Saturday, October 13, 2012

3 Day Getaway: Chicago Pt2

After the river tour, we were starving (and freezing) so we hightailed it to the a close restaurant that my Bee friends has told me about. It's called the Purple Pig and it is A.W.E.S.O.M.E! When we arrived close to 7pm there was a 2 hr wait... no way we were going to so we headed near the bar with hopes that someone one stand up soon so we could enjoy open seating at the bar. An older gentleman stood up and offered me his chair, while he stood behind his wife who was seated at the bar. We ordered some delicious things like the Bone Marrow smear that was to die for and the Milk Braised Pork Shoulder, which was silky smooth and very juicy.
Bad Lighting but yummy marrow straight from the bone

We got caught in conversation with both; the older couple seated to our left a couple of New Yorkers to our right. We all got along fabulously, spent the night sharing bottles of wine and passing our dishes around the bar to share with our new friends. Who would have thought you could have such a wonderful time with strangers!

After dinner, we randomly decided to hit up the Chicago Blue Man Group show. We hopped on a cab for a quick 15 minute ride and arrived 15 minutes began to buy our tickets. It was a very entertaining and interesting show. Definitively unlike anything I had seen before but not something I like enough to see twice. Tomas on the other hand was ecstatic, he had been wanting to go see them since forever.

On Sunday, we slept in a bit since we had walked all over Chicago the day before and had  a very late night.We skipped breakfast in favor of heading straight to the Willis Tower, the tallest building in the US and the famous Skydeck. The Skydeck opened in 2009 and it features all glass boxes on the 103rd floor the allow you to step in and look down through the floor towards the ground  1,353 ft below.

Quite a rush. One that deserves proper refueling of the body and we couldn't leave Chicago without trying one of their world famous deep dish pizzas. Lucky for us, right around the corner from the Willis tower stood  a Giordano's restaurant and we figured it was worth the shot (and the wait, the place was packed with Chicago marathoners)

We walked back to the hotel, said our goodbyes and I drove 5 hours back to Cincinnati by myself.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

3 Day Getaway: Chicago

One of the positive things about Tomas getting to travel so much for work, is that I get to travel a lot too! For instance, since Tomas would be spending a month near Chicago it was agreed that I would drive up so we could spend the weekend exploring the city together.

After a long 6 hour drive, the last hour locked in traffic trying to enter the city, I arrived in Chicago and headed over to pick up Tomas from the train station. We quickly made our way to the hotel, Club Quarters-Central Loop to drop off our bags and find a place to eat. I have to preface by saying that all the incredible food we had was the highlight of our trip to Chicago. Some of the lovely Chicago ladies over at Weddingbee had made some suggestions on their favorite places to eat in the city, and every single thing that we tried was awesome. Following the suggestions of my Bee friends and using Yelp to guide us to the nearest location, we found The Gage.  I can definitely say everything about this place was great. The food, the drinks and the ambiance.

Early on Saturday morning we walked to The Bongo Room for another incredible culinary experience. Chocolate Tower French toast or Banana Hazelnut Pancakes anyone? We learned on Yelp that you could order one slice instead of the whole serving, so we did that to be able to try as many yummy food as possible. After brunch we waked along Washington Park until we came across "The Bean". I swear we must have spent a solid hour trying to take cool pictures using it as a background.

We spent the rest of day pretty low key just walking along Michigan Avenue and doing a couple of hours worth of shopping. In the late afternoon we did the Architecture River Cruise offered by the Chicago Architecture Foundation. It was very interesting to learn about the rich architectural history of the city but the cold low temperature were too much for us to handle and we had to spend half of the tour looking out through windows.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Jibarita Reads

Welcome to a little special post series called, Jibarita Reads. A little known fact about me is that I love to read. I love reading books, research papers and the back of toothpaste tubes but my absolute favorite has become reading articles. I spend at least an hour every day going through articles on Slate, Huffington Post, Newsweek, NYTimes etc. So on Friday's I'd like to share some of most interesting things I've stumbled upon during the week, maybe even hit you with a book review every once in a while. 

This past weekend the New York Times ran a op-ed piece by Stephanie Coontz, reacting to Hanna Rosin's new book, The End of Men (which is totally on my Christmas wishlist). In a nutshell, the book is about the changing power dynamics between men and women and how this change will affect every facet of modern society. In the article, titled The Myth of Male Decline, Coontz goes on to discuss what she believes are grave exaggerations from Rosin on the topic of power shift between the sexes. As Coontz stated in the article:

"How is it, then, that men still control the most important industries, especially technology, occupy most of the positions on the lists of the richest Americans, and continue to make more money than women who have similar skills and education? And why do women make up only 17 percent of Congress?"  

Then on Tuesday, the author of the book, Hanna Rosin, published a response in Slate, Male Decline is No Myth. In her response, she reiterates all of the things that are changing for women in the social landscape and wonders why we focus on the things that stay the same. As she writes: 

"We know there is a wage gap. We know that Suzy likely earns less money than Bill who sits in the cubicle next to her, for many complicated reasons that I discuss in the book. The new development is this: For many jobs there are a lot more young Suzies in those cubicles these days than young Bills."

To continue the saga, Coontz wrote The Rise of Women Does Not Mean the End of Men in Slate, clarifying the points where Rosin and her agreed and again stating the where they disagreed.

It's  pretty fascinating to be able to compare the points of view of these two women, both of whom have done extensive research on the topic. In my opinion, it's a glass half-full, glass half-empty debate between them. Where Rosin concentrates on celebrating all the recent changes that has allowed women to gain more power, Coontz is focusing on how women still haven't reached the same power level as men. 

I tend to agree more with Coontz reasoning, on how women ascent to power appears to be stalled compared to the leaps and bounds it had during the Mid-1900's and how there is so much more work to still be done. Books like Rosin's might distract attention from the fact that although the power has been shifting, we are far from reaching equality. I would argue, it's not the end of men...yet but we'll get there someday.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Getting in Shape: 5K & Hot Yoga

In an effort to keep myself busy while Tomas is out of town, I've started training for a 5K that will happen at the end of the month. I've been following the Couch-to-5K running plan, which alternates walking and jogging until you're in shape to run the 3.1 miles. I hate doing exercise, I'm only two weeks in and  I still haven't felt an ounce of those endorphins everyone raves about. Two weeks into training  and all I feel is pain all over my body but at least my running is getting better. As an exercise hater, I've found the  Couch-to-5K App from The Active Network, to be super helpful in getting me motivated since it integrates my running  playlist and notifies me when to switch between walking and running.

Also on my schedule for this week was the beginning of Hot Yoga. A really cool hot yoga studio, Kenwood Hot Yoga, opened this week and they are offering a free week of yoga classes, so I decided to give it a try. Yoga has always been something I've been interested in trying since it's a low impact exercise that has been recommended for arthritis patients. I've been to two classes and I think I've found a new love.

My first hot yoga class was yesterday and I felt like I was going to die! Hot yoga is definitely the most physically demanding thing I've ever done with my body. About thirty minutes in I felt like I was going to toss my cookies, so I laid down for a while. Surprisingly, after class I felt energized and the next morning I didn't wake up in crazy pain like I do after running or Zumba or any other type of exercise. I did much better today at my second class. Following the suggestions of a few friends, I drank lots of water during the day but didn't drink any during class. I also spent the whole class completely concentrated on having deep even breathes instead of trying to perfect the poses and I think that really helped. I signed up for a thirty day yoga challenge where I will be doing yoga everyday until November 1.

I'm super excited about getting my health back on track, it's something I've been meaning to do since forever and I'm happy I finally found the time and motivation. Now, if I could just stick to my diet....

I'd appreciate any advice about getting back in shape. I need all the help I can get!