Friday, April 1, 2011

It's rainin fans! HALLELUJAH! It's rainin fans!

The forecasted rain may have held off for the Cub's opening day....but Chicago was flooded with Cubs fans EVERYWHERE in the city. Pouring out of the subway, crowded on the street, in Wrigleyville, on Michigan Ave....the blue and red circled-C was seen everywhere we looked. It was nice to see such mass support and excitement for the local sports team. I don't believe the weathermen of espn would ever predict such a fanstorm for the Bobcats in Charlotte....

Cubs Fans galore at the bar right outside the field!

Our plan to bolt out the door, ready to tackle the day by 9:30am was thwarted when 1) I couldn't quite hop out of the bed...no matter how gently-and gradually louder due to alarm settings-Ray Lamontagne was singing to me and 2) sleepy girl+movie last night= had to blog this morning!

So, Emily patiently waited on me to wake up, sip coffee, fret over word choice, and get ready.

We made it to our selected "breakfast" spot by-drumroll please................noon! We dined at an eggcellent restaurant called Yolk (as suggested by roommate Taylor Florio). Every time I googled the restaurant I kept spelling it "yoke" and not "yolk." Some would say this was an error. I would say I'm just that holy.


mmmm egg-bacon-avocado-quesadilla-wrap-thing

Today's forecast called for rain. Since I'm made of sugar, in such condition I would surely melt. So today was museum type activities day. After waiting in the mile-long-line outside Shedd aquarium, braving the cold, constant mist for about ehhh 15 minutes, we made a game-time decision to get a Citypass which would get us into 5 of the museums/aquarium/Willis Tower-formerly know as Sears Tower deck BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY LET US SKIP THE LINES!! BRING ON NEMO!

Did we actually find Nemo in the Shedd aquarium? Indeed! And a few cousins. Plus some sea horses. And about 98024890 other species of fish.
epitome of a kissy fishy face.

I tell you what- that citypass is legit! Skipping lines, a 4-D movie, AND the live animal show? Yes please! I know what you're thinking-what the heck is the 4th D? Glad you asked, it's the cool air rushing in when you watch a storm blowing over the penguin huddle, the bubbles that pour out when the sea lions swim and play, and please don't forget the shaking chairs and the punch in the back at the moment a shark snatches one of those lions by the teeth that scares the absolute crap out of you so much so that you literally scream out loud. Yes, the chair punches you in the kidney.

Baby Beluga in the deep, blue sea...errrr-tank! The live show consisted of these white whales, flippin dolphins, and a floppy huge sea lion.


#penguinsinlove #presh

EVEN THOUGH WE'VE BEAN THERE, WE WENT AGAIN! To the bean, that is. How can you resist a giant mirror bean? We couldn't.




After riding a SUPER crowded train back towards our humble abode, we freshened up for one of the nicest dinners we've ever had-sponsored by our dear host mind you. Brushcetta, tortellini, duck, magnificent creamy potatoes, and chocolate bread pudding--between "breakfast" and that Italian splendor, I'm not due to eat again til June. We now find ourselves reclining on the couch, full bellied and sleepy from adventure.







Masters of all things "city"


Emily was spotted with two giants yesterday. Or at least that's what it looked like when she stood in between Cierra and Elizabeth Williams (Player of Year and MVP of McD's game- no big deal...she's going to DOOK).
note: we had to take a pic of a pic with my phone from the back of Em's cam, so this is technically a bootleg pic...

We got to spend time with Ci that morning before she hopped on a bus to go to another all-america game in Indianapolis (the WBCA Convention). It was fun realizing that we were hanging around the TOP basketball players in the country. UConn, Tennessee, DOOK recruits....We even saw Marshall Plumlee and Cody Zeller...whose brothers play at DOOK and Carolina. After realizing both the Plumlee and Zeller families have produced three boys who've gone D-1 apiece, I decided that my next goal in life is to find someone with which I can repeat such an accomplishment. If you know of any available giant, basketball playing men....point them my way.


We then meandered over to Navy Pier...pretty cool spot to see. We were able to get some Garret's Chicago Style popcorn to snack on our bus ride. Chicago Style= Cheese popcorn+Caramel popcorn. Sounds really strange, but tastes really good.


We have graduated from elementary busrider champions to SUBWAY QUEENS! No, no, no...we did not down 2 five dollar footlongs apiece...we mean the L-Train! The L took us over to Wrigleyville, where we were to meet our dear friend Natalie Butters! (shoutout to Castaway summer '07...the summer Emily got stuck with me for the rest of her life...)


In Wrigleyville, Em purchased my fave book To Kill A Mockingbird at this really great used bookstore called the Bookworks.

I played on the ladder there.

Pretending to be Belle.

After our dreams of eating at the local Cubby Bear (aka CubbyBunny) were shattered....we settled down for a nice afternoon 4 hour lunch with Natalie.


Wrigleyville is a great place to wander if you come to CHITOWN. Also, you should hit up Strange Cargo. A small apparel shop that will print all kinds of Chicago type, obscure, and unfortunately some obscenebutreallyfunny shirts. Emily got a shirt that says I'VE BEAN HERE with the Chicago Bean on it. LOLOLOLOLOLOL

Giant thrifstore....with a few somewhat questionable elements...such as the "pornuary." Eek.

(I'm sure you are know wondering what a pornuary is. See below for the best descriptor)




True to our we-like-to-relax habits, Em and I came back to our 38th floor home to watch a movie and eat some chicago deep dish pizza from a pizzeria down the street.




PS Today I finally understood what a hashtag means. #omgmylifetotallychangedLOLZ


Thursday, March 31, 2011

'member that time we conquered America?

Well, we're back.

Not on a roadtrip, but a wait-on-the-runway-for-two-hours-why-do-we-always-have-terrible-flight-delays-when-we-fly-together trip by plane to the Windy City...Chi-town...Chi-to the ca-to the gogo! (shoutout to LLH)

We only thought it appropriate to revive this old thing to share our adventures with friends just as we did that faithful summer 2 years ago....because, hey, this IS adventure and this IS america...right? Dern Skippy.

"BAD WEATHER, MY ASS! WE HAD A BROKEN PLANE" says the flustered business man as we fiiiiinnnaaallyyyyy step foot onto Illinois soil. Only 2 hours behind sched. Not too bad. (sorry I cussed, mom...my english teacher in middle school told me it was cool if we were reading or quoting.)

The man, the myth, the legend, watchouthe'llspoilyourotten Matt Grander picked us up from the airport to take us to our fabulous 38th floor condo we will be living in the next 4 days. We step out onto the balcony and see far out into Lake Michigan, then turn and see Wrigley Field, and we think to ourselves we have the best friends in the world! (see view below)

hello awesome view!

Wrigley Field is that large mass kinda to the left.

With a home, a full belly, some plans, an infinite bus pass, and a hug, we set off on our own. What? You worried about two small-town, Southern girls navigating Chicago's transit system? Us too.

BEETEEDUBS. The whole inspiration for this trip was to come and watch Miss Cierra Burdick, current Butler High School star, future Tennessee Lady Vol star, most relevantly MCDONALDS ALL AMERICAN!, and most importantly Julia's homegirl play in her MickeyD's Allstar Game.

So as we TRIUMPHED over that bus system, arriving at the United Center to watch our girl Cierra throw down upon the West team, we figured that considering we noticed that there had been approximately 783 restaurants per square inch in Chicago seen thus far, there would probably be a few options for pregame dinner right next to the place...right? Nope.

Walking a few blocks, freezing and starving....hope arrives on the horizon....or wait, is it hope? or am I just weirded out by that sign? Billy Goat Tavern and Grill: Cheez borger Cheez Borger Cheez Borger NO PEPSI "COKE"

um. dooo wut?

erupting into puzzled giggles, we reached no conclusion as to what NO PEPSI "COKE" meant (though it was on the flag and in fluorescent flag form), we tromped passed this goldmine of oddity....

I know I've drowned you with endless detail on just one day...so I'll give you the highlights of the game:
*Cierra straight BALLED. Started, played lots of minutes, looked awesome in her red McD's uni (not to mention they gave her three sweatsuits, three pairs of shoes, and endless other items of clothing)
*At half time, she was given the Naismith Award for best sportsmanship throughout her season and time with the other players and coaches.
*The girls game was way more fun to watch than the guys. Whoops, did I just mean that? yep.
*You should have seen her superstar statusness as people were asking for her John Hancock left and right.
*The best highlight about the game, and about her really, is that her bball talent is just one factor of how wonderful this girl is. I'm telling you, she's something special beyond an orange ball and net: the strongest work ethic I've ever seen, a selfless attitude, a huge heart, humility that is almost baffling, hilarious, fun, intelligent....she's the real deal peeps.


Thanks for giving us another chance. Until tomorrow folks.
And we will have more pics...alas! technical difficulties




Monday, June 8, 2009

Yes we are going to wrap it up.

So we both just woke up from after returning to Salisbury...


Okay, so we didn't actually just sleep for 48 hours, but I'm thinking that we could have.


Let me just catch y'all up since we last left off...


Aunt Barbara had to drag us out of bed about 9:30 and then treated us to breakfast at The Breakfast Club. Large omelets are not the only thing TBC has to offer.....you also get large waiters with large personalities. By large I mean a really, really tall blonde guy that sounded like a cheesy radio announcer...and spoke at the decibel level of a radio announcer. I'm pretty sure that I did not do well in disguising my reaction to such exuberance when he opened his mouth and we were T-boned with an outpouring of enthusiastic service.


When we got to Nashville, we got to see our awesome friend Danielle Peters!!!!!!!! She was our guiding light during that summer at Castaway 2007. Ellis, her son, was just a little baby then and noww he's 2 ( he can tell you that too...along with telling you all the abc's) and is the cutest thing ever. I would like to compare him to a parrot. Not because he has colored feathers all over his body, but because he will copy everything you say. We were mature for one time in our lives and did not abuse this entertainment. But at one point he informed us, "I need a dougnut" and when asked if he could have any food in the world, naturally he replied without hesitation "Tacos" This kid is the second genius named Ellis I know. And his new little brother Monroe is the best baby ever, though he basically gave me a drool bath.






After prying ourselves away from the precious Peter's progeny...we headed over to see Miss Alice Floyd, intern friend from Sharptop Cove 2008. She took us to Rotier's for dinner which was absolutely WONDERFUL. If you go to Nashville, please do you and your belly a favor and go there. Good homecookin' with glass bottle cokes, ribs with homemade bbq sauce, sweet potatoe fries, squash casseroles, hashbrown casseroles, cornbread, fried okra...........you get the picture.


Then Alice took us to Bobbie's Dairy Dip which should be renamed to Bobbie's Mountain of Ice Cream in a Cone Shack. We wanted waffle cones but wanted the small amount of ice cream...I mean our bellies had just handled a plate full of good southern cookin', there wasn't too much room to wiggle. But ol' Bobbie gave us the Grand Teton's of ice cream. Emily got to a point where she started biting the ice cream and spitting it out (on the pavement of the parking lot). I had to scoop some out in a cup and throw it away as well...which is saying something with my sweet tooth and amazing ability to pack away tons of sugar in one sitting.


The good food did not end there, my friends. Alice's mom cooked us breakfast in the morning: bacon, eggs, and BAKED GRITS. After cooking the grits, she baked them with butter and cheese. I mean she had to add the butter and cheese for good healthy vitamins, right?

We hit the road, stopping in Knoxville to see Al-pal from Sharptop #2, Allan Hamilton. ( We have called them both Al-pal at some point). It being EMILY's 22 BIRTHDAY, Al treated us to SunSpot, a little deli-type place. Em's goat cheese and spinach quesadilla was delicious! (I know because I just ate her leftovers that she left at my house earlier tonight) There are a bunch of haiku's that customers had written and put under the glass that lays on the table......so we wrote one as well and stuck ours under there too, Allan strategically placing it on top of someone else's.


We crossed over the NC border......but even better we crossed over into ROWAN COUNTY and passed through my stomping grounds on the way to my house. Emily got the honor and privilege of being shown West Rowan High School, home of the mighty Falcons and my alma mater. She got to see the football stadium, the new tennis courts, the outside of the gym where I have spent many hours sweating, and the cows and goats that roam on campus.



Since it was Em's birthday, I told her we could eat anywhere and she chose Zaxby's, which was a nice closing meal since that was also our first meal of the whole trip. We got a redbox movie (Bride Wars again hahahahah) and stopped at the permanent funnel cake and snow cone place that occupies parking lot space in Salisbury to celebrate the birthday.


video


And thus concludes Em and Jew's Adventure Across America. 9,444.1 miles. 33 states. Over 150 hours in the car. Yes, we are still friends.



We would like to thank our sponsors:

Sonic, Zaxby’s, Honda, Wise Cheese Doodles, Young Life for providing endless connections across the country, Ellis Hartsell, caffeine, the creators of Mad Libs, Rand McNally, People Magazine, Columbus for discovering America, post-its, Tammy and the community of Cortez Colorado, gumbo, everyone who let us stay with them, and last but not least, our loyal blog followers and readers…who made us feel like at least somebody cared about what we were doing.


Special Shoutouts to Gert, Mitch, Attie, and Carlos. Without y'all, we couldn't have done it.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

In 48 hours, the trip of a lifetime will be in our pasts.





We are in Lebanon, Ohio tonight with Em's Aunt Barbara and Uncle Ronny. We thought we'd be here by dinner time, but due to a little forgetfulness of losing an hour time change and some random 2:30 Chi-town traffic....AND some miscalculation of roads.....we got here at 11 pm. The time change and traffic put us behind 2 hours, and our little mistake another 1.5 hours. You would think we would have mastered this whole navigation thing by now...

Anyways, our last day with Natalie today was quite glorious. I woke up early with Nat to go on a walk with her mom and mom's friend earlyyyyy. I got a nice little tour of the GE, along with their opinions on outside decor of homes. Emily slept.

Once dragging Miss Riseandshine Cochran out of bed, we went (Em still in her pajamas) to Caribou to meet Bob Davidson, another Young Life friend from Castaway 2007. After soaking in the humor, wisdom, and basic awesomeness of Mr. Davidson...we ate lunch at a cute, little place called Honey (where Bob's wife actually bakes the most delicious cupcakes we've ever had....esp the Vanilla Bean ones).

Natalie sipped on a glass bottle Cheerwine that we brought her while we packed, savoring the last few moments of having southern belles in her presence. Then it was Hit the Road Jack...and off to Lebanon we went!

FELLA's: This yankee sippin' on Cheerwine is SINGLE!!!! Holla if you want her digits

Aunt Barbara was ready for us...Steak and potatoes warmed to feed our growling bellies....and a cake for Em's 22nd birthday which will occur on Saturday, June 6. 252-947-2980 if you want to call her and tell her that she has great taste in friends and road trip partners...oh, and if you wanna give her a little happy b-day wish as well.

We are still Alive.

Apologies! We have been on blog hiatus for a few days...

First of all, we left Minnesota after having Zorba's pizza again for lunch Monday. It took us the rest of the day and evening to get to Naperville, where we were staying that night. Once we were getting pretty close, we missed an exit, and took a little detour through some other random suburbs, finally arriving at the Grander's house in Naperville after midnight. Needless to say, the late-night arrival deterred us from blogging.

Tuesday we slept in! And then we were treated to a delicious breakfast at Egg Harbor...well, more like brunch...but yummy nonetheless. The Grander's are family friends of mine that I've known since before I can even remember. They were my neighbors growing up...but really they are more like family. Every time I've been in the area the past 3 years, Emily has just happened to be with me so it was fun for both of us to see them. Plus, I feel like every time I'm around they just spoil me rotten...and this time Emily and even Mitch were spoiled! They took Mitch for another bath!! 

After laying around all day just hanging out with the Granders (and after Em faced some fierce competition in ping pong) and being treated like queens (I mean they even washed and folded our clothes....which really helped because Em and I had both been wearing the same pair of shorts for a couple days...) we headed over to Glen Ellyn to reunite with our other roommate from Castaway summer 2007 Natalie Elizabeth Butters!!!

Portillo's hotdogs and cheese fries for dinner plus 2.5 hours of catching up still sitting in the restaurant...followed by some hang time with Natalie's high school bff Gwen was what our night consisted of.

Todayyyyyyyyyyyyy (Wednesday) we walked into Glen Ellyn (or Pleasantville as Nat calls it) and got some Einstein cinnamon bagels (followed by another hour long linger) then walked around a little more. Stopped in at the Young Life office of GE, seeing some old Castaway acquaintances.

This afternoon, Emily and I finally caved. For so long this trip, we have been able to resist participating in something we do almost every time we go anywhere in a car. We went to the outlets.  But I will say I am proud of us, we came out with a LOT less than we normally do (Em with nothing! and I with just a few very clearanced items).

Tonight was a girls night with Natalie's mom Bonnie. We went to Shannon's Irish Pub where my personal comfort was shaken when a huge bug started crawling up the wall. If you know me at all, you would know that I have no fear...except for when it comes to bugs. But luckily Natalie killed it and we were able to enjoy our meal. But I'll admit I was relieved to leave, I just was scared another one would crawl on me! I'm such a pansy, I know.

But we rented BRIDE WARS!!!!!!!!! (or Wedding Wars as Bonnie Butters called it). Kate and Anne: applause to you, you funny gals. We all really enjoyed the movie, especially that side commentary of Bonnie who shushed Natalie in the beginning explaining "We don't talk in movies"...then answered the phone about 7 minutes later and proceeded to have a conversation for 10 minutes. Once off the phone, she then asked Nat about what she missed, and as soon as Nat opened her mouth immediately shushed her again. It was absolutely hilarious. Thank you Bonnie for some added humor to the already funny movie.

A late night run to Mickey D's for milkshakes, caramel sundaes, fries, and chicken mcnuggets led us to wasting the past, oh I dunno, hour or more watching the replaying of MTV Movie awards which I've found to be not even as funny as Bride Wars. MTV, I think you are just trying a little too hard.

We have another half day or so in GE with Nat tomorrow!

Can you believe our trip is winding down???






oh yea and don't you worry...Emily and I caught up on the Bachelorette today via computer. Our favorites are Ed, Jesse, Kiptyn, Robby, and Reid is growing on us. Juan and David (who looks just like the Rock) have gotttt to go. And Jillian, please chill out on kissing every guy thanks.


Monday, June 1, 2009

Maddie Deegan took my job at Castaway.




Good news party peeps...we decided to go back and see all those stone Presidents! George, Tom, Abe, and Teddy were still there, waiting on our return to come and snap a pic or two. Again, we did not pay the ten bucks required to park and gander. If you ever go, just see it from the road...it's a great view.

We made a little pit stop in the "downtown" part near Rushmore to get some postcards. I also purchased a yellow tee for $3.99!!

So we finally left Rapid City area around 9:30. Approximately 9:32 was the time we saw the first Wall Drug advertising sign on the side of the road. Then for the next 45 miles, we saw sign after sign a couple hundred feet apart informing us of all the glories that Wall Drug had to offer. We couldn't help but just drool at the thought of stopping at such a wonderland. Wall, SD: thank you for providing us with an opportunity to waste ours and so many others time by pulling over to see the drug store who at first only offered ice water in a time where such a thing was scarce. Today, you offer us a giant T-Rex head that lights up, smokes, and growls every 12 minutes when it is "feeding time."

Sorry South Dakotans, your state has officially been voted the most boring state to drive through. It felt like we drove 3 days just to get to Sioux Falls (on the opposite side of SD than Rapid City)...and then we still had 1.25 states to drive North before veering east across the Minnesota border towards Castaway.

But thanks to Wall Drug, we had a Mad Lib book and some America Brain Quest Trivia to entertain us for hours today! The current score on trivia is very, very close (Julia is up by just a few, but it constantly fluctuates).



We finally got to some familiar turf around 8ish. Stopping by Castaway (where we spent our Summer 2007 and really the birthplace of our friendship), we headed to the most delicious pizza place I've ever experienced, Zorbaz!! (Or you can call it Zanza's like me) We devoured our pizza, took a pic of where Emily, Lauren (remember our Boulder friend!) and I wrote our intern classes name from 2007.

After dinner, we've been kicking it with all the new interns here at Castaway, some we know, some we just met. We are both very very very very very very jealous of these folks to be just beginning such a great summer! It's hard not to be at YL camp this summer, but I guess we don't have it so bad going on such a spectacular road trip.

Don't worry, we will be returning to Zanza's for lunch tomorrow.

Until tomorrow brings us more words to share...