Tag Archives: Illinois

Fun Times Friday: Lunch Date and Line Dancing!

Happy Friday everyone! You made it. Since you’re coming up on some blissful rest days, I thought I’d give you a few ideas for a day out. Here in Illinois, it’s bitterly cold; last Saturday we had a heat wave when it got up to 45°F. Mike and I are beginning to get cabin fever couped up inside all day long. So since, it was my date day last Saturday, I got us out and around town as much as possible. All while staying under a budget.

First we picked up lunch from a wonderful little bakery/caterer/deli in Peoria. It’s called the Cracked Pepper and they had pepper grinders everywhere!

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These were my favorites. Isn’t the gold so pretty?

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Then, because the sun was out, we drove down to the Peoria waterfront and ate our lunch on a bench outside. We bundled up so we wouldn’t freeze and it was so wonderful to just sit in the sun. And cheap!

Then, ever the scavengers for cheap activities, we headed to the Caterpillar Visitors Museum to check out all the big machines Mike helps build. He gets in for free and I only cost $7. Sweet! Keep a lookout for student, senior, employee deals in your area to save yourself some dough. You can find out events and discounts in local (free) papers and handouts in newspaper stands.

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I lost track of what all the machines were called… But they’re cool! And Mike helps make them 🙂

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This is the WHEEL of the biggest truck made, ever, in the world. It’s used for mining and the bed of it is 35 feet wide. In the museum, they fit a movie theater in it. So sweet.

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The simulator driver things. I had really wanted to get my operators license until I tried this thing. Mike was awesome. Me, not so good. Lol.

Then that night…drumroll please…we went line dancing! What?? I never really thought about it but, of course, line dancing in the midwest is the real deal. It was about 20 minutes from our house in a real barn called Stone Country Saloon. There was a massive dance floor and tons of locals (none of them wearing plaid oddly enough). It turns out that when I get a couple beers in me, I’m really pretty good at line dancing. I pick up the moves like a champ. By the end, I had people coming up and teaching me the steps. I guess that’s normal in these places but I felt privileged.

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Mike stayed at the bar to watch most of the time but jumped in when he felt he could do it. Isn’t it weird how much more nervous to mess up men are when it comes to dancing? Maybe it’s their lack of hips. I don’t know.

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But I’m in love. I’m going back this weekend. I want to get to know the patrons there. And the awesome saloon owner, Dan. And I WILL get good at line dancing before leaving the midwest.

On top of all this wonderfulness, the cover on a Saturday is $7 (a little steep) but the beers were $3 (makes everything ok).

What are some sweet deals you’ve found in your area? I hope you have a fantastic weekend!

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Friendly Friday: Thank You Technology

Once upon a time there was a group of five girlfriends. They were all gnarly and raced bikes together. When they got off the bikes they would sit down for pizza and a beer and laugh for hours and hours. Then these girls graduated from college and spread across the country like lighting bolts, forever changing the points they touched down in. They spread to be teachers in Boston, medical students in North Carolina, nurses in Colorado, bike marketers and women’s activists in California, and holistic health advocates in Illinois.

Every so often, thanks to some sweet technology, they actually get to reunite and laugh together again. Check out Once a Month’s blog to see how easy it is to keep in touch. Reunite with the old and wonderful friends in your life.

Once a Month: Coming Together While Miles Apart

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My friends are amazing. This is going to happen much more often from now on. I love and miss them so incredibly much but they’re all doing so well in life. They brighten my day 🙂

 

Friday Fun Times: Ice Skating!

Our lives were becoming stale. Wake up groggy and still tired, go to work, come home and eat dinner, watch tv, go to bed, repeat. It’s even boring writing it! So Mike and I decided to institute date night. For those of you that know us, you know that we didn’t go on our first date until we were 4 months into our relationship and living together. The whole graduation/moving to Illinois thing meant that we did things kind of backwards. SO, we have no idea how to date each other!

Of course, we are very short on money, so we have been exploring Peoria in a frugal way. Last Friday we went out to dinner (ordered only appetizers because they’re cheaper) then went ice skating! I told Mike that he had to arrange this one and, considering that he’s the romantically challenged of the two of us, he did a fantastic job.

There’s a rink right around the corner from us and it cost $6 each for ice time AND rentals. WOOHOO!

 

^ As far as I’m concerned, humans were not meant to have blades on their feet so I stumbled across the ice like a dancing baboon. Mike, however, is one of those people who is good at everything and he jumped on the ice and started skating backwards and doing turns and hockey stops and blah blah blah. I was slightly envious but also very proud of my man 🙂

‘Twas a great way to spend a Friday night. Cheap, cheerful, and sweat-inducing.

What do you do for a cheap date night?

Sunday Seriously Fun Day!

Whew! What a weekend! Mike and I just finished unpacking from an action filled, awesomely adventurous weekend in Chicago. We did a little bit more of celebrating my birthday and a lot more of exploring Illinois. I can officially say that, as an architecture nerd (aka Archie), foodie, and culture lover, I LOVE Chicago. It’s like a perfect cross between Boston (my most favorite city) and NYC (my least favorite). So many gorgeous parks and mindblowing architecture. I just love it.

Because of the fact that I workout and eat right pretty much every day of the week, when I go on vacation, I’m on vacation. I learned this from my Momma and it works out pretty well. You get to enjoy the leisure of sleeping in and eating whatever strikes your fancy for a few days AND it’s a fantastic reminder of why I live the way I do. I now feel like a donkey’s rear end. An ass’s ass you might say. I am incredibly lethargic, having stomach cramps and bloating, and sore everywhere from a lack of stretching and muscle strengthening.

On that note, here is a photo montage of our weekend in the Windy City.

Question: For those of you following via email, can you see these photos in your message?

^ View of the skyline from the ferris wheel on Navy Pier.

^ Had to hit up Trader Joe’s to stock up on the cheap almond butter and other treats.

^ Mike and I at the Bean (aka Cloud Gate) in Millenium Park. Definitely my favorite area of the city.

^ We went to the Grand Lux Cafe for my birthday lunch. SO GOOD. Thanks Mom and Dad!

^Let’s start with a pineapple basil mojito and fresh calamari with zucchini and onion.

^ Kobe Meatballs with Cheesy Polenta.

^ Happy Belated Birthday to me!

^ Lava cake. When I broke it open the chocolate sauce poured out. I almost hyperventilated with glee.

^ Aw. He’s my best friend and my love. 🙂

^ Gorgeous drive home. Go sustainable energy!!

It was a fantastic weekend with my wonderful boyfriend. Thanks to my Mom and Dad for giving us a chance to live like we have money. I’m such a happy camper.

Maybe my smiles tonight will radiate all over the world and rub off on you guys 🙂