Can’t Argue With Green

August 11, 2010

I’m here!!!

It was so sad to say goodbye to Matt – it was worse that we were at the airport together but going to different parts of the country!

BOY the RDU new terminal is nice!!!

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Outlets everywhere and really nice bathrooms!

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Matt and I hung out together until his flight left

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He was reading an article about Kanzi, who he is named after!!

See any similarities?

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Read this second-to-last paragraph and see what Kanzi has to say about KALE!! Starting with “Honeydew…” LOL!

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Bye Kanz!

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My flight left a bit after that. I got a month long Boingo internet pass for $9.95 to cover all 4 of my airport stays this month. So worth it!

In the air, I was hungry really soon. Enter packed lunch:

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One of the best PB&J sandwiches I’ve had in ages because I only used once piece of bread so the Nat Nutty Almond Butter and homemade plum jam was super concentrated!! On ARNOLD bread my dad got in honor of the Healthy Living Summit!

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+ Grapes

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+ my vegetable – a carrot in a pool of almond butter that got all sticky in transit

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Because they all can’t be as cool as Delta (I was flying American..)

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Chicago from the sky!
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A lot of you recommended taking the L (train) over a cab from the airport. Cost really isn’t enough to sway me with a giant suitcase in tow, but then someone mentioned that is more GREEN to take the train and you just can’t argue with green. So I took the train!

Then Heather Said did an AWESOME post on transit with step by step instructions that made this trip SO easy. I took it even further with a photo description of the trip.

From baggage claim, look for the signs that say “Trains To City – CTA”

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Take the elevators or escalators down, following the signs

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At the bottom, you’re spit out to moving escalators. Hop on or walk!

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After those, you come to the pay stations. Choose the one that says “cash or credit” and not cash only if you don’t have cash. I always go to the far side and use that one.

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I got a 3-day pass – did the math and it’s worth it for Thursday – Sat. transit.

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The platform is a bit confusing, but my advice is to follow the people who look like they know what they’re doing. I did and found a train ready to depart. ALL of the trains are leaving O’Hare (since it’s the last stop) so you really can’t get on the wrong one. Look for one with open doors!

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This is the blue line towards Forest Park

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Sit on the train for about 30 minutes and play on your phone:

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Your 43 pound suitcase WILL fall over. Hold it tight with your legs

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Note that the hotel stop is JACKSON station

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When you exit the train at Jackson, go towards Van Buren (lots of presidents!)

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Find the escalator at the end

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Go out of the turnstiles (you might need to take the family one if you have a 43 pound suitcase and you do need to push a button to get out!)

Go to the left to find another escalator

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You will be spit out onto Dearhorn Street. Walk straight about 2 blocks – towards the Subway sign and scaffolding. Walk under the scaffolding.

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You will come to Congress. Make a left here.

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Pass the Chicago Library!

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Cross a few streets that require waiting in the hot, bright sun with your 43 pound suitcase

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Go under the L

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Under the auditorium

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The Congress Plaza appears on the right!

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Cross Congress at Michigan and you’ll be there.

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The hotel is nice – historic – and feels like a old college dorm!

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The bathroom is huge

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Just ate an apple and now I must get down to swag bag duty!!

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Can’t wait to see the rest of you here!!

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{ 93 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Estela @ Weekly Bite August 11, 2010 at 3:12 pm

What a very thorough post on your trek to the hotel! So cute 😉


2 Bethany @ More Fruit Please August 11, 2010 at 3:13 pm

I hate airport goodbyes… even if it’s just for a few days! Have fun at the HLS!!


3 Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine August 11, 2010 at 3:14 pm

Ahhhh this post made me SO EXCITED for tomorrow!! Good luck with all the last minute preparations!


4 Jessica @ How Sweet August 11, 2010 at 3:14 pm

The hotel is very pretty! The city looks gorgeous too.


5 Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin August 11, 2010 at 3:14 pm

Thank you so much for the picture by picture description – now I’m definitely taking the train! See you soon!


6 Jasmine @ Eat Move Write August 11, 2010 at 3:15 pm

Gah! I wish I was there! The hotel is cool, and I hear it’s SUPER hot in the Midwest right now. Don’t forget sunscreen!

Is it not so hard to say goodbye at an airport? I cry almost every time.


7 Heather (Heather's Dish) August 11, 2010 at 3:17 pm

love the hotel room! and that article about kanzi cracked me up…so cute!


8 Evan Thomas August 11, 2010 at 3:18 pm

Can’t wait to meet you in a few days!


9 Stina August 11, 2010 at 3:18 pm

I love this post! It might be important to point out it’s DearBorn St. not Dearhorn St. (Just don’t want anyone looking for the wrong street!)


10 christie August 11, 2010 at 3:19 pm

RANDOM- i stayed at that hotel when i went to chicago on spring break in 08! its in a great location!

also, i admire your photo taking skills while lugging a suitcase, walking a busy city and disregarding strangers’ looks! :)


11 Mary @ Bites and Bliss August 11, 2010 at 3:19 pm

It’s kind of convenient you guys are going on trips at the same time, even though it’s never fun to be apart. But at least it won’t be like he’ll be home while your away then he’s gone when you’re back or something like that. 😛

That bathroom’s INSANE for a hotel! Daggum! Hope you have fuuun!! 😀


12 Heather August 11, 2010 at 3:20 pm

I think Chicago public transit is SUPER easy! You’re gonna be on the Blue Line for most of your trip it seems which is the biggest and easiest to figure out. I lived in Chicago for awhile and always felt more comfortable with the blue line because it’s a straight shot. I LOVE THE EL! If you get a chance (but you probably won’t because it’s going to be CRAZY!!!) check out Sultan’s Market, a tiny little middle eastern deli in Wicker Park right off the Blue Line (Damen stop). Yummy falafel and hummus!


13 Marilou @ Mostly Healthy August 11, 2010 at 3:22 pm

Airport looks a lot like Toronto’s .. Meh, I guess al airport are pretty much the same (I haven’t travelled much and I don’t count Cuba’s airport .. too many coconut trees)


14 R @ Learning As I Chop August 11, 2010 at 3:22 pm

So jealous you’re in Chicago! I love it there! And good job on the train. I’ve done it before. Definitely worth it


15 Lily August 11, 2010 at 3:22 pm

Welcome to Chicago!


16 Beth @ Will Run for Books August 11, 2010 at 3:23 pm

Dude! What is in your suitcase? Wow!

Glad you made it safely – I am super cheap so the cost is always enough to get me to take the blue line, even with a heavy suitcase (I’ve done this for two trips to Asia that lasted two weeks), but the fact that it is GREEN is a great reason to use it too!

Transit in Chicago is really easy – I’ve lived here for 4 years and have never had a car! :)


17 Jessica @ The Process of Healing August 11, 2010 at 3:25 pm

Glad you got there safely but wow… how confusing!


18 melissa August 11, 2010 at 3:29 pm

great chicago tour, that’s some dorm


19 Melissa @ HerGreenLife August 11, 2010 at 3:30 pm

Yay for making the green choice! You probably also got there faster than you would have in a cab, not to mention cheaper. Plus, you fit a bit of extra exercise into your day. In my experience, Chicago has a pretty great p-trans system. I hope your tutorial will encourage other HLS attendees to go green :)


20 Cynthia (It All Changes) August 11, 2010 at 3:31 pm

You little photo tour is great! Maybe all the presidential info helped Then Heather Said to become obsessed with our national leaders.


21 Heather August 11, 2010 at 5:02 pm

i don’t know about obsessed. ahem 😉


22 Ella @ The Princess and the P August 11, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Phew! You’re much braver than I am.. I would’ve taken a cab ESPECIALLY with that huge suitcase!! Glad you made it safely, can’t wait to see more of HLS behind-the-scenes 😉


23 Stacey August 11, 2010 at 3:35 pm

What a great post – love it! If I were attending HLS this would be really useful. Glad you arrived safe and sound and look forward to reading all about HLS. Have fun! :)


24 [email protected] Nation August 11, 2010 at 3:36 pm

Wow! Chicago looks really fun! I have never been there. Can’t wait to see the rest of your posts about it.


25 Heather @ Side of Sneakers August 11, 2010 at 3:39 pm

That post was like my life in reverse deja vu- I’ll be making my way from RDU to the Congress hotel tomorrow! Yay!


26 jamie @ jamelafamela August 11, 2010 at 3:42 pm

Welcome to Chicago- Such a great city!!!!


27 Freya @ Brit Chick Runs August 11, 2010 at 3:42 pm

Oh this is the most useful post ever!! I can’t believe I’ll be doing all that tomorrow, when right now I’m sitting in England…MAD!


28 Chelsea (Chelsea's Chew and Run Fun) August 11, 2010 at 3:51 pm

Oh, how I long to visit Chicago one of these days. My boss is from there and is always talking up its wonders.

That almond butter saturated carrot looks pretty drool-worthy, I must say!


29 Rachael @ Mrs-Adventure August 11, 2010 at 3:52 pm

OOOOOH I want to be there so bad!!!!


30 Jenna August 11, 2010 at 3:55 pm

Welcome to my city!! You did a great job figuring out the CTA. I’m so bummed I’m foingto be out of town this weekend or I so would have joined you guys on a run or for some sightseeing. You really need to make it down to the Lakeshore path!


31 Sarah (OC2Seattle) August 11, 2010 at 3:57 pm

So with you on hating airport goodbyes. For my husband’s b’day two years ago (and it was a big one ending in 0) I was flying in and he was flying out on the big day. We met up in the food court and I had to give him his present there – a present I had bought 7 months earlier (a VIP trip to the Indy 500) – so not the same as if we could have been out to dinner or at home even.


32 Tina August 11, 2010 at 3:58 pm

That was a good move on the internet pass. Internet while traveling can really be expensive. Which is crazy!

Love the idea of super concentrated pbj. Just how I like it.


33 Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat August 11, 2010 at 3:58 pm

I’m getting more jealous of all the ladies attending HLS by the second – looks amazing and it hasn’t even started yet! Have a great time, and ps, Matt’s Kanzi face is excellent! :)


34 Courtney (Delightful Devours) August 11, 2010 at 4:04 pm

Great post! I love seeing what everyone eats while flying :)


35 Holly @ couchpotatoathlete August 11, 2010 at 4:05 pm

I wish MN had trains like Chicago does — I love the trains whenever I travel to bigger cities. They are so much fun for me!

I wish wish wish I was going to HLS. Next year I will be!


36 Kelly August 11, 2010 at 4:15 pm

Yay, Chicago! Looks like home :) Have fun, I can’t wait to hear all about it!!


37 ari August 11, 2010 at 4:16 pm

that was so nice of you to do a little tutorial! public transportation always confuses me.


38 Chelsea August 11, 2010 at 4:24 pm

It’s the EL, not the L. 😉

I saw you asking on twitter.

I love Chicago! It’s my second home and I would totally live there if there was any career possibilities there for me. lol


39 Katy(The Balanced Foodie) August 11, 2010 at 4:26 pm

You’re so great Kath, this is so thoughtful for everyone who will be navigating! See you tomorrow, can’t wait!


40 Nicole - yuppie yogini August 11, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Nice room! That bed looks crazy comfy!!


41 Marisa @ Loser for Life August 11, 2010 at 4:33 pm

Wow, no one can get lost with those great directions! Have a fun time; can’t wait to read all about it!


42 Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) August 11, 2010 at 4:40 pm

Have fun Kath! I have no doubt through all the work…there will be fun to be had! Enjoy your evening!


43 Esse August 11, 2010 at 4:42 pm

Oh my gosh, you did a great job with public transportation in our city! It can be a little daunting! For anyone wondering, the El is the “elevated train”. It’s a great city for walking too. On Saturday you might see/hear some of the planes in for the Air/Water show. Have a good time!


44 Heather August 11, 2010 at 4:58 pm

wasn’t too hard at all, eh? Even with the large suitcase. (extra workout?)



45 Mastering Public Health (@MasPublicHealth) August 11, 2010 at 5:03 pm

Wow, very thorough recap. Are you ever nervous about taking out the big SLR camera in new places (when you don’t know your way around/the quality of the neighborhood or don’t want to look touristy)? I only ask because that thought always comes to my mind in those situations — not that anyone should live in fear, but there is a practicality/reality aspect to it. Anyway, sad to miss this year’s HLS — great summary and good luck!


46 Lisa @bakebikeblog August 11, 2010 at 5:05 pm

What a great ‘travel guide’ :)


47 Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter August 11, 2010 at 5:08 pm

Haha what a fun journey though Chicago!


48 Jenny August 11, 2010 at 5:13 pm

Wow! I didn’t know the HLS was in Chicago! Wasn’t paying enough attention… I used to live in the Chicago subs! Near Lake Ave. – which I saw was listed on the L’s train-line-diagram-thingy. :) Enjoy the Windy City! Don’t forget to enjoy some onions while you’re there, too — after all, Chicago was named after an onion 😉

It’d be nice if you had time to check out the Navy Pier – it can be such fun if you go with friends! Have a great stay!


49 lynn (The Actors Diet) August 11, 2010 at 5:27 pm

i’ve never been to chicago before – won’t be making it to the HLS but looks like it’s gonna be a blast.


50 BroccoliHut August 11, 2010 at 5:30 pm

I know! The new part of RDU is super nice. I remember the first time I arrived at one of those gates, I thought I had taken the wrong plane. Goes to show how, ahem, un-nice the other part of the airport is:)


51 Kat August 11, 2010 at 5:49 pm

Hi Kath!

I’ve been following your blog for a few months now and I just love it! I noticed that you’re staying the Congress Plaza, I’ve stayed there before as well, it’s a really nice place.

When I went there in December 2008, I stopped in at a health food store that also had a small restaurant upstairs that was pretty decent. Here’s the address in case you’re interested (it’s within walking distance to the hotel!)

Kramer’s Health Food Shoppe
230 South Wabash Avenue
Chicago, IL 60604-2311

Enjoy your stay!


52 Kim August 11, 2010 at 6:02 pm

I loved using the EL to get around in Chicago, in 2001 my husband worked a short term job there and I visited and enjoyed it so much. I had taken a cab when I first arrived since he was working and that was the only cab I took. I was scared the entire time, the cab driver drove so fast, tailgated and cut people off. I was so stressed by the time I got to my husbands office. Never again! :)

You all should consider Denver, Colorado for a future HLS or Boulder, the happiest, healthiest city in the county. :)

Have fun!


53 Mom August 11, 2010 at 7:37 pm

I had to close my eyes in a cab we took in NYC last weekend. I was in the front and it was just too much.


54 Liz August 11, 2010 at 8:46 pm

Worst cab ride I ever had was from Playa Del Carmen back to our cruise ship. The driver was going over 80 mph in a car that looked like it could barely move. My SIL and I were so scared and prayed the entire time!

Have fun in Chicago.. I’m about 3 hours away in Iowa, enjoy the heat!


55 Daniel August 11, 2010 at 6:10 pm

Nice guide and walking tour of the city, very thoughtful of you!

I wish I had packed nice food like that for when I had to fly… airplane food is depressing haha.

Did you get any weird looks or questions when you were taking pictures of lunch on the flight? I know some of my classmates gave me some odd looks when I did it 😛


56 Kath August 11, 2010 at 11:03 pm

Not really! I’m pretty sly


57 Maren @ Simply Maren August 11, 2010 at 6:11 pm

Chicago is my favorite! I’ve been exactly where you are and I’m so sad and envious. Hope you have a blast.


58 Wendy Heath August 11, 2010 at 6:18 pm

I used to take the L from Midway airport and walk to the Amtrak station when I was going to school in Kalamazoo MI. Much cheaper to fly to Chicago and train it in to MI! Loved that journey… did it several times a year for breaks, etc. And yes, it is a screaming b*tch to hang onto a large suitcase… hated that part, loved everything else! Have fun in Chicago!


59 Laura Ann August 11, 2010 at 6:31 pm

does the healthy living summit provide deep dish pizza? because if it doesn’t, you must go get some!


60 Dorry August 11, 2010 at 6:33 pm

Thanks for this Kath! So thorough. :) See you Friday!


61 Camille August 11, 2010 at 6:34 pm

Wow, looks like quite the adventure!
I have never been to Chicago, but my boyfriend is from about 30 minutes outside of the city, so we are looking forward to a trip soon! It looks very cool!


62 Kathryn August 11, 2010 at 6:40 pm

You are going to laugh. My 2-year-old was “reading” your blog with me when we came upon the picture of Matt waving goodbye at the airport. She smiled pointed at him and said, “Cute!” lol


63 Kath August 11, 2010 at 11:01 pm

Haha -cute!!


64 Anne @ the doctor takes a wife August 11, 2010 at 6:57 pm

So super jealous — I love Chicago!! Hope I can make HLS next year. Have a blast!!


65 Hannah August 11, 2010 at 7:33 pm

Haha, that bathroom is probably bigger than my bedroom! Glad you flight went okay – can’t wait to hear about your week/end!


66 [email protected]:// August 11, 2010 at 7:38 pm

Enjoy your duties at the healthy living summit. Have a great time in the windy city.


67 Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef August 11, 2010 at 7:42 pm

i hate having to say goodbye to my husband :( so sad! but at least you’ll be having a ton of fun with friends now!


68 Stacia W. August 11, 2010 at 7:48 pm

Hey Kath. I read your blog every day so of course when I saw this recipe I thought of you.
I know you don’t really eat this sort of thing but thought perhaps you might make an exception one day if biscoff cookies were involved :)


69 Joanna @ August 11, 2010 at 7:52 pm

Whoa! I hope all your posts are this pic heavy so people like me who couldn’t go can feel like we are there :)


70 Mel August 11, 2010 at 8:00 pm

welcome to chicago!!! best food in the world!!


71 Hillary [Nutrition Nut on the Run] August 11, 2010 at 8:03 pm

Thanks for the little photo tour, but I’m still a tad confused… you took the train… is that different than than L!?!?


72 Rose-Anne August 11, 2010 at 8:32 pm

The train is the L, as in elevated train :-) Most of the tracks are above ground.


73 Rose-Anne August 11, 2010 at 8:31 pm

Oh, I’m so SAD that I couldn’t go to the Healthy Living Summit! I considered it, but I just can’t take the time off of work right now. Sigh!

And the fact that it’s in Chicago is making me feel nostalgic. I’m a Northwestern alum! And I spent many hours riding trains to and from the airports–good times.

One more thing: I’m SO PROUD of you for taking the train, Kath! That was so brave of you :-)


74 Paula August 11, 2010 at 8:41 pm

Good for you, taking the mass transit. I have never been to Chicago and would have to be honest and say I would have been intimidated.


75 Nicole, RD August 11, 2010 at 8:55 pm

Chicago..home sweet home! I lived right by Forest Park growing up! Have a blast!


76 hemp jogger August 11, 2010 at 9:10 pm

thank you for the flash flood of memories! i was in school in chi-town for 3.5 yrs, and every holiday/break/etc, i’d fly home or to visit others…anywho, i always battled w/ my huge suitcase and trying to get through the turnstyles in the el, and then hanging onto it so it didnt topple as the el bashed around, and then toting it around the streets, ha. but oh it is so convenient…i’m glad you took it instead of the cab. fun, and green :) tell the streets i said hi, and have fun! would love to be there…maybe next year.


77 Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin August 11, 2010 at 9:16 pm

Yikes! All that transportation looks confusing!

I can’t wait to read about the rest of your trip. 😀


78 Rachel August 11, 2010 at 9:19 pm

I will be departing RDU tomorrow. I feel like I’m inadvertantly following you but I swear I’m not lol. I will be arriving in NY though, so this is the last time paths will somewhat cross :) Have a great time in Chicago!


79 Stephanie c August 11, 2010 at 9:20 pm

Loved the photo tutorial!! Just checked Twitter and so happy you checked out Xoco! Hope you got the churros; can’t wait to check out the eats. :)


80 Terri August 11, 2010 at 9:27 pm

Your nails still look perfect, how have you NOT chipped them at all..Do Tell!!!


81 Kath August 11, 2010 at 11:01 pm

OMG, they are SO chipped!


82 Jessica August 11, 2010 at 10:00 pm

Oh fun! I stay at the Congress PLaza whenever I’m in Chicago because it is really inexpensive for SUCH a perfect location… I love Chicago, I like it WAY more than NYC…

Anyway, it was a pleasure meeting you at BlogHer on Friday – enjoy HLS! Wish I was there!


83 Wei-Wei August 11, 2010 at 10:27 pm

Wow, what a great directions post! I’m sad that I’m not there :(



84 Sara August 12, 2010 at 12:07 am

hey kath,
i’m a current chicago-an (although not in town for the summer) — really disappointed to see they are putting you up/having the conference at the Congress hotel — which has been in a nasty contract dispute with their workers (maybe you saw them picketing outside?) for almost 5 years. i’m sad to see that the healthy living summit apparently doesn’t care about ethnical treatment of the people who serve your food, make your bed, and do everything else that allows others to have a relaxing and enjoyable lifestyle. i’m definitely not saying this is your fault (i’m sure you didn’t know), but just wanted you to be aware…


85 Kath August 12, 2010 at 7:23 am

Of course we have no idea about this. And of course we care about ethical treatment! Why would you assume we would not!? I always strive for respectful treatment and will do so all weekend here myself.


86 jessica August 12, 2010 at 7:37 am

Then why does anyone work there/Why is the hotel still operating if they don’t treat their employees ethically?


87 Simply Life August 12, 2010 at 5:20 am

Oh I’m so excited to see your adventures in Chicago :)


88 Ashley August 12, 2010 at 8:46 am

What an awesome post. Loved the narrated directions. Definitely will be missing you this weekend.


89 Erica August 12, 2010 at 9:31 am

What great photo instructions 😀 ! How handy is that for others coming into Chicago unfamiliar?! That’s awesome.

And I had to grin at your mention of Van Buren street…we live in Van Buren! Missouri, that is 😉 Have a great time at HLS! I hope I can come sometime.


90 kate August 12, 2010 at 10:47 am

These directions are perfect + must needed! Cant wait to meet everyone tomorrow!


91 Sarah August 12, 2010 at 11:15 am

good job with the el kath:) i live in chicago and i get confused all the time haha


92 Amber K August 12, 2010 at 6:23 pm

Wow, I wish I could have packed food to take on the airplane the last time I traveled. But at least at our airport, they don’t let you take food in! There was NO healthy food, except for a banana I was able to buy and the nuts they gave me on the plane!


93 Ann August 12, 2010 at 7:06 pm

I love Kanzi’s comment on kale!!


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