Wednesday, June 28, 2017

My Harry Potter


If you haven't been on Facebook or Twitter in the past week, you  may have missed that it has been 20 years since the first Harry Potter book came out.

20....frickin....years.



It was my aunt and uncle who suggested I read the first Harry Potter book pretty much right after it came out. Their kids, my cousins, liked it and thought I should give it a try. Now, the first book, I am not sure where I got it from. I still have it, but no dust cover.



I was 11 when I read the first Harry Potter book. The same age as the main characters. Every book that came out, I became just a little bit more obsessed. It was almost like I was growing up with Harry, Ron and Hermione. You know the angst-y parts, especially in like, the 5th and 6th books? Pretty much corresponded with angst-y parts of my teenage existence. I believe I was the same age as the main characters up until the 5th,  6th and 7th books, when JK Rowling couldn't quite keep up with the once-a-year pace. I don't blame her, as the later books were YHUGE!

Then came the movies. I love the movies, I do. I was a little disappointed in the 3rd movie, as the 3rd book was my favorite. I just feel they tried to be too artistic, leaving out so much "good stuff. Other than that, I thought the movies were great! Casting was pretty spot-on.



Now, a lot of people say that the whole series taught them things. For some younger generations, it instilled a love of reading they never knew they had. For others it was about friendship. Others it was political. Me? It taught me how to not give a damn about what people thought, and to be unabashedly nerdy.

For quite a long time, I'd say some time when the movies were coming out, I "got over" the Harry Potter "sensation" as so many people my age thought it was super nerdy and uncool to like kiddy Harry Potter.






I think it must have been sometime in college or even after I graduated that I honestly just stopped caring about  what other people thought. If I remember correctly, I reread the books, rekindled my obsession, and the rest, they say, is history.

From there, JK Rowling launched the Pottermore site, continuing the magic for us muggles years after the last movie came out.

Now, many quizzes I took me in Hufflepuff. At first I was disappointed, but then very proud. I took the "Pottermore" house quiz and ended up in, you guessed it, HUFFLEPUFF. For those of you that are curious, Breaky ended up in Gryffindor, and we even took a "dog sorting quiz" and DogCPK ended up in Slytherin.




I do have to say, trying to find Hufflepuff merchandise has been hard. They will always make Slytherin and Gryffindor things, but unless they purposefully did all four houses, usually my house is skipped over (I'm lookin at you ThinkGeek!)

However, one of my favorite pairs of sweatpants are my Hufflepuff pants. No joke, the most comfortable pair of pants I have ever owned.


Ok, got a little side-tracked.


What the point of the post is, Happy Birthday Harry, and thank you for inspiring a young generation in a multitude of ways.



Friday, June 23, 2017

Skeleton Key Cosplay Feature

College is a great place to find friends.

I established a ton of fantastic, long-lasting friendships, both personal and professional at the Student Ambassador Office at the university I attended. If we are being honest, it was because of this job that I ended up in higher education in the first place.

One of the wonderful people I became friends with was Denise. She was super into fashion design, and being an all-around super person. She rocked those campus tours with me, and was always nice to everyone she met. It was an honor to not only work beside her, but consider her a friend.

This year, she started "Skeleton Key Cosplay" with an Etsy page as well. I kept noticing the completely awesome cosplay and outfits she was sharing, and I just had to share! All pictures come from Skeleton Key Cosplay and are being shared with permission,



Chun Li: 








Nightcrawler:





Frozen/Jack Frost: 




Just look at that detail. 


Check out the Facebook Page and the Etsy Page 

Can't wait to see what she can accomplish next! 


Saturday, June 10, 2017

The CPKs in Chicago Days 5 & 6

Friday June 9, 2017 & Saturday June 10, 2017

It is a two-for-one! Not because either day was boring or short by any means, I just couldn't stay up until like, 1:00 am starting and trying to finish a blog post and ensure the quality.


So, Friday.

Today we woke up to yet another beeeaaaauutiful morning. We have so incredibly lucked out with the weather, let me just tell you. We did notice how freakin bright it gets so frickin early.

We ate again at Yolk. This was the first meal in Chicago in which I did not actually enjoy. This was completely my fault. I ordered the "West Coast Crepes" which was a really weird mix of sweet and savory, with not enough of either to be really good. I am glad we had gone there before and had a really good meal (if you don't remember, that was my salmon eggs benedict). Breaky had kind of a "breakfast nachos" but that is not what they were called. Neither of us can remember the name, which is what happens when you wait a day to do a blog post. :)


From there, we headed out to the Museum of Science and Industry. We both thought this was the best museum we've been to in Chicago. We had a really great time. 

We started out with the Robots exhibit. It basically was an exhibit about all the different types of robots, and how far we've come with them. It was super interactive, with many of the stations giving you the ability to control a robot, or in some cases, building one. 




This robot was a Black Jack dealer. I busted and Breaky lost :( 
Robots playing soccer!! (or futbol for my non-USA readers)

The weather exhibit was pretty darn cool and interactive. From avalanches to tornadoes to waves, the exhibit was comprehensive. I was super into storms and weather when I was in middle school, however, I was never super good at the science/math stuff, so that just did not happen. 


video

From there, we headed to the area designated to the planes, trains and automobiles area. 





We did a flight simulator, which was....meh. At least we didn't have o pay extra for it, since we had the City Pass. It was too hot, and it was obviously designed for kids. 

There was a "You" exhibit, which talks about the human body. It had parts like the nervous system, the digestive system, skeletal, etc... Had a really interesting thing where you held your hands to these handles and the giant heart would beat according to your pulse. 


We then did a mirror maze, which was one of the best ones I've ever been in/through. Usually there are little tricks, like the molding repeating when it shouldn't be, things like that. This didn't have any of those fun tricks. Honestly, if I was younger, when I had really bad anxiety, I probably would have panicked and needed to leave or something. Breaky and I made it all the way through, after about three times getting quite turned around. 




After leaving from the Science and Industry Museum, we headed SHOPPING on Magnificent Mile. We stopped first for some Wow Bao. Then we spent too much money, because, shopping. 





We headed back to the hotel room where, if you were our neighbors, you may have thought we were having a marital dispute for the ages:

"MAKE UP YOUR MIND" 
"YOU ARE HOT AND THEN COLD"
"OH....MY....GOD"
"OH JESUS"

When in reality, I was simply arguing with my shower. It was soooo bad. Super hot, then icy. The pressure was non-existent. It was so bad. 

Then it was Breaky's turn. I am really surprised we didn't get a noise violation for simply yelling at the shower, as the walls were thin enough. 


We met up with some friends who have a connection with the fantastic restaurant "Le Petite Paris" in Chicago. French cuisine, which is something Breaky and I are not used to. We both tried, for the first time, escargot! We had a full meal, with soup (french onion), an appetizer, which was the escargot, a drink, wine with dinner, the entree, which for me was the liver and onions (which I loved btw), and dessert and a dessert drink. 

The restaurant is a small, blink-and-you-miss-it gem and we are so lucky to have great friends to take us there!



Saturday

Our last day in Chicago welcomed us with a bright, sunny, hot morning. 

Breaky and I headed back to Peet's Coffee for some coffee and a breakfast sandwich. 

We were told by several people after we went to Lou Malnati's that we should have gone to Giordanos instead. So, we met up with them after checking out of that hotel we stayed in. 




Again, a huge shout out to our awesome friends! Thanks guys!

After that, we did a little more shopping in the area.

We then caught our last Uber of our trip, which took like, twice as long as it was supposed to. Headed to the train station, boarded after a "delay", then for 2 miles, the train had to go 4 miles per hour. You read that right. It took us a half hour to go 2 miles. 

We FINALLY arrived home a good hour later than we were scheduled to. 

Good to be home. 





Friday, June 9, 2017

The CPKs in Chicago Day 4

Day 4 in Chicago. June 8th, 2017.

At the risk of sounding repetitive, we woke up to yet another gorgeous morning. We headed out to a late lunch to meet up with some friends of mine I know from high school/college who have been living in Chicago for quite a few years, so that was quite fun. We went to a place called Tweet, which is connected to a place that is a bar at night, which the names escapes me.



We debated about what to accomplish today during the rest of the morning and afternoon. We ended up at the Chicago Art Institute. I had been there before, but it was so much more than I remember.








We saw the Thorne Miniatures, works from Monet, Manet, some ancient weapons and armor, and most impressively was A Sunday on La grande Jatte by George Seurat.






I always enjoyed the painting, I have a special connection through the musical "Sunday in the Park with George" which is a telling of the making of the painting featuring Mandy Patinkin and the lovely Bernadette Peters. Many know Mandy Patinkin as Inigo Montoya from Princess Bride, which is also a great movie, or Criminal Minds and Homeland. Here is Mandy from Sunday in the Park with George singing "Finishing the Hat"

**I will have you know as a result of looking up Sunday in the Park with George, I spent about 30 extra minutes going through Youtube videos of Mandy Patinkin singing,which included songs from the Secret Garden. If I don't stop now, I will not get this blog finished**



Once we say what we could there, we headed to Millennium Park and the surrounding parks and gardens, where we did some sight-seeing, ate some hot-dogs then decided it was a great idea to rollerblade in this designated area. Yes, you read that right, rollerblading. OH my God, I forgot how painful it is when you have flat feet. Don't get me wrong, it was fun. But holy moly.


Down the way was a mini golf course. We kept score which with us is dangerous. "Officially" we tied, BUT, the question remaining is if it counts as one or two if he hit my ball in the hole after my first stroke. Isn't that a hole in one? I didn't touch it twice! 

Wife vs Husband! 



After that, we headed back to the hotel to change, because we headed to....


A Cubs Game!!

Took the train (which was a bit of an adventure in and of itself) to the famous Wrigley Field, and let me tell you, it was an experience we were so glad we could do. Our seats were just above field level, right where foul balls would be if they went just a little higher than normal. Breaky insisted on wearing his San Diego Padres jersey as well as his WMU Tiger's baseball cap. He got comments on both, but no one was rude or threatening. After all, it is just the Padres. :)



The stadium was obviously older, with a lot of character. Lots of green, of course, and throwbacks to classic baseball that you don't often find anymore. Mind you, I don't have a lot of experience with different baseball fields. The old Tiger's Stadium and the "new" Comerica Park" is about it. Obviously, we are Tigers fans first and foremost. I did buy a Cubs t-shirt to wear to the game. When in Rome, right?



The Cubs played the Colorado Rockies, and unfortunately lost. We left at just around the 7th inning, for several reasons. We did not want to take the train, and the stadium was packed, so we figured if we wanted to catch an Uber that wasn't incredibly expensive, we should high-tail it outta there sooner than later. And we went to the game as an experience and not die-hard Cubs fans, so we accomplished what we wanted to. 







The Uber we took after the game was a hoot. Had great conversations, got us back to the hotel with tons of time to spend. We talked about everything from Ohio State to football to basketball. No worries, despite him being from Ohio, he doesn't like Ohio State, so we could get along. He also gave free candy, which now sounds really creepy, but at the time was really clever. Honestly though, had the car ride been any longer, the amount of talking may have become tedious, but for the 20 minutes it took, it was a welcome distraction. Still one of the bets Ubers we've had in Chicago.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The CPKs in Chicago Day 3

Day 3 June 7th, 2017.

Woke up to yet another gorgeous, sunny morning.

You see, what you may not know is I am a morning person.

Guess who isn't.

:-)

Anywho, woke up, took our time, headed to coffee at a corner cafe just a block down from our hotel. That is where I updated the previous day's blog and drank my daily intake of caffeine. We then headed back to the hotel in which we got ready to head out for the day.


For lunch, we headed to The Signature Room in what was the John Hancock Building. The restaurant is on the 95th floor of this building, and yes, the view is just as spectacular as it sounds.





We had reservations, and we were the first to be seated for lunch, and I don't think we could have asked for a better table.


Our lunch was just as spectacular as the view. Since they had calamari as an appetizer option, we had calamari, naturally. Had to say I personally think that this calamari was some of the best I've ever had. Breaky had a chicken sandwich and I had truffle ravioli. Great, great food.




We had some time to kill, so we walked around the area, which ended up being the Magnificent Mile, which we will come back to later this week.

Our tickets for Aladdin the Musical were for the 2:00 pm, so we Uber-ed (is that a word yet?) with one of the worst we've had. He wasn't rude or anything, but dear baby deer, this guys was reckless. That, and we got stuck at a drawbridge for like, 15 minutes. Must note, this is where I re-learned that subtlety is not Breaky's strongest attribute.

Me, (noticing the time and the bridge isn't going up): **light elbow to the arm**

Breaky: "WHAT"

Me: **glare**

Breaky: "WHAT? WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO"

Me;  "oh never mind"

Well, we made it anyway. With plenty of time.

Aladdin was absolutely fantastic. Based on the Disney movie Aladdin, there were some changes, additions and creative liberties that made sense. The dancing, the musical arrangements, the talent, all absolutely fantastic. The Genie outshone everyone though.



The rest of the evening was/is really chill. We headed to Lou Malnati's Pizzeria, which was literally just a block or so away from our hotel. We heard from several sources that was the place to go. It was delicious, and if we were here for like, a month, we may be able to try every single place people said had the best Chicago pizza. But we don't, and they had good pizza, so there you go.



Tonight, as many of you know, is the game 3 of the NBA finals; Warriors vs the Cavaliers, (or as Breaky and Diva call it, the Lebrons) so we went to Bar Louis again for drinks and to watch the game. We lasted about half the game before I started to fade, plus, I was getting frustrated with the obvious band-wagon Golden State fans in the bar.



So now, here we are back in our room, splitting a pint of Ben & Jerry's watching the last few minutes of the game.

Not a horrible way to end a pretty darn good day.

The CPKs in Chicago Day 2

Day number 2 in the windy city. June 6. 2017

We woke up way earlier than intended. Two reasons, one, we forgot to close the curtains all the way and dang does it get bright early here. And two, we are an hour off, so 8 here is 9 back home.


Upon a recommendation, again, from the concierge, we headed to a breakfast and lunch place called Yolk just a block or two down from our hotel. It was so super good. So far the best meal we both have had while in Chicago, which is saying something.



I had Eggs Benedict with salmon. Yes, salmon. I never serve salmon anymore, as Breaky and half of my immediate family do not like it. So that was a little unexpected treat. Breaky got a breakfast wrap. Fantastic coffee, fun atmosphere, would definitely recommend.




From there we hiked to the Shedd Aquarium, as a part of the City Pass we had purchased. I do not know if it was just a busy day for school groups, or during the week is always bad, or if it is always this packed, but oh....my....God, so many kids.




Despite the swirling masses of mini devils, we did have a lot of fun. We touched sting rays, saw Beluga Whales, saw a myriad of sea, lake and river creatures, including, believe iit or not, bluegills, which, when I mentioned out loud that I have caught more bluegills fishing than any other fish in existence, this woman turned around and said, oh my God, me too! It was a moment.




We wrapped up the Shedd experience with a 4D adventure. We saw Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure. A 4D movie, evidently means on top of the actual movie being in 3D, your seat rumbles, wind is blown around your face, you get sprayed by misty water, poked in the back, and have little cord things whip around your ankles. While that sounds like torture to some, it actually was really well done. I did feel kind of bad, there were some kids that were waaay too young to be in there, and started freaking out and crying. Come on parents, the movie was "Sea Monsters" not "cuddly little harmless bunnies" or something. I do not think your 3 year old is going to do well with a 3 million year old monstrosity biting out at the audience in 3D, let alone all these other things happening around them. But you know what, none of my business. But really, I did enjoy the movie. Very entertaining and educational.




We then headed out of the aquarium and boarded a water taxi to take us to Navy Pier. Last time we took a water taxi/shuttle was when we went on our honeymoon in Mackinac Island. This was pretty similar, although didn't hit the speeds like we did last time.







At the Navy Pier, we grabbed a hot dog, walked around a bit, took pictures. Basically did the touristy thing. Breaky vetoed the Ferris Wheel, which is fine with me, I've already been on it. We have plans that will take us to breathtaking views of the city anyway, so overall I wasn't that disappointed.















We debated all day about how to get back to the hotel after Navy Pier. I insisted it was walk-able, and that we didn't have to waste money on either the water taxi back to the museums, which were within walking distance of our hotel, or an Uber. Breaky looked up on the GPS, and sure enough, just about 2.5 miles away. We can totally do that. You want to know how you can tell we did? I now have a nice llittle sun burn on my chest, despite sunscreen application earlier in the morning. But in all seriousness, the walk wasn't really that bad.




For dinner, we headed to a restaurant called the Pump Room. The reason we went there was because that is where my grandparents on my Mom's side had their first date. At the time, they couldn't afford to actually have a meal there, so they ordered a drink and sat outside for a good hour or so.


So we take an Uber, which is becoming our main source of transportation as, since we don't care if we share a ride with others, is insanely inexpensive.



We arrive at the Pump Room, and this is fancy. I am talking like, pushing my chair in for me fancy. I start asking questions about where this "outside" bit would be that my grandparents would have sat, and I guess it would have been upstairs on the roof. Nifty! Also found out that much of the original Pump Room has been auctioned off about 5 years, all except the chandelier in the hallway.



Breaky and I had what was probably one of the top 5 meals of our lifetime. For drinks, I got a cucumber martini, and Breaky had a Stella. For appetizer, we had calamari, which is tradition! For the main course,  Breaky had filet mignon with white asparagus and mashed potatoes and I had red snapper with a brown gravy sauce mushrooms and vegetables.



When we were explaining the connection to the Pump Room and my grandparents, I had mentioned that we were in Chicago celebrating our 2 year anniversary. This is true, although our actual anniversary isn't until later June, the intention of this trip was to spend time together and celebrate my birthday and our anniversary. Our waiter went well above and beyond! As a result of our anniversary, we got complimentary bubbly, and a dessert! Both were to die for.




We ended up ordering another round of drinks before departing, as neither of us were driving or even walking back to the hotel. Grabbed another Uber back, headed upstairs and legitimately crashed. Which is why this blog post is getting posted a little later than the previous one. Sorry, kinda....not sorry.