Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Adam: Row 8 or 16.

In Travel on 06/28/2012 at 5:01 pm

I’ve known Adam for a couple of years. I think he’s the only attorney I know who actually litigates. Every time I see him, I tell him, “You can’t handle the truth!” and I slam whatever I have down on the ground. (Just kidding.)

Adam used to travel between Chicago and Kansas City on, like, a weekly basis for work. He always flew Southwest and realized that if he sat in row 8 or row 16, he’d be first in line to get his drink.

“I’d get on the plane and see if there were any open seats in row 8. If not . . . I cruise all the way to row 16.”

I confirmed this theory with a Southwest flight attendant and learned that eastbound planes tend to be row 9 and 17.

Good tip if you’re feeling particularly thirsty on your day of travel, right?

Kate: Support Your Knees.

In Health, Sports, Super Helpful Info, Travel on 06/25/2012 at 9:01 am

Kate and I met via Twitter; she was one of Foiled Cupcakes‘ first customers. She (along with many, many other inspiring women) also became my running muse, encouraging me to run my first 5k (she’s the one with the white visor). Since then, I’ve worked my way up to thinking I might be able to actually run a half marathon, all with Kate’s support. (I’m registered for the Allstate 13.1 series in East Boston this September. Yikes.)

A couple of years ago, I told Kate that my knees were starting to crunch. Blah. Her reply:

Support your knees … I use KT Tape, but there are lots of other braces that could make a big difference.”

She even went so far as to bring me a handful of KT Tape strips the next time we were going to the same event, and told me which sites to check out so I could figure out how to put them on properly.

Oh. So running doesn’t have to be a miserable, knee-grinding, painful activity. Really?

I invested in two hardcore patellar knee straps and compression sleeves for shin splints when I feel the need. It’s ridiculous, but this <$50 investment has changed my entire outlook on running.

Thanks, Kate, for making me realize I don’t have to be a whining running martyr and I can actually just enjoy it. You’ve inspired me to explore new cities on foot (the best way to discover a new place) AND the confidence to click “register” for a 13.1 mile run. You rock my world.

Ryan: Certify Your Dog.

In Music, Parenting, Super Helpful Info, Travel on 10/18/2011 at 12:54 am

I was one of the last people to board a Southwest MDW -> LGA flight, so I took the first middle seat I saw, which happened to be next to Ryan, a Broadway performer and theater geek (my very favorite type of geek).

For the first half of the flight, we had a ridiculous conversation about Bernstein vs. Sondheim, Rent vs. Les Mis, how we both don’t really get Glee. It was probably the most animated exchange of words I’ve ever had on an airplane.

Out of nowhere, Ryan reached down to give Phoebe (his miniature schnauzer that had been his “personal item” stowed underneath the seat in front of him) a little love. And I looked at him and said, “She’s been here the whole time?!” (Duh, Mari.)

“Yeah, I need her for emotional support. She’s my service animal, and she flies free. I had to get her certified, but that certification had already paid for itself LONG ago.”

The place to go?, who the government considers legitimate enough to give pets their travel certification.

Who knew?

In the meantime, I stalked Ryan. Here’s a YouTube video of him on stage. Yes, the internet is creepy. 🙂

Jen: Lost & Found Taxi Cabs.

In Be memorable, Driving, Super Helpful Info, Take action, Travel on 04/27/2011 at 9:16 am

Jen and I met at some networking/party event in River North last year. When I met her, I was like, “OMG! You’re Jen Chicago! You look just like your Twitter avatar!” (Nerdy.)

Fast forward. I got a call Monday night from a friend who left his wallet in a cab. So, as any good friend would do, I googled “LOST WALLET TAXI CHICAGO.”

The first search result? This post by Jen Chicago: Lost & Found Taxi Cabs.

Pictures of every cab +
Phone numbers to each cab company’s lost and found departments =

I do not hesitate to acknowledge that without this blog post, I’m sure that my friend’s wallet would have been lost in cab-land for the rest of time.

Thankfully, we called two of the cab companies, and, 2 1/2 hours later, found the lost wallet. Hooray!

So, Jen, thank you for posting this and for making it so easy to track down every single cab company in Chicago. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s ever used that post as a resource.


John: European Travel.

In Experience, Strategy, Travel on 02/26/2010 at 11:35 am

I met John (@localcelebrity) via Sydney at dinner one night. He mentioned that he spent some time traveling through Europe, and since I’m actually a European at heart, we started talking about the places and things we’ve experienced.

John speaks German. He doesn’t really speak French. But when he went to France, he used this trick to get by with English:

John (to the person selling train tickets): “Sprechen-sie Deutsch?”
Train ticket person: “Non, non. English?”
John: “Oh, yes, I speak English. I’d like two train tickets to Amsterdam.”
Train ticket person: “What time would you like to depart?”

And just like that, he convinced a French person to voluntarily speak English. (Which rarely happens.)

He said this: “They’re obstinate about speaking English, until you present them with another language they’re even more uncomfortable speaking. Like German. And then they beg you to speak English.

I’m totally trying this the next time I go to Europe.

Derek: Chicago.

In Be memorable, Cooking, Dancing, Experience, Sports, Travel on 01/11/2010 at 1:42 am

I met Derek (@dshanahan) a few months ago over lunch, which turned into a four hour discussion of usability and technology under the el tracks. Which turned into a several-month love/hate relationship over who has better dance skills (Mari), a better mustache (Derek), a prettier Google calendar (Mari).

He’s on his way to Vancouver, BC to kick butt on his latest venture, Foodtree, and writing nostalgic Chicago stuff on his blog as a result:

There’s a toughness about this city…a confidence in the experience of being a Chicagoan that doesn’t exist anywhere else on earth.  This city stays sexy all winter.  It’s hard to see unless you train yourself to see through the challenge this time of year puts in front of us.  You look through it and you see smiles and music and art and a camaraderie among total strangers that’s only possible if you’ve walked through our streets and watched them transform themselves over and over and over again as seasons change and years roll by.  We watch our sports and politics with unwavering commitment, dedication, and skepticism.  We pride ourselves on hotdogs, pizza, and Italian beef.  We don’t apologize for that.”

I love this. Everyone knows winters suck here. But we get through it together. We survive it with the best combination of sports, culture and food in anticipation of the most celebrated summers in North America. Chicago is a city connected by deeply rooted relationships, in large part due to the seasons we get to experience together.

To apply this in any group setting, people bond when they go through challenging times together (and have some good food to go with). Brilliant.

If you agree with Derek, say “yeah.”

Mari: “Heck yeah.”

Good luck, Mr. DShan. I’ll miss you – and that’s not really even sarcastic. 🙂

Angie: Don’t pack a single pair of sweats.

In Clothes, Cooking, Health, Holidays, Human behavior, Music, Travel on 12/13/2009 at 8:02 pm

Angie was my junior-year-of-college roommate. From Blue Springs, MO, her claim to fame is that her brother is best friends with David Cook. Although she didn’t know how to boil water or make scrambled eggs (seriously), Angie actually gave me some actual, practical, memorable advice before I went home for winter break (which haunts me every holiday season):

Don’t pack a single pair of sweats. It’s winter. You’ll want to dress all cozy and comfy. DON’T. Because the second you don’t wear jeans or cords or something that holds you in is the second you’ll overeat. And then you won’t fit into your clothes when you get back to school.”

I’m sitting in sweats now and contemplating baking a BTS cake -> case in point.

Steph: We’re going to Tbilisi.

In Travel on 10/06/2009 at 11:44 pm

Stephanie and I were roommates for almost three years. She’s married to Paul, who’s a smarty pants Public Health Ph.D. over at Johns Hopkins. He gets to go to developing countries and help implement (or lobby to get funding to implement) health programs.


Today, I texted her: Going to get $5 shoes.

She texted back: So jealous. But we are just on our way to Chicago!

Me: Staying or layover?

Steph: Layover. Flying to Tbilisi tonight.

Me: Where the heck is that?

Steph: Georgia. The country. Miss International degree.

Me: Safe travels xoxo


If you knew that Tbilisi is in Georgia, raise your hand. {Yeah, I thought so. :)}