Chicago! Part II

In case you missed it, please go back and read Part I to find where I left off. :)

And in case you missed these awesome guest posts from the beginning of the week- go back and read them too! One is from Ashley, and the other from Calee (which also includes a really cool giveaway!)

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, Monday!

Monday started off with a quick fitmixer bootcamp workout- but this time I just did the whole thing in the hotel room. Once again, I was a sweaty mess when I was done! Greg chose to sleep for an extra hour- and he probably needed it! We got ready and left the hotel room pretty early, because we had a full day of touristy activities planned! We had made reservations to go on an Architectural Boat Tour at 11:30, but wanted to go up in the Sears Tower before that. But, before we went anywhere- we got breakfast.

Back at Corner Bakery, Greg stuck with the same egg+bacon+cheese sandwich he had gotten the day before (boring!) and I opted for the Swiss Oatmeal.

Oh. My. Yum.

This was definitely the first time I’ve seen “overnight oats” on a menu anywhere- and it may have been the best I’ve ever had! It was made with yogurt, banana, apple, oats and raisins. Normally I’m not a fan of yogurt in my overnight oats (I prefer cottage cheese or protein powder instead), but this may have changed my mind! It was also served with a raisin “cracker” that I crumbled on top. Perfection!

After a delicious and filling breakfast, we walked to the Sears tower. The City Pass that we had purchased at the Shedd Aquarium included admission to the Sears tower. We went in the building, took the elevator all the way up, and enjoyed the view 1400+ feet in the air!

One of the really cool things at the top (besides the 100 gift shops that you have to walk through) were the plexi-glass platforms that you could walk out onto.

I had done something similar to this at the Capilano Bridge in Vancouver last summer, but this was quite a bit higher and kind of…. scary. I stood on it, but my legs were definitely a little shaky!

We went back down to ground level and headed over towards the Navy Pier to catch the boat tour. I was really excited about this, because it was the one thing that everyone told me we “must do.” A group of us loaded into an open-air boat and a (funny and awesome!) tour guide told stories about the various buildings as we floated through the river.

Greg thought these buildings were really cool- they are condos on top with a parking deck underneath. He called them “Jetson” buildings, but our tour guide said that locals refer to them as the corn cobs. They were designed by an architect that didn’t like to design with corners, since they’re not found in nature (so everything is in spherical form!).

If you ever go to Chicago, I highly recommend this tour. Learning about the city and the architecture was so interesting- and having a great tour guide really makes it a great experience!

By the time we were done the boat tour, we were pretty hot and ready to cool off somewhere indoors. We were also hungry- and had a place in mind where we really wanted to go for lunch. Greg and I both love pizza- it’s probably my favorite food, period. But, neither of us care for “Chicago” style pizza- we are thin-crust lovers. One of Greg’s co-workers had told him about a great pizza/brewery in Bucktown called Piece, so we hopped on the train and headed over there.

I could tell immediately that this was my kind of place. :)

The had a great beer selection, including seven of their own, so we got a sampler to try them out.

We liked all but one of them- the one that was (heavily) brewed with coriander. Yuck. We each ended up getting a pint of two of the hoppier beers.

I ordered a salad to start- that came with a big, fat side of goat cheese!

We weren’t sure whether to order a small or medium pizza to share. We saw the guy next to us get a small for himself, and it was pretty tiny- so we went with a medium (which said it would feed 2-3 people). Greg can certainly eat some pizza, and I figured that I could down at least 2 slices (it was thin crust, after all). When our pizza came out we were shocked- it was huge!

It was topped with fresh tomatoes, red onion (my 2 choices), sauteed mushrooms and Italian sausage (Greg’s choices). This was one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had- period. The crust was thin and crispy, there was lots of sauce, and not too much cheese- that’s the perfect combo to me. I ended up having three slices and Greg had about double that- and we still had about 4 slices left! It was heartbreaking, but we had to just leave it there. This was, by far, the best meal we had during our entire trip to Chicago.

Slightly buzzed and with our bellies full, we hopped back on the train to hit our last tourist attraction from the City Pass- the Hancock building. Like the Sears Tower, we hopped in an elevator and rode all the way to the top. The Hancock also provided great views of the city, but these views included the beach!

I was kicking myself again that we didn’t plan on hitting the beach while we were in the city- but there’s only so much you can do, right?

We did a self-guided tour (which was free- shocking!) that was narrated by David Schwimmer!

I couldn’t help but think of Ross saying “we were on a break!!”  every time I heard his voice. :)

After making our way all around the top of the building, we headed back to our hotel to change and get ready for baseball game #2. Since we were in Chicago, we had to knock out both baseball stadiums! And the Monday game happened to be the Cubs vs. the White Sox- very cool! U.S. Cellular field is definitely different than Wrigley. Wrigley has much more of a “classic” ballpark field, and U.S. Cellular is a lot more modern- but both are really beautiful in different ways.

Our seats were really high up- but the view ended up being really great!

The first pitch was thrown by NBA great Scottie Pippin, which was really exciting to Greg (me? not so much). The fans were pretty much a 50/50 split of Cubs and White Sox fans, which was to be expected. It was kind of cool to not care which team won, and just sit back and enjoy the game with no expectations. (Both of us have a tendency to get our emotions involved during Red Sox games.)

I probably could have skipped dinner after my huge lunch of pizza and beer, but got something to eat anyway. The food selection was actually pretty decent, considering it was a ballpark. I got a “taco salad” of sorts- tortilla chips topped with shredded chicken, lettuce, tomato, salsa and guacamole.

Greg had a few beers, and I helped out a little

We did not get margaritas from this guy, even though we were tempted.

It was delicious!

When the White Sox scored a home run (which wasn’t very often on this particular night) the lights would flash above the scoreboard and fireworks would go off!

I got a kiddy cone to top the night off- it was the perfect size after a day of indulgence.

As we left the stadium, we got a great view of the Chicago skyline.

And we finally got back to our hotel.

Monday was SUCH a great day. :)


Tuesday arrived, and we were heading back to Maryland early in the afternoon. Since we needed to be at the airport by 11:30 or so, we didn’t really plan anything out and took advantage of sleeping in. I did my fitmixer bootcamp workout in the hotel room, which only took about 20 minutes, and then we headed up to the hotel gym. I hopped on a bike for 20 minutes and rocked out to part of one of my Spinning mixes while Greg lifted. We ended our workout with another rockin’ partner core workout. Part one was using the Bosu trainer and doing squat tosses back and forth (love these!)

Don’t I look awesome?

And we did a series of oblique twists, where we stand with our backs to each other and pass the ball around (Greg’s favorite!)

We love doing these partner core workouts, and for some reason- only ever do them when we’re on vacation! I keep saying that I’m going to go buy a Bosu trainer and medicine ball, but that hasn’t happened yet…

After showering and packing up, we visited the Corner Bakery for one last breakfast…

This was a “Panini Thin”- and they weren’t kidding. It was thin- but delicious. Unfortunately, a breakfast like this would never fill me up, so I paired it with an apple and some barney butter.

We took our time getting to the airport and got there early enough to relax for a bit. (I was representing BLEND, of course)

I grabbed some lunch for the plane from Potbelly (which looked to be the best option) and ate it about halfway through the flight. Not too bad for airport food!

We lost an hour on the way back, but eventually made it back to Baltimore in one piece. By the time we got home, I was so happy to see these little faces that I had missed so much. :)

Chicago was awesome- but it’s always good to be back home. :)

Do you work out when you’re on vacation? Have you been to Chicago?



  1. Haha I just quoted Ross saying the same thing in a post earlier this week! That episode was just on the other day, too. Weird. Anyway, I’ve never worked out on vacation since I haven’t been on vacation since I started working out regularly last year. And I have no vacations planned. Okay, this is just making me sad.

  2. Looks like your hotel had a nice gym!! I always see people doing those medicine ball workouts — they look so fun!! I miss having a gym a little bit. Especially when it’s been 100 degrees this week. The boat tour reminds me of The Breakup!! You got some great Chicago pics!!!

  3. I wore my Blend shirt in Minneapolis on the way home to Denver, too! Great minds think alike. :)

    You guys really know how to max out your time on vacation – I admire that! I haven’t been to Chicago as a tourist yet but I do love the city (from what little I’ve seen at volleyball tournaments). That glass platform at the top of that building, though? NO THANK YOU! My stomach turns just looking at your photo!

    And way to keep up with your workouts while traveling! Truthfully, though, I find it easier to get up and work out when I’m on vacation travel rather than work travel. Work travel = late nights, early mornings, no control over where we eat for dinner, etc. It’s hard to be ‘good’ in situations like that! But vacation is a different story :) Kudos to you!

  4. Looks so fun! I have never officially visited Chicago, but it was the O’hare airport that welcomed us back to America after China, and boy, was I ever happy to be there! One of the major PoliSci conferences is held there every year though, so hopefully I’ll be getting out sooner than later. How great is it to have dogs to come home to??

  5. I used to live down the street from Piece and Real World Chicago was filmed across the street from the restaurant.

    • How awesome!! And I didn’t know that about The Real World. I’m trying to remember if I watched that season…

  6. Wow, what a fun trip! I do try to workout on vacation, I love using hotel gyms.

  7. I’ve been to Chicago once, but was too young to appreciate it! Lake Michigan beaches are seriously amazing, come to the Michigan side and I’ll meet ya there ;)

  8. I’m definitely one for workouts on vacation, at least what I’m able to accomplish. I’m looking forward to my trip to Boston and NYC where there will be lots of walking! And when I’m in Boston, I’m staying at a hotel that has a 24 hour fitness center. I can’t wait to try it – I love new gyms to try!

  9. Chicago sounds really fun. I’ve been once, when I was a senior in high school and looking at a college in Wisconsin, we flew into Chicago and stayed there for a day, but that was a long time ago. Maybe I need to convince Jason that we should go for our next vacation. It is on my vacation list (which also includes San Francisco and Denver).

    • Yes- Denver. You should go in mid-July. I’ll meet you there. :)
      San Fran is awesome too- but I really love Marin County and Sonoma County (Wine country!!)

  10. I love to workoutbwhen I’m on vacations! I’m a runner and enjoy triathlons, so I’ve mostly run, swam, and/or biked while on trips. I love being able to explore new places while getting exercise! I have run around Sydney Harbor, viewing sailboats and great places to explore later in Auckland, bike riding the Golden Gate Bridge, running in Denali National Park and encountering moose, biking through wine country in Sonoma during the Vineman 70.3, and wheeling on the bike path in Seaside, FL to explore little shops to visit later in the week! My running shoes, cycling shoes, and goggles have made the rounds for sure. My list of places I’ve run is long, and I wish I had keptba list of all the places my shoes have explored. Chicago is one of my fav cities. I’ve been twice and both times were to run the marathon! (one of those being the year it was cancelled due to extreme heat and lack of fluids for runners and at mile 17 was told couldn’t finish). The architecture tour was one of my favorite things and visiting Garrett’s popcorn shop! P.S. I love your blog. I have recently fallen in love with spinning due to a great instructor.

    • Hi Karen! So glad to hear that you have found a great spinning instructor!!
      Sounds like you’ve seen some AWESOME sites during races and runs!! That makes is even better!

  11. I love how active chicago is!! You can walk everywhere! looks like you all did and had a blast!

  12. I just saw that you had Corner Bakery oats! That’s one of my favorite breakfasts in Chicago (since Cereality closed). We used to make it at home at least once a week for breakfast too, gotta start doing that again.

    • Cereality sounds like the best restaurant ever- too bad it closed!!
      You’ll have to tell me exactly what you put in your version of Corner Bakery Oats- like down to the detail. :)

  13. Ahhh! I am SO glad you linked back to this post! I can’t believe I missed it! Chicago is definitely on the TOP of my list of cities to visit so I’m totally sitting here taking notes! I HAVE to go to Corner Bakery! I can’t believe they had OO’s on the menu! I’ve never seen that…but of course, I live in a VERY small town (geographically AND minded). Oh and that pizza bar looks incredible! I love getting little beer flights like that! And holy massive ball of goat cheese! Gimme gimme! ;)

    Those views are absolutely breathtaking, but I’m with you on the plexi-floor…I can look OUT at high heights but I cannot look DOWN…makes my knees jiggly and then I start getting dizzy! Lol

    I don’t usually workout while on vacation…well, unless you count the excessive amount of touristy walking (which believe me…TOTALLY counts!). I’ve been to Chicago once, but it was on a high school trip and I SO didn’t appreciate it like I would now! I can’t wait to visit again!


  1. [...] We fit SO much into the few days that we were there, because there’s just so much to see and do! I loved it there- and want to go back! July [...]

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