Chicago Weekend Recap

by tinareale on October 10, 2012

As you likely know, I spent this past Friday through Monday in Chicago visiting my good friend Chelsey. It still doesn’t seem like our trip, something we have looked forward to for months, has now come and gone. The weekend was jam packed with so many good things. Instead of doing a full play by play, which could easily take me forever, I am going to give you the top 10 (of the many, many, many) highlights of the trip.

1. Staying with another blogger…and the good food that comes with it.


I certainly wasn’t complaining about the meals this weekend. What can go wrong when you stay with a fellow pumpkin oatmeal, salad, roasted vegetable, and quinoa loving gal? PS – Go make some of Chelsey’s Coconut Almond Butter and Pumpkin Granola Bars NOW. I can attest that they are PHENOMENAL!

2. Walking around the city.


We walked over 21 miles in the 3 days of our traipsing around Chicago. I didn’t mind, though. Chicago is such a great city! I loved it so much and hope to go back again. It appealed to me because it wasn’t just glass building after glass building and had some interesting architecture. Also, being on the water gave it extra beauty, which never hurts in a city. I also found it clean…which says a lot for a city.

3. Going to church together. It should come as no surprise that the two of us go to very similar churches. We are eerily the same person in different cities. It felt so great to connect with God amidst a busy weekend and to have a good friend to share it with.

4. The HEALTHIEST frozen yogurt in the WORLD!!!!

One afternoon we grabbed some frozen yogurt and it ended up being quite the experience. We had a live comedy show going on, I tell ya. The place we went was a new location and the owner kept yelling this INSANE claims at all the customers stopping in for the free samples. He got more and more amped up with bigger and bigger claims as we ate. By the time we left, we discovered that we had just eaten a big cup of the “healthiest frozen yogurt in the WORLD – 100% fat free, 100% dairy free, 100% organic, only one like it in the whole country, inspired by Europe!!!”…and all for ONLY 25 calories per CUP! <<—Yes. Quite entertaining and laughable. We wanted to ask him if he knew the Nutella and Pistachio flavors we were eating would make that whole organic and fat-free claim go down the tube.

5. Blogger Meet-Up with Katie.


I have been rooting for this girl for the longest time in her training for Chicago, so it was fabulous to meet in person and share a delicious lunch together. I  hate that we didn’t get a picture of us all together, though. So see what Katie looks like and read her amazing recap of her first marathon on her blog!

6. Blogger meet-up with Lindsay.


Saturday morning, the three of us grabbed coffee together at Starbucks and sat chatting for what felt so brief but was really over an hour. It never surprises me though that bloggers can have so much to talk about! Lindsay and I will actually be rooming together in a little over a week at the Runner’s World Half. Can’t wait!

7. Blogger meet-up with Jess and Jolene.

Chelsey, Jess, Jolene, and I

We had lunch on Karyn’s on Green and it could not have been a better experience. Unless it was longer. Our lunch date went by too fast! I’ve met Jolene before when she came to Atlanta for work earlier this year, but this was the first time meeting Jess. We’ve read each others’ blogs for over 2 years so you can imagine how great it felt to all be together.

portabella sandwich with butternut squash + coconut soup (still drooling over this!)

We talked about anything and everything – in between eating the ridiculously good food – in the short time we had. And, I have to say it again Jess, SO PROUD OF YOU for your first marathon!!!

8. Grocery Shopping at Trader Joes. Can’t ever go wrong with that….

9. A low-key last day together. Before I left on Monday, Chelsey and I kept things very light. We slept in (until 7 am – haha!) and then spent some time lounging in our pajamas watching Friends. It was a dream morning. Then, we hit up Trader Joes, went for a walk, spent some time in the kitchen. You know. Typical blogger stuff. I miss it already.

10. Cheering at the Chicago Marathon.

I was a little worried that I would feel bummed watching the race since I should have been running it. However, I had so much fun! You can’t beat the energy of a good race atmosphere! Plus, we had fun with our sign holding and cheering. It always cracked us up to hear runners going by and getting a good chuckle at our signs. You would hear huffing and puffing and then suddenly “HA! Chaffed nipples.” We even got a few man flashes of their band-aided nipples. We also were spotted by some blog pals – Molly and Megan – during their runs. Great work, ladies!

As you can see, I had a fantastic time. You can imagine I already hope to be there again next year.

Your Turn – Have you ever been to Chicago? What’s the best race sign you’ve ever seen?


1 Caroline October 10, 2012 at 6:29 am

I love Chicago, and I’m glad that you had a great time! One of the best races signs I saw was at mile 5 of my first half marathon: “Remember- no one made you do this!”

2 tinareale October 11, 2012 at 6:14 am

That is a great one!

3 Julia October 10, 2012 at 6:38 am

Wow, I just love your signs!!!

During the half marathon in Berlin, I actually pinned a sheet of paper on the back of my race shirt that read
“I actually just wanted to grab some fresh buns from the bakery, but somehow I ended up here…”
All the runners that were passing turned around and said that they found it pretty hilarious.

4 tinareale October 11, 2012 at 6:15 am

Oh, that’s awesome! That would have definitely brought a smile to my face. :)

5 Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie October 10, 2012 at 6:45 am

What a fun trip!! And you’re running at Runners World? We should definitely get a FitFluential group together to hang out!

6 tinareale October 11, 2012 at 6:16 am

Yep! I’ll be at Runner’s World! I’m thinking we should see each other with the whole FitFluential weekend. :)

7 chelsey @ clean eating chelsey October 10, 2012 at 7:03 am

Gaaaah – come baaaaaack!!!

8 tinareale October 10, 2012 at 7:47 am

I want to come back!!!!

9 Lindsay @ Lindsay's List October 10, 2012 at 8:21 am

i’m coming next time!

10 misszippy October 10, 2012 at 7:27 am

What a great weekend! Chicago is the best and getting to share it with friends and take it all in, how great is that? Glad you had such a fun time.

11 lindsay October 10, 2012 at 7:27 am

the signs are perfect! i love it. And what a wonderful weekend with you twin. I agree, going to church with a friend in their home town is such blessing.

12 char eats greens October 10, 2012 at 7:38 am

I’ve never been to Chicago but it sounds like you had a fun time!! I think the stop at TJ’s was TOTALLY essential. I would have just slept there one night!! I bet it was awesome to see the marathon from the other perspective too :)

13 Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers October 10, 2012 at 7:45 am

Wow – you two were busy busy busy! So many meetups! :) Love the signs. I hope to make it to Chicago one day. It’s on my to-see list.

14 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats October 10, 2012 at 7:52 am

It was so great to meet you! and I know, we should have gotten a picture! I thought of that the next morning… And I’m going to need to go to this froyo place now and hear this man talking about his amazing froyo! Haha

15 tinareale October 11, 2012 at 6:17 am

You would have loved it. It was absolutely hilarious. You should have seen Chelsey and I giggling like school girls in the corner at him. The best part was when this woman sat down near us and was talking about how she could eat it every day because it would be 0 Weight Watcher points! Wait…maybe that’s not so good. Haha!

16 katie October 10, 2012 at 8:23 am

SO fun! I am happy you guys had a great time! I need to get my butt to that froyo place since it is the BEST, haha!

I have been to chicago many times and love it there! My husband is from there!

17 Lee October 10, 2012 at 8:25 am

Have you seen that Seinfeld episode about the healthy frozen yogurt? Your post reminded me of it.

Sounds like you had an awesome time. I’ve only been to Chicago for one day back when I was in high school and we were looking at colleges in Wisconsin, we flew into Chicago. I’d love to go back though.

18 tinareale October 11, 2012 at 6:18 am

You would love it! And I still need to decide on the Nov 3rd race I know!

19 [email protected] October 10, 2012 at 8:26 am

I have family in Chicago and used to spend 2 months there every years as a child. I ran The Chicago Marathon in 2008 and had so much fun. My favorite race to watch was the Grand Rapids Marathon a few years ago. TO see so many of my friends was awesome. :-) I love to spectate and cheer those athletes on.

20 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More October 10, 2012 at 8:32 am

Oh man! I wish we had a meet-up while you were here – would have been so fun, but glad you had a great weekend! I hope you also got some delicious deep dish pizza while you were here!

21 Alicia at Poise in Parma October 10, 2012 at 8:44 am

So happy that you got to meet up with Jess and Jolene! Looks like you had a great weekend away.

“Chuck Norris never ran a marathon” made me giggle for a good few minutes the first time I saw it.

22 Kierston October 10, 2012 at 8:47 am

I’ve never been to Chicago! Looks like you had an awesome time! Love the FroYo!

23 Marcia October 10, 2012 at 8:54 am

So sorry you couldn’t run but it looks like you made the best of it and had fun! Chicago is a wonderful city. Hope you’re back running the marathon here soon!

24 Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table October 10, 2012 at 8:55 am

Such a fun weekend! I think it rocks that you still went and cheered. Those signs crack me up.

25 Heather (Where's the Beach) October 10, 2012 at 8:56 am

Ahhh, I so wish I could have been there. I couldn’t find a flipping hotel though. I love love love Chicago. I never made it to Karyn’s on Green but went to Karyn’s Cooked twice the last time I was there. Such an awesome city. So glad you got to go and meet up with Jess and Jo too (jealous LOL)

26 Shannon (Healthiful Balance) October 10, 2012 at 9:13 am

So glad you had a great time! Thats great that you got to meet up with so many bloggers. :)

27 Kelly @ Cupcake Kelly's October 10, 2012 at 9:43 am

What a fun-filled packed trip! I have never been to Chicago but the husband and I desperately want to go, especially since he has family there!

28 Heather @ For the Love of Kale October 10, 2012 at 9:43 am

THOSE SIGNS! Hahahaha. Love it. You’re SUPER lucky to have Linz as a roomie. She’s amazing. :-) So glad that you had such a wonderful weekend with your best blend, Tina! xoxo

29 Michelle October 10, 2012 at 9:50 am

I LOVE those signs!! I also want to eat all the food. That looks amazing. I need to get my booty to Chicago soon. Glad you had fun cheering on the race! Are you going to attempt to run it next year? :)

30 tinareale October 11, 2012 at 6:20 am

I’m hoping so…but not planning one way or the other just yet.

31 Heather October 10, 2012 at 10:29 am

I love love love the candy corn sign! Sorry I didn’t see you guys out there – I guess I should have asked which miles you’d be at.
Glad you had a great time!

32 tinareale October 11, 2012 at 6:21 am

I think I saw you a couple of times…I would scream Heather but you were farther away so you very well didn’t hear. Or I could have just been yelling at a stranger that is also relatively tall with blonde curly hair. Haha!

33 Shanna, like Banana October 10, 2012 at 10:38 am

I love that like 99% of what you did involved food. My kind of vacation. Chicago still reigns supreme as one of my favorite cities ever!

34 Calee (@chimes) October 10, 2012 at 10:48 am

oh man, your signs are THE BEST. And apparently everybody has been to Chicago in the past month. We need to coordinate these things. :) Could have almost had Blend 2012 part deux.

35 Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries October 10, 2012 at 10:55 am

I just loved reading this! You both are two of my favorites, so it just made me happy to hear how much fun you girls had!

36 Lisa October 10, 2012 at 11:10 am

Those signs are pretty cool stuff;) I’m super jealous you got to hang with Chelsey and all the other bloggers!
I am still waiting to go to Chicago! I hear its an amazing place!

37 Bethany @ Accidental Intentions October 10, 2012 at 11:40 am

Bahhhh I wish I had seen you while you were here! I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off all of race weekend (especially race day), so I’m not surprised that I didn’t happen to run into you at the race. Alas. I’m glad you had such a great time in our fabulous city, though! You should come back at the end of a month sometime and crash our HLB book club :)

38 tinareale October 11, 2012 at 6:22 am

I know! The weekend was insane busy! There were so many people that I wish I had seen that I knew were there.

39 Rachel @ Eat, Learn, Discover! October 10, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Ahh all this talk about chicago really makes me miss the city! It really is such a great city to just walk around and enjoy, I’m so glad you had a great time.
I’ve never stayed with another blogger- but the thought of staying with someone who loves all the same weird foodie things as I do sounds beyond fantastic.

40 Jentry Nielsen October 10, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Oh I am so jealous you got to hangout with Chelsey! I love her blog!
Chicago sounds like a blast! I’ve always wanted to go!!! Looks like a nice and relaxing fun weekend!

41 Tonya October 10, 2012 at 12:05 pm

I haven’t been to Chicago since I was very young. We were near Chicago for some reason and I asked my parents to drive us to the city so that I could see graffiti! I was into Welcome Back Kotter then! lol
The best race sign I ever saw was a few weeks ago at the Akron Marathon. It was held by a 5-6 year old and it said, “Worst Parade Ever!” :)

42 jobo October 10, 2012 at 12:11 pm

love love love your recap!! And loved seeing you again!! And Chelsey was awesome to meet too, she’s great AND you are right, so much like you! I love that you had a great time at church together that afternoon, how perfect. Wish we all lived closer!!!

43 Amanda Perry @ Sistas of Strength October 10, 2012 at 12:16 pm

That sounds like the greatest weekend with great great gals. :)

44 Jess October 10, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Looooved meeting you FINALLY Tina!! I can’t believe it took us 2+ years to make it happen but it was totally worth the wait…buuut totally could’ve been WAY longer!! Two things I’m jealous of: the fro yo (um 25 cals a CUP??) and the church time together, how great is that to share with a friend, huh? Love it.

45 [email protected] Palate October 10, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Looks like you guys had an awesome weekend! Wish I had bloggers living near me! If you ever come to Ireland… :)

46 Paige @ Your Trainer Paige October 10, 2012 at 3:05 pm

What an AMAZING weekend, Tina :) Loved your guys’ signs – hilarious!!
Wish I would have been in town this weekend! Would have loved to see you – and meet Jess.

47 janetha {meals & moves} October 10, 2012 at 5:15 pm

awww so fun! i love chicago, i love bloggers… so this looks like the perfect time!

48 Julianna @ Julianna Bananna October 10, 2012 at 7:39 pm

that seriously sounds like the most amazing weekend!! i am definitely jealous- so many good eats and just all around fun! :)

49 Bek @ Crave October 11, 2012 at 2:54 am

Thanks for the recap! Sounds like an awesome weekend- can’t wait to hear more :)

50 [email protected]tnessPerks October 11, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Oh that all sounds SO fun! And your signs are hilarious. Love it. And how cool that you had candy corn to give out?!?!

51 Irina @ Chocolatea Time October 11, 2012 at 8:49 pm

I’m so glad you enjoyed your time in Chicago! It always makes me so happy to see others fall in love with my home city :) And those signs are great!

52 Heather @Better With Veggies October 12, 2012 at 10:59 am

Looks like so much fun! I was never really a fan of Chicago, but I know so many people love it. I should probably give it another chance someday.

53 Leonor @FoodFaithFitness October 14, 2012 at 10:08 pm

What a fun weekend!

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