, and since then, I've wanted to see a game at Wrigley, home of the Chicago Cubs.  Part of the reason we decided to take this trip in april, was so we could see our team play at the yard.

While the ivy was more like sticks than green and the weather was freezing, the park was every bit as awesome as I'd hoped.  We spent some extra bucks before the game to take a ball park tour.  For anyone in any city who is a baseball fan, I highly recommend doing this.  It's a great way to learn the facts, stories and traditions of your team and its organization.  We had a great tour guide who told us all about the ins and outs of the field.  What I was even more impressed with was how welcoming the Cubs fans were!  We had a fun time getting to know some of them.

The food tour.  I've heard so many good things about food tours all over the country.  Despite the extra cost, I think they're a great idea.  Like the ballpark tour, I totally recommend this even in cities where you're from!  Ours tour took place along the Gold Coast and Old Town of Chicago.  I could bore you with all kinds of facts about why it's called the "Gold Coast" and what the old Playboy Mansion has inscribed on the doorbell, but I'll let you discover that for yourself :)

Even though it was rainy and cold, we were able to try: deep dish pizza, tea, sushi, chocolate, spices and perogies!  Our guide was fun, our tour group was full of good sports and the food was delicious.  The tour gave us a chance to try local things in one sitting, without having to search for the best ones on our own.

The Lincoln Park Zoo.  You guys, this zoo is FREE! One of the last in the country.  It's an amazing zoo, to boot!  When we went it was rainy and cold, but I was so surprised to see so many animals out and and about!  We took our time wandering around and warming our frozen fingers inside the reptile and monkey houses, but my favorite part was totally the big cat house.  Lots of active kitties to be seen :)

Lastly, The Shedd Aquarium.  As a Californian, I've been to a lot of aquariums, but this place was pretty special.  There's little to be said here except...


Touristy stuff aside, we did some nice things together too.  Went out to a fancy dinner, sipped champagne at a bar, tried some local ethnic food and got colds! (Okay, maybe the last one isn't so nice).

The best thing about this trip is that I want to go back. I want to go back a million more times.  Even if I see the same things, I want to spend more time in Chicago.  There are so many more things I want to do!  Go to the Museum of Contemporary Art, take a boat tour, eat more pizza, the list goes on and on.

One thing is for sure, if I do go back, it has to be with the same person :)  Otherwise, it's just no fun!

There are so many more things I could say about our trip, but I feel like this is enough.  I love the city, I love my partner, I love The Bean.

The End.


This and that...

I found this "meme" on [i] Love Life this morning and thought I'd share.  I don't really put much on this space anymore, but I figured this is a good little blurb to share about what's going on in my life lately.


What's on my...
VANITY | Not much because I have zero counter space.  I think right now, my toothbrush, my soap, my brush and some bobby pins.  If I had my way, I'd have way more cool stuff.
PERENNIAL TO DO LIST | Start swimming again. Get my passport renewed. Travel more. Take more photos of people not things. Love my house more.
REFRIGERATOR SHELVES | Right now, one too many leftovers, but plenty to eat. And a new bottle of sriracha. So.  You know.  We're good.
ITINERARY | I'm hoping to spend some time on the lovely Oregon coast at the end of May/early June.  I'd like to see fall leaves in Michigan some day.  I think I may see the blue waters of Tahoe this summer too.
FANTASY ITINERARY | Tuscany, Paris, London, Japan...anywhere that's not in the US basically.
PLAYLIST | Junip's new self-titled album. Over the Love, Flo's new single for The Great Gatsby.  (Which is basically being shortened to 'Gatsby' and I'm not sure how I feel about that, Baz.)
NIGHTSTAND | Silver Linings Playbook and my Nook.  Currently up on my Nook is The Handmaid's Tale.  Tough read, but really good.  Also some books I need to read and a Giants magazine. :)
WORKOUT PLAN | Uh. That I should do that...
IPHONE | Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Texts, Email. Not that exciting.
TOP 5 LIST | Chicago. Instagram Prints (from here). Indoor plants. My man. A good pair of boots.
BUCKET LIST | Go back to Europe. Cover all of the states. Sit on the Oscars red carpet. Stop killing outdoor plants.
MIND | Finding balance after Chicago. Inspiring myself again for work. Finding a new creative project. Finishing my crochet blanket.
WALLS OF YOUR FAVORITE ROOM IN YOUR HOUSE | The one above my TV. My photo wall.  Complete with new Bean and Wrigley photos.  I love it.
LIQUOR SHELF | Wine and bourbon.  Oh, and Pimm's. No good combos there.
SCREENSAVER | You know, I don't have one on this computer. My personal computer has the apple "flurry" on it. It's like hypnosis to me.
TV EVERY NIGHT | What don't I watch on TV every night. Survivor on Wednesdays, Project Runway and Scandal on Thursdays, cooking shows on Saturdays and Mad Men and Amazing Race on Sundays.  Plus a million other things.

Hoping to get a Chicago post together soon.  I'm finally settling in after the trip, but organizing photos for a post will be fun. Stay tuned!



Reflections on 2012...

It would be an understatement to say that 2012 was an eventful year.  I don't think I'm alone on that front.

There are a lot of different ways I could approach a post about 2012.  Reflection, photos, 'bests', goals, etc.  As I was looking through my photos from the year I realized just how much I'd done this year.  Made things, cooked things, gone places, met people, new job - all of it.

Maybe it's not cool to say this, especially on your own blog, but hey, I'm proud of myself!

So here's my reflection on an eventful, stressful, and when it comes down to it, wonderful 2012.

I went to Pixar. IN Pixar.

I made a clutch...or five.

Spent some time with my kid-brother.

At this place. You know, my favorite place?

I found out how magical the TARDIS is and have a real one now. (it's bigger on the inside!)

Threw a Sherlock themed birthday party. Complete with decorations, costumes and British nosh :)

I made a throw.

I met a nautilus. And it was awesome.

I worked and I waited. And indeed, opportunity did come on that Tuesday.  New job FTW!

I made a dress.

I bought new shoes and took my favorite "foot picture."

I celebrated the wedding of one of my oldest and most dear friends.  It was everything and nothing that I expected. But mostly everything...

I met this guy.

And we went some places.

I carved a pumpkin.

Went on a business trip.

Explored minor league hockey? But took a good picture with the bro-unit.

Got my first real Christmas tree.

Dressed up.

But when it comes down to it, what got me through this year the most were the people around me.

My favorite, most wonderful family.

And my fantastic friends far and near.

There is no way I would have made it through this year without my people, achievements or not.  At the end of the day, it comes down to the people you fill your life with, and I'm lucky to be able to fill mine with the best people I know.

I'm moving on to 2013 with high hopes, exciting plans and quite a few more goals to meet.  I'm excited to start and even more excited to leave 2012 behind.  I wish all of you a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year and hope that you get to celebrate it with people who are special to you.

All my love for the New Year!

~ Marina


Some Things...

It's been a while since I've posted anything personal on here. So I thought I'd flip through some photos to give you an idea about what I've been up to.

I found my favorite shoes for the year. They are amazing.

Went on an adventure with David into emo territory. Otherwise known as Berkeley. We dressed in camouflage. 

I went on a business trip for the first time.

I managed to make my way back to this place.  For a very important game.

I carved a pumpkin. His name was Bob.

Took part in a turkey fry.  It was delicious.

Found some fantastic free type and made love with it.

Made do without pro hockey and supported the local minor league team.

Brought home my first live Christmas tree.

And then there's this fellow.

Things are good. Things are real good.  And I'm not questioning how or why, I'm just enjoying them.  In a lot of ways, I want it to stay like this for a long time.  I'm so excited to start 2013 with this momentum.

To close out, I've had this post-it on my bulletin board since the Giants went into the playoffs.  It payed off then, and it's paying off now.  In the words of Hunter Pence, "Win. That's all."

You should too.

Here's to more wins in 2013.

With love,