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Out of the office: Chicago in 24 hours

Monday, August 13, 2018
 As an associate creative director at an ad agency, I sometimes have to travel for work and recently it's been pretty frequent.  These are usually very quick trips sometimes within a 24 hour time span as was the case here where we had market research happening in Chicago. The days are loaded with an agenda but whenever there is a free break, I always try to a) get some fresh air and b) squeeze in ANY kind of exploration whether its a local restaurant, neighborhood, or landmark. 
 I wanted to see "the bean"!  Officially called Cloud Gate, this sculpture by Anish Kapoor, supposedly represents passage through realms This was actually my second time in chicago over the summer for work and ironically, the first time, my hotel was literally a block away from millenium park and I didn't get to see it. On this trip, I had to run to the apple store to get a headphone adaptor and used this break to take a  "walking tour" along michigan ave.  I saw  the chicago tribune building...

the apple store—which was beautiful with the floor to ceiling windows overlooking the river
 speaking of the river...
 And then I reached the bean!
 back at the hotel, a clear view of Navy Pier
 Fun to get a small dose of chi-town.  If i'm back again, any suggestions on what to see or eat or experience?

Racing for first: Nyla and winter at the NYRR Rising stars jamboree

Tuesday, August 7, 2018
Winter loves to run. I knew she loved to run but really saw her (an d Nyla!) shine at
Rising New York Road Runners Jamboree Presented by Tata Consultancy Services, where hundreds of youth from all over NYC took over the New Balance Track & Field Center at the Armory for a morning of races and fun activities.

It was our first time at the Armory and it didn't disappoint. The girls were wowed by the scale and the track and the excitement and energy of the building. After some warmup excercises it was time to hit the track for the 55m dash.  Nyla did amazing and was so pumped up she wanted to run again.  Winter joined a group of boys ages 8+ for the 400m.  She had no idea it was 2x around the track and literally burst through all her energy placing 2nd after the first 200m and was in disbelief (lol) that she had to run one more time around.  I applaud her for actually making that second loop because I totally would not have blinked if stopped in the middle of it or just pulled a toddler move and flat out refuse to go on her 2nd loop.

What surprised me again, was maybe after 10 min of recovering from the 400m she was ready to SPRINT and do the 55m with nyla.  and so they both did.

 again and again
and again...

they racked up ribbons (I feel like this was turning into a game for both of them - run to collect ribbons!).

After 4 or 5 times down that 55m, we hit up the tennis and basketball stations for a little sampler and then went BACK to the 55m dash for 2 or 3 more times down the straightaway! Phew!   These little trackletes were on their A-game.  Olympics 2032?  A video recap of our day:

Winter & Nyla roll along to the Teen Titans Go! to the movies

Wednesday, August 1, 2018
I don't think i've seen as many animated features with these two kids since I was in elementary school.  I do have to say Winter is the movie buff out of two: she prefers movies to tv series and can literally marathon a whole day if you let her (don't's happened once.. maybe twice shhh!)

So whenever we get a chance to see an advance screening of anything animated or kid-related I get to be the hero and they get to be little stars.

The Moms hosted this special screening of Teen Titans Go! to the movies with a Q&A featuring Will Arnett, the voice of "SLAAAAADE" (yes we kept saying this for the rest of the day).  The girls may be too young to remember actors but they do remember movies so I had to remind them of another special screening we saw earlier this summer which coincidentally happened to star Will Arnett, Show Dogs.  Once that clicked they seemed even more excited to listen to Will answer questions of how he got involved with the movie (his kids were fans of the series) does he use his character voices on his kids (sometimes for fun) his favorite animated role (he likes them all for different reasons).

Not only did the girls get an advance screening they were pumped up with EXTRA sugar courtesy of the candy bar of sour patch kids, gummies, skittles, and sour strips.   Thanks.  lol

 Nyla tried to ask a question during the Q&A but I think we were too far!
 Oh the movie!  I never watched the series so I didn't know what to expect but I found myself laughing through most of the movie.  Robin, the leader of the titans, is done playing sidekick and wants his OWN movie featuring his crew of heroes and makes moves to make it happen.  The soundtrack was surprisingly great too so all around I liked the movie. May have been a touch too old for the girls but like I said, Winter was totally bought in. Nyla..well, she had a bag of candy to keep her occupied lol.

BE SOCIAL: #TeenTitansGoMovie 

Leggo to the Lego store

Friday, July 6, 2018
Sometimes the touristy stores also end up being their own activity.  We were in the flatiron/Madison Sq Park area and had about an hour to kill so we dropped by the Lego Store so the girls could just play.  Lego has a "build your dreams" campaign going where they encourage kids and adults to create anything with legos and they feature it in the store.  Winter's creation "pantc" (?) made it to the store window which made her exceptionally proud though she couldn't really explain what the four-eyed, four-legged creature meets helicopter was.   We went from the Lego store to the apple store to play with robots so I'm just gonna say we had our STEM quota covered for the day!

Chocolate dipped 4th of July

Thursday, July 5, 2018
Having the 4th fall in the middle of the week was such a downer b/c all I could think about was not staying out too late because I still had to wake up the next morning to go to work. Midweek holidays are a wrap. Moving forward - either take off the beginning or the end of the week (preferably the end, right?) Either way, with the late sunsets of summer, I know fireworks are a late affair and took that off the table this year.  We'll catch the macy's version thank you very much (though it is pretty odd to hear them going off right outside and still not see them because of skyscrapers blocking the view) All in all, our holiday was a perfect combo of craft and chillaxin:
 We started out the morning taking a crafting class at Michaels.  It was some hanging star mobile made out of pipe cleaners and beads. It was a little suspect because the instructor and I had to basically trace and cut the first part of the project but stringing beads piqued their interest thankfully so we left the girls to their own devices for the second half of the hour.

 Knowing we were tasked with bringing dessert to a friends BBQ/pool party, I hit up trusty ole' Pinterest for some ideas and came across this red white and blue sprinkled popcorn that was such a cinch to make (and not ridiculously sugary) that this will have to be a potluck staple.

 All you need is white popcorn (preferably mild flavored/air popped), white chocolate drizzled across the popcorn, and then topped with colored sprinkles. set in the fridge for 5 minutes and wala! a tasty treat.

 with all that extra white chocolate dip we made chocolate dipped pretzels—also using the remaining sprinkles.

 It was so delicious we ended up making our own batch and eating it en route to the party.
 speaking of en route...
 we hopped on the NY Ferry for a quick 5 minute ride across the river.

 Pool, popsicles, prosecco (for the mommies) grilled hot dogs and hamburgers, slime-making, and a dance party?? Yep they got their holiday ON alright... Good times had by all.

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