Thursday, May 20, 2021

Chicago Seasons

Everyone talks about the winters in Chicago and understandably! They never fail to bring below freezing temperatures and lots of snow. Even a "mild" winter here will have 2 feet of snow and single digits at some point. 

I moved to Chicago at the end of June. We were coming from Tennessee where June can start to hit 90 degrees and the humidity is like being underwater so we were very pleased to be able to have our windows open as we moved into our temporary apartment. As I met the people in my office and around the apartment complex, i often expressed my concern coming from a place that could go YEARS without snow and lucky to get maybe an inch (if there was any) to a place with stories of snow levels half way up the front door! All of their responses were almost exactly the same... "But the summers are amazing!".

I thought they were just trying to make me feel better, especially since we ended up experiencing a freaking record breaking POLAR VORTEX our first winter here!! However, then we started to notice that at the very peak of summer we may get about 2 weeks of uncomfortably hot weather with high humidity but then it goes right back to warm and breezy for the rest of summer.

The funny thing is that with these mild temperatures in the summer, you would think it would slowly climb up and slowing come down making a lovely bookend of Spring and Fall but nope. Instead, it is 30s-40s until late May and then BAM it is suddenly 70s-80s. It will stay this way until early November and then suddenly it is 30s until about January when it drops to 10s-20s. I guess if you want to count 30s and 40s as Spring and Fall then an argument could be made but I just don't see it. We were literally walking the dog with puff jackets and beanie last week and wearing shorts and t-shirts this week. Someone told me the joke that "Chicago has 2 seasons... Winter and July 4th" and while it isn't that bad, it is definitely true that they only have 2 seasons!

So, as we come up on our 3 year anniversary here, I have to agree - the summers are absolutely amazing here. Also, honestly, the winters aren't as bad as I expected. The City/Villages know how to handle them and once you get the appropriate clothes then it is barely an inconvenience. That was actually the advice that everyone also gave us... "As long as you dress appropriately then you'll be fine!" Once again, so true! We once went to an outdoor zoo event where we had to walk 2 miles, in the snow at night just to get there! You just can't let the weather get in the way of adventures or else you won't do anything for 6 months out of the year. (Which i guess doesn't sound that crazy after being stuck in our houses for over a year due to the pandemic... ugh) James and I still joke about that if one of us says we are cold in the winter. We can usually point out how we just aren't "dressed appropriately". The hardest part of winter is just the lack of sunshine so the only advice i'd add is to load up on the Vitamin D!

As I type this, I'm sitting on my back patio as the sun goes down. It says it is 81 degrees but without the humidity and with the very slight breeze, i would have guessed it was about 60. In fact, i'm even wearing a light pullover and i'm comfortable. I know I won't live in Chicago forever and I have a feeling that it will be really hard to find a place with better summer weather. <3 

| Stacy |

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

2 Weeks in St Augustine - March 2021

This is mostly going to be a picture dump but I wanted to add a little commentary. 2020 was the year that never happened. Life as we knew it came to a halt VERY suddenly and that included any goals, trips, hobbies, vacations, etc as we were all locked in our houses. As a person that was accustomed to traveling at least twice per month for either work or leisure, I was surprised to find that I actually enjoyed being home more. However, having the same routine almost everyday does take its toll on you mentally. The brain gets lazy and it doesn't want to work as well. 

I noticed it because I started having trouble recalling words. It kept getting worse and out of fear of developing dementia or something like that I started to research the topic and found that it can be a side affect of being quarantined since your brain doesn't have as much stimulation. So, we decided to take a quick trip to Knoxville in October 2020 and thankfully we saw instant improvement in our brain function!

Fast forward a few months later and we are in the thick of a Midwest winter. If you've never lived here, there is no fall or spring, it is just winter and then summer. The summers are A-MA-ZING but the winters can also feel super long. We have learned that we have to plan a warm trip around the end of February or beginning of March just to keep our sanity. 

Knowing all this about warm vacations for sanity, routine changes helping brain functionality, not spending any money in 2020 (because it never happened), and the nice bonus of work being remote then we decided to go big for our first trip in 2021 and book a 2 week stay at a beachfront house!

On top of renting a place for 2 weeks, we decided to splurge for the beachfront location because even though we had decided to take a trip, we were still being super careful about interactions with people. We decided to drive down instead of flying (plus that allowed us to take our dog) and this sounds crazy but we didn't plan to actually do anything while we were there. Especially after hearing how Florida had reacted to social distancing and masks!

Anyways, it ended up being absolutely lovely. It was a little windy but the temperature was perfect. You'll see below we did venture out to an alligator farm since it was outside (they are apparently exceptionally good at doing The Splits, who knew??) but other than that, our days just consisted of listening to the waves crash while we worked and taking a walk on the beach every day. I was even able to find a nearby nature preserve to run at before work! 

In the end, I'm glad we did it and will definitely consider doing again in the future if we are still allowed to work remotely. It was a nice getaway to ease us back into traveling without the pressures of sightseeing because we had the perfect "sight" right in front of us! 


My view while "at work"

This was our "front porch"

This was just hanging in the window and was so cool!

As a recent vegetarian convert, I had to get a pic of this!

The kitchen/dining/living room was an
open floor plan with this being the view

"Look guys! I can finally do The Splits!"


Sunday, May 2, 2021

I'm Like a Bad Penny

Helloooooooooo! I'm kind of like a bad penny, ya know? I just keep coming back... Every year when my domain name comes up for renewal I am reminded that I have a blog then I tell myself that I am going to start blogging again and I do it a few times and then stop. Well, why stop the cycle now??? 😉

The last time I picked up blogging it was after I had tried a 30-day no social media challenge and loved it. However, after a few months of no social media, I missed having an outlet to share pics of my dog and our travels with our family and friends. So once again I picked up blogging and was having a nice time with it until the site started being buggy with my ipad and eventually my ipad keyboard died. Yes, you can blog on a PC (i'm doing it now!) but it was harder to add the pictures so instead of making the effort to find a solution, I just stopped. 

Well, since my last post almost 2 years ago, I have fallen back into social media and still hate it. It is just so easy to launch it during those small moments with nothing else to do (cough, bathroom, cough). I've even tried deleting the app but then I just launch it on the web. I never enjoy my time on facebook and Instagram is just a little better. Luckily I've never let myself create a Tik-Tok account or i'd be trapped there too! Ugh! 

Anyways, so here I am trying to cut that social media negativity from my life but once again, i am faced with the question of how to still share my precious dog pictures with the world?! Also, when I looked at my last post, i really loved the idea of blogging about trips as a nice way to remember the trip! So if nothing else, this can now be my trip notes repository! 

COVID Vaccine Shot #1

(Side note: if you are wondering why i didn't blog in 2020, don't worry about it. There was this whole pandemic thing and we weren't allowed to leave our houses for like a year so we deleted 2020. It never happened)

For my 2021 New Year's resolution I picked the word "Focus" and my plan is to pick a focus for each month. So far I have done:

January - Dry January
February - Vacation Planning (see note about 2020...)
March - Cardio
April - Wake Up Early
May - Blogging! 

It has been a lot of fun! I like this approach better than then 30-day challenges because about half way through i ran out of challenges. This has worked a lot better because other than Dry January there are usually different approaches i can take. For example, for Cardio my goal was to do 2 cardio things per week but I could do running, spinning, or HIIT so I had options. Anyways, I'll cover those in a different post but I brought it up because as you can see my focus for May is blogging! So if nothing else, there will be at least 1 post per week for the month of May... and then I'll probably disappear for another year.
Just kidding!... I hope... 

Alrighty, that is it for today, I just wanted to say I'm back again and test out my new way of adding pics to the post. More to come soon, wish me luck! 💗