beer

30 Days of New: Day 19 and 20

I know, I am completely slacking (why am I so inclined to use the term “slack-a-lacking”?… I’m a nerd…), but here is the recap for Friday and Saturday.

Friday was a very boring day in the new events department.  I mixed up a new tempeh spaghetti and Paul and I started a new series on Netflix that is not good, not bad, just semi-entertaining called “Hemlock Grove”.  It is a Netflix original series, and I think it is trying to capitalize on the whole vampire vs. werewolf thing, but in a more gruesome, scandalous, adult way.  It’s okay.

Saturday we found ourselves in Grand Rapids for the “Black Party” at Founder Brewing Company.  Founders makes a really quality line up of beers, and the Black Party is something they do annually to celebrate their darker beers and to tap a few special ones.  I was the D.D., so Paul and our friend Ryan were having a blast sampling all the different kinds of beers (Paul and pretty much all of our friends are beer snobs).

A few hours into the event, I was feeling tired and decided to nap in the car.  What can I say?  My super power is being able to sleep any where at any time, I think a lot of this has to do with George.

When I woke up about an hour later, I decided to do some exploring around Grand Rapids in search of some tea.

I found an awesome spot called Mad Cap where they do single drips for each cup of coffee that is ordered.  It is a very trendy little place with a minimalist approach to their decorating, but just a very cool space.  I then drove around for a little bit just checking out some of the architecture there.

Grand Rapids is an amazing city.  If you are ever traveling around Michigan, I would highly recommend a stop off there.  It has a big city feel in a smaller city space.  It is artsy, has great restaurants, amazing architecture, bars all over, and has now been named Beer City, USA from what I have been told.

Once it is warmer, I am hoping to spend some more time downtown walking around and exploring.  I have been going to Grand Rapids my whole life, but the trips have always been to a specific destination in town and then we head right home (a la Founders trips).  They also host some great races, so maybe I will pick up a half marathon or marathon there this year.

So Saturday was a new, albeit short, adventure around Grand Rapids:

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Mad Cap coffee set up

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My favorite, the view from across the street from the Mad Cap:

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Possibly one of the greatest days every?

Saturday was just an amazingly awesome day.  From start to finish, one of the greatest days of my life.

I woke up to meet one of my best friends in the whole world for coffee.  I walked from my Delaware and Magnificent Mile hotel location up to the Gold Coast, past amazing churches, posh window shopping, and great people watching.  I love this part of Chicago (ok, I really love pretty much all of Chicago, but downtown there has such a great feel to it).

I can never not have a great time with my friend Liz.  She is one of those friends that you can’t help but just feel blessed to have in your life.  She is smart, accomplished, caring, compassionate, extremely funny, and just wonderful.  We talked about life, work, friends, me getting engaged sometime in the future, to which she offered some great advice, “Try on rings.  What you think you like, you may hate.”  I then got the brilliant idea to go ring shopping with her, and she replied, “Well, I think Harry Winston is across the street,” glancing at our pajama inspired outfits, “do you think they’d let us in?”.  

After leaving Liz, Paul and I decided to head out to Wicker Park for some shopping/exploring/drinking.  He loves Wicker Park, and this was my first time really spending time there.  We started off at “Small Bar”, which was just that, but had a great atmosphere, and was playing the Manchester United soccer game… what could be better!?  The bar was packed with hardcore soccer fans, our waiter was super cool, we had a few amazing beers, and just chatted.  It only took 2 beers to get me good and buzzed, and to start talking about how much I missed our cat (not that I favor my cat over my dog, but I had had a dream the night before that she died, so she was on my mind)…after about 15 minutes of that, Paul decided it was time to distract me with some shopping/wandering.

One thing I noticed about Wicker Park was that there were dogs EVERYWHERE! Might this need to be where I live when I finally move to Chicago? We walked passed a dog park (THE Wicker Park on Damen, where I continued to freak out about how many dogs there were, and of course wanted to pet them all), and then we found ourselves on Milwaukee Ave. just as it started to snow.  Now it must be noted that all day we kept commenting on how warm it was (by Mid-West standards), yet, as we approached Milwaukee Ave., it started to snow; that beautiful, fat, fluffy, romantic snow.  I was in heaven! 

As we were heading back to Division for more beverages/food, groups of people on the corner had a huge sign that said “Free Hugs”, and were just giving out hugs to strangers.  OF COURSE I HUGGED A STRANGER!  I was in a giddy mood already, and this just sent me even further into giggle fits of joy (yes, I am a child)!

We then proceeded to have more drinks at “FatPour”, then crossed the street to “Jerry’s” where we were joined by my other best friend, Julie, for more amazing beer, the best sandwich I have ever had in my life, and the coolest bartender who was serving us (also a Michigander whose parents live right around the corner from mine in Ann Arbor). I believe I gave him my business card so we could be invited to his wedding… but after splitting beers with your bartender, that just feels like that next organic step, right? 

Hours later, after dinner, we enjoyed drinks at this great bar in the Gold Coast called “The Lodge”, with Liz and her husband.  Such a cool little spot, not too big, hole in the wall type feel.  I felt like we could have literally just come in off of the slopes, but again, the company was second to none.

Then, Paul and I walked back to our hotel along Michigan Ave., sandwiched between Christmas lights to our right and Lake Michigan to our left.

I am madly in love with Chicago.  I love everything about it, but being there and getting to see my best friends who I love so dearly, and walking the streets with Paul, who I am even more madly in love with, just made this such a great day.

It doesn’t take a lot to make me happy, ex: fluffy snow falling, a hug from a stranger, or the sightings of happy puppies all over the neighborhood.  This day was just jam packed with nothing but good things, and I loved every second of it (ok, except maybe when we stopped at CVS for some liquor and I drunkenly dropped a bottle of Malibu, shattering it all over the floor and slicing my finger open while trying to pick it up… blood and booze everywhere.  BUT I was laughing, and it is something I am sure I will never forget).

Cheers, with carpet booze, to great days with fabulous people in amazing cities! 

And time spend with my favorite man 🙂