Thursday, June 23, 2016

Viva las summer

First off, thank you to everyone for your support in my accountability post. I really do appreciate all of your understanding and words of wisdom! Now, back to the more jovial content. =)

Summer in Chicago is wonderful with the endless array of activities and events. I wish I could take a sabbatical between Memorial Day and Labor Day every year! This week, I attended three fun events and wanted to share more about them.

A Red Line Runs Through It
Earlier, I'd mentioned here that Adam and I went to Second City for a comedy show last Sunday night. This is what we saw:
Description: "A Red Line Runs Through It rides the rails of Chicago in order to answer life’s tough questions." Very intriguing!

I thought the script would focus on Chicago life, using public transit as the base. While there were indeed some scenes aboard the train, the show was an extremely diverse and hilarious collection of skits about life in general. Scenes were both scripted and improvised.
The show was so cleverly designed, so fast, so energetic, so progressive. The acts were loaded with hysterical jokes and staggering references to local Chicago life that literally slammed home. This included nailing an enormous host of current affairs and politics, including an uproarious jingle about Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The Mayor's picture was even part of the stage backdrop:
I was lucky to get this picture of the set when I did. Shortly afterwards,
the cast vandalized the picture in a way that I shouldn't repost!
I think Chicago locals would all have an especially strong and heartfelt appreciation for this show. I loved it!

Flavor Your Life
On Monday night, Adam and I went to Quartino for a Flavor Your Life master class on tasting and blending extra virgin olive oil. The class was taught by Giovanni Zucchi, who is an olive oil producer and expert from Italy.
Giovanni Zucchi sharing his olive oil wisdom, adorned by his team.
I learned a lot about the production and intricacies of olive oil. Different regions of the Mediterranean produce different varieties, which can be specially blended to suit the tastes of various consumers. We were taught how to properly smell and taste olive oil, and encouraged to evaluate how it impacted our senses.

We each received four types of olive oil to test. Afterwards, we each got to create a personalized olive oil blend based on our individual preferences. We were told the blending process takes a lot of time, trial, and effort; and indeed it did!
Left: Our EVOO testing/blending tools
Middle: Adam immersed in his blending process
Right: My own custom-blended bottle of extra virgin olive oil!
The four types of olive oil came from Greece, Spain, and two different regions in Italy. In this instance, the Spanish olive oil was my favorite for its comparative balance of freshness and sweetness.

After class, the attendees enjoyed a wonderful dinner at Quartino:
Based on what I learned, olive oil reminds me a lot of wine since both have so many subtleties. My perspective on olive oil has now changed a lot.

All in all, it was a very educational night filled with delicious eats!

Rise and Shine
Yesterday morning, I attended an early morning workout event called Rise and Shine, which was hosted by LunaBar and A Sweat Life.

The festivities took place on the roof of the Wit Hotel. We were treated to beautiful city views:
The workout was led by Nike master trainer Betina Gozo, who is an amazingly strong and inspirational woman. Here is the class in action:
Betina rocking us out
Afterwards, we received some post-workout refreshments, and got to hang out and chat with our fellow attendees.

Here's a snapshot of Maggie, Erica, and me, along with some shots of me attempting to do a couple of yoga-themed shots (as inspired by Wendy):
Left: Fearless Maggie, Original Erica, and Bold me. =)
Upper right: "Daring" dancer's pose
Bottom right: "Fearless" tree pose
The workout was a great way to start off the morning!

In conclusion...
Linking up with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud Thursdays.


  1. All that food looks great. I haven't done much besides painting this summer, but my friends and I go to that studio all the time.

    1. Ooooh - painting sounds so fun! That's a great idea for another activity that I should try while the summer is still upon us. =)

  2. Kudos to you for getting out and making the most of this fleeting season! Such fun events. I love Second City and need to go again soon. Spanish olive oil is all I buy lately. So tasty!

    1. Thanks Marcia - and kudos to you, as well! I noticed we both wrote posts today with odes to the joys of summertime. Great minds think alike. =) I didn't know Spain was a big producer of olive oil until this week. It'll be to experiment with different types!

  3. Thank you. =) Is there an inside story behind the word "jovial" for you?

  4. The event at Quartino seems so cool! When I was in college, the downtown area near campus had an olive oil store, and I didn't understand the idea at all - I've always figured olive oil is olive oil is olive oil, and that's that. Clearly there's a lot more to it than I realized, and I imagine an event like that would be quite helpful in teaching you the differences!

    Bethany @ Accidental Intentions

    1. Thanks Bethany! Wow - how cool that you had an olive oil store near campus! When I was in college, there was slim pickings in the areas of culinary-focused stores. Yes, I also figured olive oil was olive oil was olive oil, but the aficionados out there have a lot of great knowledge to share. It is a whole other world!!!

  5. No matter what I see at Second City I leave happy. And I'm with you - can I please just have the summer off to enjoy Chicago? Why didn't I become a teacher?!

    1. Completely agree - Second City always hits it out of the ballpark, no matter what! I've thought a lot about how nice it is for teachers to have the summer off, too. That by itself seems like it would be worth dealing with other folks' kids all day long, LOL.

  6. You always seem to be doing so many fun activities around the city! Looks like so much fun!

    1. Thanks so much, Kayla! Can't wait for you to visit next month! =)

  7. Haha! I love any and all yoga themed shots. Yours look great! I would have loved to go to that class. What an amazing setting!

    I'm in Door county this weekend and one never ending source of amusement to my sons and me are the olive oil bars up here. I never knew that tasting olive oil was a thing. But the funny thing about the ones here is that they have olive oil, hot dogs, and fudge. Guess they need to make all the customers happy, right? Unless the hot dogs and fudge are made with olive oil? These are the things we discuss on the 5 hour ride...

    1. Thanks Wendy! Your yoga shots are the best. Truly inspirational. It's my goal to be able to do some of the headstands and other awesome poses you post on a regular basis!

      Ooooh, Door County! What a wonderful place to be over the weekend, I hope you had a terrific trip! I never knew they had olive oil bars up there, either. Olive oil, hot dogs, and fudge is quite an interesting combo! Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if the hot dogs and fudge are made with olive oil. Just as long as the olive oil isn't made with hot dogs and fudge... LOL!

  8. LOL at the Santa jovial connection, and I agree with you. I think I first learned the word "jovial" through some book I read when I was in grade school, and it stuck with me ever since. Funny how the memories work, right?

    Ooooh, I've never heard of the word halcyon - thanks for giving me my word of the day. Bummer that it reminds you of your root canal, though!!! What are the odds, right?