Entries Tagged as 'chelsea'

Birthday Weekend at the Spa

September 8th, 2013 · No Comments

Dallas is away in New Hampshire this weekend at Ross and Chelsea’s wedding. My doctor was really iffy about me traveling for this wedding, so I decided to stay home. Dallas thought about staying home too, but we’d already paid for the room at the inn and when we looked at airfare to Boston it was only $200(and some)! That’s pretty much a deal you can’t pass up. I used to travel to Boston every week for work and I’ve NEVER seen airfare close to that cheap. Anyway, with Dallas away and it being my birthday weekend, I had no other choice but to spend the day at the spa!

spa_nordstrom

For my birthday gift, Dallas got me a prenatal massage. The prenatal at Spa Nordstrom is the kind where you get to lay on your stomach… which is like ZOMG IT HAS BEEN SIX MONTHS SINCE I LAYED ON MY STOMACH!!! To do this the massage therapist puts a big cushion on the massage table. The cushion has indentations for your face, chest and stomach so that your body is supporting your weight and no weight is put on these areas. It looks like this. The massage therapist at Spa Nordstrom told me that there are only a couple places in Chicago that use these cushions that allow a pregnant woman to lay on their stomach for the massage. And as for the actual massage, yeh. It was pretty much the best thing ever. My back issues have subsided a lot since seeing the physical therapist and by sleeping on the couch a few nights a week, but it was still pretty great.

birthday_cupcake

After my massage, I got a quick eyebrow wax and then met up with Kristin, who was also at the spa. We headed to Cafe Nordstrom to lunch on some delicious salads and we split this decadent chocolate birthday cupcake. We were catching up and talking a lot and before I knew it I had to run! The spa was calling me!! My day there was not over. I also treated myself to a pedicure with an amazing leg and foot massage and a quick manicure. I may have also treated myself to some Vosges chocolates afterwards :).

Later on that night I met up with Trent and Loden at Ed’s house to watch some ND/Michigan football. I didn’t really care about the game, even though Ed and Trent are big Michigan fans, but I was interested in the meat from Paulina Market that Ed grilled and, more importantly, the famous s’mores desert he made for us!

What a fun and relaxing day. Thanks to Dallas, Kristin, Ed, Trent and Loden for making it awesome. Let’s do it again today!! (It is still my birthday weekend!)

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A Few More Days in New York

June 10th, 2013 · 2 Comments

Last week I was out in New York for work for a few more days.

tortas_frontera_ohare
Like every trip, mine began with a stop at Tortas Frontera at O’Hare. I was actually kind of afraid I wouldn’t be able to stop because of timing, but then my flight got delayed an hour and I had more than enough time. I changed it up this time and instead of getting a torta, I got the tortilla soup and the fully loaded guacamole. The soup broth was really rich and flavorful. The guacamole was good, but getting all of the toppings was a mistake, I think. I’d stick to just one or two or none next time. Also, maybe it was a fluke, but the chips were SO salty.

long_island_city
Even though my flight was delayed, I arrived early enough to visit with Jeannette and Yvan and Juliette (6 weeks old now, I think). The skies were bright and mostly sunny in Long Island City, so I don’t know what was up with the delays. It seemed fine on the Chicago side too. It didn’t even start raining in New York until later at night. Dallas was flying to Newark at the same time I was flying to New York and he had way more issues than I did.

element_times_square_kitchen
I stayed at an SPG property called the Element Times Square West, located at 39th and 8th. I booked the room because it was a good rate, but it ended up being pretty nice and spacious for a New York City hotel room. Not that I used it, but each room in the hotel had a kitchen with a big fridge, two burners, a sink, dishwasher, microwave, dishes.

element_times_square_bed
Even though I think the Element was on the lower end of the SPG spectrum, they still had the Heavenly bed that they have at the Westin, which was nice.

element_times_square_view
The view from my room at the Element.

new_york_subway
Most days I took the subway to and from work, which made me feel like I was living there again.

dumbo_view
While at work, one of my coworkers was on vacation for two weeks so I used his desk. He has a pretty nice view of the East River, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge!

zaitzeff_burgers

The food in New York is always great! With my coworker, Stephanie, I had lunches at Flavors Cafe, where we got some great salads, and CRISP, a modern Mediterranean spot. My coworker from Chicago, Ranee, has been traveling to New York a ton and took me to Zaitzeff, a great burger spot. The menu is short and to the point, not straying all over the place with fancied up burgers. All the beef is grass-fed here. I got a cheeseburger with avocado and grilled mushrooms and it was amazing. Ranee and I split fries and neither of us finished them, but I was so full from the burger that I didn’t even eat dinner really! I think I had a fruit cup!

I also met up with Jess one night and we had dinner at Tia Pol, a tiny little Spanish tapas spot on 10th Avenue between 22nd and 23rd. I’d hoped to see her new apartment that she just bought and moved into the week before, but it was getting late. I was still glad we could catch up while I was in town!

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eataly_squid_ink_pasta

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eataly_bakery

Lastly, but not leastly, the food highlight of the trip was when I finally visited Eataly with Ranee and her cousin, Isabelle. Eataly is a high-end 50,000 square foot Italian food market and shopping center. Mega chefs Mario Bitali and Lidia Bastianich teamed up with restauranteur Joe Bastianich (Lidia’s son) for this amazing creation. The shopping and the tasting rooms are all mixed into one huge crazy experience. You walk along and look at meats and cheeses and then theres and area to sip wine while eating meats and cheese. You’re looking at the bins of fresh produce, when you stumble upon the vegetarian restaurant. There’s seafood and freshly made pasta, a beer garden, an amazing bakery, meats and produce and a whole line of Italian desert stands. I could have spent all day there!

eataly_artichoke

eataly_cedrata_italian_soda

eataly_gnocchi

eataly_gelato

In the end, we put our names in for the pizza and pasta spot and there was a wait, so we went to the vegetarian restaurant, sat at the bar and shared and artichoke that was BY FAR the best artichoke I’ve ever eaten. As we were finishing, with perfect timing, we were texted that our table was ready for dinner. I love gnocchi, but a lot of places screw it up, so I don’t order it too much, but I figured this was the place to get it. The gnocchi here was served with braised lamb shank ragu and was AH MAZE ING! To finish, I had the salted caramel gelato. OMG. So done. I’m sort of glad I don’t live in New York because I’d go broke at this place!

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6 Days on the East Coast

May 23rd, 2013 · 1 Comment

Day 1:

tortas_frontera_ohare
My trips these days always begin with tortas from Frontera at O’Hare. YUM!

Day 2:

nyc_hotel_view
The view from my New York hotel. Empire State Building on the left!

les_halles
After a long day of meetings, my team went out for dinner at Brasserie Les Halles. This is the French restaurant that is the home base of Chef-at-large Anthony Bourdain. I had the French onion soup and the cassoulet (a French casserole with a white bean base, three kinds of sausage, duck confit and pork belly!). For dessert I had chocolate mousse that was made with Valrhona chocolate, a high-end French chocolate. Everything was SO delicious. My coworkers and I just kept commenting how great everything was!

Day 3:

dean_and_deluca
There was a Dean & Deluca cafe just down the block from my hotel. Very different than the Soho market I used to visit, but still very good when I stopped by for breakfast.

freedom_tower
The Roundarch Isobar office is not far from the Word Trade Center. This is One World Trade Center, otherwise known as “Freedom Tower.” Just a few days earlier, “on May 10, 2013, the final component of the spire was installed atop the skyscraper, making One World Trade Center tentatively the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and the third-tallest building in the world by pinnacle height, with its spire reaching a symbolic 1,776 feet (541 m) in reference to the year of American independence.” Look at how incomplete the building was about a year ago when I was in New York.

security_photos
Security badge photos are the worst!

seltzer
The East Coast has the best seltzer. I used to drink the Adirondack seltzer when I was traveling to the Boston office a lot last year.

the_garden
The Garden was around the corner from my hotel.

google_new_york_office
Going to meet up for dinner at Chelsea Market… Ze Olde Office is across the street.

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Chelsea Market

chelsea_market_inside
I was a little early so I walked around Chelsea Market….

jacques_torres_hot_chocolate_bar
…. and went to my favorite chocolate shop, Jacques Torres. Remember when we got a personal tour from the man, himself?!?

giovanni_rana
I met Jess, Tien, Jeannette, Yvan and Juliette at Giovanni Rana Pastificio & Cucina in Chelsea Market. This was Juliette’s first dinner out. She’s only 4 weeks old!

rana_ravioli
I had ricotta ravioli with asparagus and it was served in a crispy Parmigiano Reggiano bowl! The food here was so good. All of the pasta was freshly made on site!

Day 4:

rachelle_juliette
I left New York to go to Boston, but before going to the airport, I met up with Jeannette and Yvan and Juliette for coffee.

juliette
Juliette is so precious! Only a month old!

Day 5:

boston_painted_building
Dallas used to live in Boston and I spent a lot of time there last year so it was fun to walk around and talk about places we both had visited. This building is behind a plaza where I used to visit food trucks at lunch. It wasn’t painted like this last year!

chau_chow_city_dim_sum
Dallas showed me this place, Chau Chow City where he used to go to dim sum with Billy and Ging and Josh. He said it was the best dim sum in Boston. Funny because I used to walk past this place every day when going from my hotel to the office.

annas_taqueria
Dallas loves Anna’s Taqueria, so we had to go there for lunch.

youth_pride_2013_boston_common
After lunch we walked around Beacon Hill and then through Boston Common, where there was a Youth Pride event going on.

boston_intercontinental
I stopped at the Intercontinental Hotel to use the bathroom and we ended up staying for a while to watch the Blackhawks lose to the Red Wings.

r_d
That night we went to Colleen’s wedding. More on that later!

Day 6:

theo_rachelle_dallas_quinn
I had to head out of Boston in the evening, but before doing that, Ross and Chelsea picked us up and we went to visit Matt and Molly. We’ve hung out with their daughter Lucy many times, but it was our first time meeting their identical twins, Theo and Quinn!

rachelle_theo_dallas_quinn
I’m holding Theo and Dallas has Quinn. They are about three months old.

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Uncle Ross, Lucy and Quinn.

chelsea_lucy
Aunty Chelsea and Lucy were picking flowers in the backyard. We had an impromptu barbecue and sat outside to eat. It was so nice out. And Matt and Molly’s whole yard is in full bloom. I especially liked the lilacs and they have a ton of them!


Excitement at the airport in Boston. I was just sitting there when all of a sudden flashing lights and an alarm went off… throughout the terminal. Everyone just acted like it was nothing but then I saw some firefighters walk by. A few minutes later the alarms turned off. False alarm?

chicago_cab_fares_vomit_cleanup_fee
In the cab home. I never noticed the vomit clean up fee.

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