Chicago in quirky photos

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Chicago knows how to make a stunning building
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Escalators for trolleys (or shopping carts as they call them)
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Snow blowing sideways, and Michael Jordan’s steak house
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Something you do not see in Australia – bags of salt for ice!
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These were flowers for my friend in Milkwaukee who I met in 2006 in France. Who knew one protected flowers (tulips under there) from snow like this?
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This stately building is now the Hard Rock Hotel where we stayed for 5 nights. Very nice! Very AnExactingLife – you can try a guitar in room!
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Pretty ceiling in a Bloomingdales
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Pretty outside too!
One of the presidential candidates businesses....
One of the presidential candidates businesses….
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Pretty ceiling in the former Chicago Athletic Association (which is now a hotel with Shake Shack in the foyer – the BF’s best burger stateside)
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Snow selfie!
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What is this? Salad you say?
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A former pool, restored to be a floor in the ‘hotel’ of the Chicago Athletic Association
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CHICAGO DEEP DISH PIZZA (yes, I am yelling, cause the fat kid loves food!)

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USA shopping

As I just spent two weeks in the US, it means I spent a LOT of time shopping. ¬†I mean, I did my duty to help the economy and save myself from the cold ūüėČ

My first day ‘alone’ whilst the BF worked, I went out to an outlet mall. ¬†Here’s what I purchased

Source: www.shoeshow.com

Source: www.shoeshow.com

Converse Shoreline – supposedly sell out record fast, even at the outlets. ¬†They are elasticized, and so slip on, which works for me! ¬†Being the outlet, I had all the styles and colour ways to chose from, but I have to say, there was little to no discount ūüôĀ

Bought in Chicago at 30% off
Bought in Chicago at 30% off
Seeing double
Seeing double

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The BF patiently waited whilst I tried this one. ¬†It’s a coton/line blend, and it was so comfortable I wore it for two days straight. I went back to gap and bought it in blue, and then wore it home on the plane!

Sadly, the internet is in denial about what Banana Republic Jackson Slim fit ankle pants exist – I bought a pair in navy and a pair in black, as I would wear my remaining 1 ‘new’ pair of BR pants from 2009 80% of the week. ¬†I have succeeded in buying two pairs at thrift stores in the past year, however their fit (cough, my body) hasn’t been optimal to wear them (yet!)

Day one shopping made me realised my large Longchamp pliage which I travel with was a little too bulky, so instead I popped into Old Navy and picked up something slim and small.  From the moment I bought this, I wore and used it every single day!

Old Navy purse
Old Navy purse

I gravitated to button up business shirts as they are versatile from summer through to winter at work, and I loved the one I took to the US this trip.  At the international business wear brand, Van Husen I picked this shirt up:

Even worn this in my first week back
Even worn this in my first week back

Not to settle for three button up shirts, I scored a good sale at J Crew on a stretch cotton top too:

Like so many shirts
Like so many shirts

Otherwise, I did a little bit of thrift shopping, and whilst I didn’t need a new coat, I could NOT go past this one:

Wool blend coat with delicious lining
Wool blend coat with delicious lining

And then some flats at $17.50 seemed like a worthy gamble:

Work appropriate
Work appropriate

Oh a the Victoria Secret bra:

Comfy t shirt bra
Comfy t shirt bra

Yep, I spent a WHOLE heap, but I’m OK with that. ¬†More incredibly, I’ve been back a week, and bought three more items!!

Super Tuesday & the US elections

I’ve never cared much for the US political system, though lately I have been reading The Economist more, and found myself in the US at a critical (probably one of many) time in the race to the presidency. ¬†I bought an Economist magazine prior to leaving Australia which meant I was ‘up to date’ once I arrived, and slotted straight into CNN’s Republican debate Thursday week ago. (sorry, I tried to queue this up unsuccessfully)

One of the presidential candidates businesses....
One of the presidential candidates businesses….

As a mildly engaged person in this electorial race, here’s my thoughts

  • Trump is definitely charismatic – he speaks to the Everyman and that’s proving to be VERY powerful
  • Trump gets ‘attacked’ by Rubio and Cruz for being a supporter of left policies – socialist health care, pro choice etc. ¬†I can see this being part of his appeal, as he puts himself as the fence sitting candidate, or the more moderate right voters.
  • I feel all the Republicans are woefully lacking in understanding the threat that North Korea is (maybe I am – but the place seems so poor that it’s ability to threaten the US seem unlikely)
  • I bemoan the families in politics. The Bush family. ¬†The Clinton family.
  • I do appreciate the overall diversity of three of five of the strongest candidates – a woman, and two candidates with Latino names. And then there’s Dr Carson (an AFRICAN AMERICAN) in the Republicans! I commend that!
  • So much time and energy is spent on selecting a leader and all the rhetoric, but in reality everything will need to be approved by Congress or similar. ¬†Compromise is what government is about – so no matter what pledges they make, it’ll be diluted over time.
  • I hate fear mongering: the dole bludgers, the illegal migrants ‘stealing’ jobs. ¬†The whole argument is as bad the name calling. ¬†So rarely is it based on facts, but instead on emotion. ¬†And what annoys me about emotion? ¬†That only ‘certain’ emotions are acceptable.
  • It seems that money drives how many candidates stay in the race. This just seems ridiculous to me – the endless fundraising! ¬†And honestly, no matter the policies, I have every assumption that there’s ‘no such thing as a free lunch’.

I took the time to do a quiz on which candidate I would back. ¬†It didn’t surprise me that I was 94% for Sanders – the Socialist candidate. ¬†I was surprised to see myself making qualifications for some of my more generous or open minded ideas. ¬†I’m not sure if that’s due to three years with the BF who is a strong business advocate, or my role in ‘management’. ¬†I may not like the idea of the nepotism, but I can’t be sad to see a left learning candidate that is a female leading the US. ¬†And if I was asked to vote to the right, my thoughts would probably go towards Kasich – from the tiny amount I’ve read about him! ¬†He seems compassionate, experienced and reasonable. ¬†But in the CNN debate, he hardly had a moment to shine – it’s was a Trump show, and when others were speaking, it was often to attack Trump.

Overall, I don’t feel like the USA is the strongest nation. ¬†It can’t be strong when it has such an under paid and under supported working class in fast food restaurants, or cleaning hotels. ¬†I worry about a country whose allowed companies far too much power, how can it be ok to list ‘artificial and natural flavours’ and leave it at that? ¬†How can companies opt out of Workplace Health and Safety? ¬†How can states NOT have income tax? I even rile up that the price of something isn’t what’s marked – tax is added later, and then if it’s service based, then there’s tipping – it feels like businesses opt out of structuring their business in a way that can pay their staff a wage. ¬†I do agree it can improve service (but it’s still not always as good as it could be), but it’s like bumping the livelihood of someone onto the whim of peer pressure to tip!?

On the other hand of all my negative thoughts, I am heartened by start ups and new technologies. ¬†We used uber and lyft countless times – it was simple, it didn’t feel any less safe, and I feel like it allows disruption the status quo.

Seeing more of my readers are not Americans, what are your thoughts out there, fellow Aussies, Canadians and other readers?

Last minute US trip

I may have alluded to a secret in my last post. ¬†Not that I *know* my young brother reads this blog (I know R does, but I’m not sure about S), but I was adamant to surprise my brother, S, who moved to LA in Deceber 2015.

The BF was offered a work trip in Chicago, and some possible meetings in San Francisco. Initially I was luke warm on joining him, as I have been to both cities. ¬†But then I thought ‘why not?’. ¬†I have the money, and the time. ¬†But the thing that pushed me over was the possibility of surprising my brother a week after his birthday! ¬†So, to set it up, I made sure his girlfriend kept the weekend free, which she did, though there were many a check in, so she made sure it was OK for her to work on Saturdya morning and things like that.

The actual surprise was comedic! ¬†So… I had his address as 236 Main Street, but in actual fact, that’s the join between a huge pet store, and a huge grocery store. ¬†Definitely no one living in that joint compound! ¬†Alas, he was at 235 Main St, which we confirmed by the BF asked his GF what their address was as the ‘courier was asking’. ¬†See, something Dad ordered for S’s birthday hadn’t arrived on time for his birthday, and there’d been many an email to try and sort it out between me (who’d placed the order for Dad), Dad, and the two LA dwellers! ¬†Alas, we found the right address, and then… The inter phone or buzzer was broken?! ¬†It seemed to play a Mexican radio station or nothing. ¬†Or course, my brother’s girlfriend is saying to my BF ‘just get the courier to call S’! ¬†In the end, I stepped back and from the curb, took a gamble and hollered out my brothers name to an open window. ¬†And he appeared!

So many things went wrong, and could have continued to! ¬†What if that wasn’t his apartment? ¬†But it was!

We spent the weekend together, and then flew to Chicago on Monday. ¬†I was so pleased we got a snow storm (something the BF hadn’t experienced) and it was quite intense – snow blowing practically horizontally! ¬†But it was just one day, so that was nice. ¬†The hotel was selected by the BF’s company, which was the Hard Rock Hotel in the old Carbon and Carbite building, which was beautifully ornate. ¬†The rooms were a touch quirky, and it was well located to Michigan Ave, known as the ‘Magnificent Mile’ of shopping… ¬†More on that later, for sure

We then headed back to California on Saturday, for the far more temperate San Franscisco which I was in just over a year ago.  Due to plans being very up in the air, we ended up going for an Airbnb, cause lemme tell you SF is not a cheap city, especially on a Saturday night.  So many places were sold out too!

We leave on Thursday, so some of my posts will have to wait til I get home (and I’m yet to master a way to get photos from an iPhone to a work iPad to WordPress – it might be beyond me! ¬†Suggestions in the comments are welcomed)