Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party



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Shake Shack comes to Chicago!

Shake Shack Chicago

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Friday, November 7, 2014

A Morning at Magic Kingdom | Photoset


Magic Kingdom Welcome Show
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Monday, October 27, 2014

Fall in Chicago | Photoset


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Friday, October 24, 2014

Why I Love Disney


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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Monday, October 13, 2014

Is Disney's Memory Maker Worth It?


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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Photoset + Video | Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago


Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago Photos and Video
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Monday, June 23, 2014

100 Cool Chicago Photos

Click through for more cool photos of Chicago
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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Five Colorful Places to Add to Your Bucket List

Nature creates the most beautiful things on earth, in our opinion. There are rain forests of green, deserts of tan, and icebergs of white, all touting some picturesque landscapes. You know we love the weird around here, so we've added five new items to our weird bucket list of colorful destinations to visit, because photo ops are our favorites. Be prepared to be amazed with Mother Nature below...

LAKE HILLIER, AUSTRALIA

Amazingly Colorful Places Around the World
source
Your eyes to not deceive you, that lake is PINK. To make it even more interesting, nobody truly knows why. Most scientist speculate its from a bacteria in the salt crusts that creates a sort of dye, but it's officially a mystery. Lake Hillier is located in Western Australia. This isn't the only pink lake, but it's on my bucket list for sure. Plus, it's right next to a beautiful beach, so you get a two-for-one deal in that sense. I like deals.
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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

101 Walt Disney World Tips For a Disney Vacation for Adults

101 Walt Disney World Tips For Adults

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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Book Recommendations for Travel

book recommendations for a vacation
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Friday, June 13, 2014

Five Bucket List Beaches to Visit (+ Some of The Coolest Beaches in the World)

top beaches to visit

We typically travel in the Fall or Winter over here for a number of reasons. 1) The weather is great in Chicago in the summer- why leave? 2) The weather is awful in Chicago in the winter- let's leave! and 3) It's usually less crowded because kids are in school, which makes for non-peak prices. BUT, there's a big but here (pun intended) and that BUT is that most people we know/follow on social media travel in the summer and we're over here completely green with envy from June- September. We're not professional travelers (here's hoping!) or we would travel whenever we wanted. Instead we patiently wait until Fall, daydreaming.

Pinterest and other fun travel sites (we will share some of our faves soon!)  have increased our wanderlust tenfold, of course. There are a ton of pins and photos and blog posts that we probably wouldn't have come across organically otherwise, so now we've successfully stockpiled some Bucket List destinations, namely beaches. I have to say, though, who wants to travel to fifteen different destinations that more or less look the same? Not us! If you haven't noticed yet, we like to do things differently, and we're always on the search for unique destinations, namely unique beaches. So, some of our beaches are your typical desktop background places, but most are unique in some way, which is how we like it. Here is a list of some of the most beautiful and coolest beaches.

Maldives

best beaches in the world
source
This is the creme-de-la-creme of white sand, turquoise-cyan water beaches. The Maldives are located in the Indian Ocean and are home to nearly 1200 islands. (1200!) Each resort is it's own island. Did you hear that? I said each resort is it's OWN island. Talk about tranquility and privacy. This is a definite relaxation destination, perfect for honeymoons or romantic getaways. More recently, independent travel has increased due to more family friendly resorts and a better immersion with local population that it was lacking in the past. They have resorts catered to families and even divers. It's recent diversification will just bring more awareness into this consistently amazing place.
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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Doughnut Vault | Chicago, IL

Doughnut Vault is located just a few blocks from our apartment and we finally got to try it out last weekend.

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

100 Hipster Disney Photos



Hipsters are a subculture of men and women typically in their 20's and 30's that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter. 
Mostly, that just means that we like our photos to look a little different than most you see floating around the web. It's mostly just our preference, but we just don't see enough weird Disney photos around these parts, so here you go. These are mostly from Walt Disney World with a few from Disney Cruise Line sprinkled in. These were taken by us on various trips from 2011-2013. 

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Monday, June 2, 2014

25 Chicago Restaurants to Try



When we lived in Texas, we had our favorite places to eat. They were chains, but good ones. They were delicious and we knew what we'd get every time. It was easy. However, Plano, Texas didn't have the food scene that Chicago has. Although we sometimes miss our go-tos (we're looking at you, Razoo's,) we're never out of restaurants to try. We've had food that was amazing, bad, mediocre, overpriced, and a great value. Don't worry, we won't recommend a place we didn't wholeheartedly love and would (or likely have) returned to a second time. Here are 25 places we've eaten at and enjoyed!

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Shedd Aquarium | Chicago, IL


Wanderlust creeps up on us constantly. An instagram photo of Australia here, a pinterest post on Italy there... it can get to a person who only has two weeks of vacation a year. 

The best way we kill the wanderlust blues is to become tourists in our own city. Chicago has more than enough to offer. Over Memorial Day weekend, despite the insane crowds, we trekked over to Shedd Aquarium. We love museums, and Chicago has some of the best there is to offer

The Shedd.
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Friday, May 23, 2014

Photoset | Starved Rock State Park | Illinois


Starved Rock State Park is an hour and a half drive south of Chicago in Oglesby, Illinois. It is a treasure trove of hiking not too far from the city. We were super excited to find it. It has several falls that can be reached with both short hikes and longer hikes for all levels of hiking enthusiasts. You could go for an afternoon or for an entire day. Park entrance is free! We previously had only hiked in Texas and Arkansas. This has edged out as our favorite and we plan to go back before next winter. Check out the photo set from our afternoon there below. (Plus a video!)
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Thursday, May 22, 2014

EPCOT | Walt Disney World | Orlando, FL


A beautiful, bright sunny day was had at EPCOT back in December. EPCOT is a mixed bag for me. It's my least favorite park, which most humans disagree with. I adore Soarin', but the rest of the rides are just so-so to me. It's too large to truly enjoy both Future World and World Showcase in a single day, but two days here isn't something I'm interested in. So, I usually end up spending most of my time at one world, depending on what events there are, then try to quickly squeeze in the other.


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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

10 Places We're Dying To Go, But Nervous About

Are there places in the world that you're drooling over on that instagram feed or travel website- but are scared to take the plunge?

We have plenty.

Flight Length:

It's true! We've never flown more than three to four hours. We've only been outside of the US on cruise ships, and tend to like road trips when traveling domestically. The US is enormously vast and has a crazy amount of things to see, but we're dying to give an oversees trip a try. Here are some places that we've neglected to go because of flight times:

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Friday, May 9, 2014

Disney's Hollywood Studios | Walt Disney World


Disney's Hollywood Studios is supremely under rated in our opinion. They're super low on most Disney fanatics favorites list. It took me a long to to accept that, but I guess I see their points on some aspects. Maybe I'm looking through rose-colored glasses but we ADORE this park. Here's why!

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Lunch in Chinatown | Chicago, IL


Last weekend, we took a water taxi to Chinatown for lunch. Here is a quick photoset.
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Monday, May 5, 2014

XOCO by Rick Bayless | River North, Chicago, IL


Rick Bayless is the king of Chicago Mexican cuisine. His famed Frontera Grill is on our to-do list, but we decided to give Xoco a try before a show since we needed a quick meal. We ordered Chips and Guac, two pepito tortas, and the churros with a chocolate shot.


The seating here is a little awkward and cramped. A lot of restaurants in Chicago are like this, though, so you sort of get used to it I suppose. Still, more elbow room would make it more enjoyable.


The chips were pretty good. They weren't greasy and they were perfectly crispy. The salsa wasn't top notch- could've used a little more spice in my opinion. The guacamole was delicious. Perfectly fresh!



We both got the pepita torta which was short ribs. Neither of us had ever had a torta, and Ashley doesn't particularly like sandwiches, but we both really liked it. The meat was pretty much perfect. It had amazing taste and texture. The bread was extremely fresh and warm, which made the whole experience better. Who else hates stale bread?

 My favorite part was the churros and chocolate shot. This chocolate was out of this world. I live next to a chocolate factory and this chocolate tastes the way the fresh chocolate smells around the factory. The churros were perfectly crunchy on the outside and warm and gooey on the inside. It was delicious. The churros alone would bring me back for a second visit.

Oh, and Rick Bayless himself was there sampling the food, making sure it was top notch. We were too embarrassed to ask for a selfie with him.




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Friday, May 2, 2014

Universal Studios | Orlando, FL


While in Orlando, our usual main spot is Walt Disney World, but we can't go without making a stop at Universal Studios + Islands of Adventure. (You CAN do both parks in one day. We did it twice.)

If you're in Orlando and wondering if it is worth it, it is. Here's why.
(Stay tuned til the end where we have some hits and misses for you.)

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Magic Kingdom | Walt Disney World | Orlando, FL


Proving to ourselves that early December is the best time to visit Walt Disney World was incredibly easy when we stepped foot in Magic Kingdom. Our first night of arrival, MK was open until very late (like 1 AM) so after we ate dinner, we made our way there to get in as much park time as possible. Night time is always pretty spectacular in the Magic Kingdom, but the twinkling lights on Cinderella's Castle may have given us chills. Even though it was the Saturday after Thanksgiving, we were able to ride plenty of rides in the few hours we were there that evening. We got up early the next morning and went right back to Magic Kingdom for the whole day. Apart from these two visits, we also attended the Very Merry Christmas Party at the end of our trip (more on that here.) Getting those extra evening hours at Magic Kingdom made a real difference this time around, not only because we rode several rides multiple times, but also because we never felt rushed. We actually rode a few rides for the first time because of the lower crowds and since we had less of a need to rush. Stay tuned to the bottom to see the highlights and favorites from this trip! Oh! and watch this clip of the end of one of our many Thunder Mountain Railroad rides for laughs.


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Monday, April 28, 2014

Friday, April 25, 2014

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party | Walt Disney World | Orlando, FL


Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party is a special ticketed event at the Magic Kingdom in the weeks leading up to Christmas. It's a steep price that changes every year, so some people may not find it worth it. The only con to this party is the price, which might be an issue for the budget minded, but I think it's a great event to go to, even just once. A quick note: you're able to enter the park at 4:00 PM with MVMCP tickets without regular park entrance tickets. If you have park tickets already, no need to worry and you can spend the entire day. We actually split up this day and went to a different park that morning. 

Here are the pros:
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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Pop Century Resort | Walt Disney World | Orlando, FL


We stayed at Pop Century Resort in early December 2013 on our latest Walt Disney World trip. It was our first time at a value resort. (See here for differences in Disney Resort hotels, for reference.)
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Gatorland | Orlando, Florida



We visited Gatorland in Orlando, FL back in November of 2013. I (Magen) wasn't expecting to have a ton of fun. Ashley picked this one because she has some weird obsession with gators after marathon watching Gator Boys on Animal Planet. This place beat out my expectations tenfold. Here's a quick Gatorland Review.

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The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change


While driving from Chicago to Orlando, we visited the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, which includes his birthplace and resting place. The center is more of a large area experience than a museum, since it encompasses Ebenezer Baptist Church, an educational center, the grave site, and birthplace. While we enjoyed our time, we both agreed this was more of a "paying respect" attraction than the National Civil Rights Museum. Both are important and noteworthy, but if you're choosing one- our top choice is the Museum in Memphis. If you're in Atlanta, this is a great spot to spend an afternoon and reflect.

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Road Trippin' | Chicago to Florida



In November & December of last year, the girls from The Brown and The Blonde road tripped from Chicago to Orlando. What a drive. The trek down took two days with an overnight stop in Atlanta.

As your masters of driving-instead-of-flying, TB&TB has compiled a list of road trip requirements.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Street Festival | Chicago

This is a past post from Magen's old blog from June 2013.


It appears that my first terrible experience of chicago festivals was the exception, not the rule. The Taste of Randolph Street was fun. The food was good (I had a cheeseburger... surprise, surprise), the music was good, the vendors were cool (Bare Minerals!) and some drunk lady went on and on about my pretty lips. So, um, thanks? cool? Anyway... PHOTOS!

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A Day at the Beach | Chicago

This is a past post from Magen's old blog from June 2013.

While Chicago certainly isn't Key West, how cool is it that we have beaches? Sure, the water was freezing, and sure, the "sand" was really kind of just dirt, but it kind of felt like an afternoon vacation. I'll take it!Chicago Beaches 
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Snapshots | Chicago

This is a past post from Magen's old blog from June 2013.

Chicago Street Photography

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Chicago Blues Fest

This is a past post from Magen's old blog from June 2013. 

Chicago Blues Fest 
The Chicago Blues Fest has most definitely put the festivals I've attended thus far to shame. It's large, it has multiple stages, there are SEATS at the main stage, and the music was amazing. Oh, and it's FREE. I've paid $50 or more to go to festivals that aren't even this good. So i feel silly for that, but yay city of chicago and all the sponsors for this fantastic festival. The first time at a festival is always a learning experience. Next time, I'll a) eat before i get there (they have the whole buy-tickets-for-food-and-drink-situation which you always buy more tickets than you use because you don't want to stand in that huge line again later, therefore money wasted. i hate that.), b) bring snacks and drinks (coolers and even tables are allowed! i saw people with absolute buffets out there), and c) bring festival chairs (i saw some amazing ones out there!).

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Snapshots | Chicago- River North

This is a past post from Magen's old blog from May 2013. 

 
i could walk around the city for days. DAYS i tell you! probably not in the shoes i chose this particular day- but nonetheless... i love to walk. i walked a few miles to a restaurant last week on the first really warm day. it was spectacular and you could see the joy of the warmth and sun on everyone's faces. including the dogs.

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Snapshots | Chicago

This is a past post from Magen's old blog from May 2013. 

The Chicago River is my most favorite thing to look at when i walk. i love crossing those shaky bridges on foot.


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White Sox Game | Chicago

This is a past post from Magen's old blog from April 2013. 

CHICAGO WHITE SOX

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Geja's Cafe | Chicago

This is a past post from Magen's old blog from March 2013. 

For fondue in the chi... please make your way to Geja's Cafe. (NOT WITHOUT RESERVATIONS, THOUGH. YOU'LL BE DISAPPOINTED.) At Geja's you'll be treated to delicious cheese fondue complete with apples (yes, apples! just try it.), pretzel bread (oh-my-goodness good), and grapes? (The grapes were kind of weird to me, but hey- what's a little food adventure between friends?)

 
Also, at Geja's, you'll be dounced in reddish-pink light (there is quite literally NO white light. none, i tell you.) which actually kind of worked with my skin tone so that was cool.

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