It’s time for another travel adventure – and you’ll never guess where!

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I’m about to head out on a two week trip, and I think the location will surprise you! Believe it or not, it was a tough decision to choose a destination; there are countless choices, and my list of places I want to visit grows and grows. Ultimately, we decided that our goal was to select a trip that made the most of having two full weeks off in a row, which is a rare treat. We also wanted to do something different. Some of the contenders were Croatia and Bali, both of which I’d still love to visit, but our final choice ended up being a last-minute, random idea which we got really excited about. So, where am I going? And who am I traveling with?

Lady

 

Well, I’m not going to tell you quite yet! However, you can find out tomorrow on my newly launched Facebook Page for Kavi360!

Based on reader feedback, I’ve decided to experiment with a Facebook page. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while (if you’ll note, the page posts go back for two years!), and the time seems right.

Since I won’t be able to blog daily on this trip, the Facebook page will be a great way for me to share photos and updates with you in real-time. And bonus, I’ll get to interact more and hear any suggestions you may have for me! So please “like” my Facebook page and join me on this adventure!

LIKE!

Any guesses? As you can see in the photo above, sneakers and my trusty Kelty backpack will play a very important role on this trip. We will be flying as well, although not on US Air this time!

 

On a more serious note…

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This morning, an old friend from high school posted the sentiment below, and it really resonated with me. Anyone else feel this way?

There is so much to feel about right now. Gaza. Syria. Iraq. Robin Williams. Michael Brown. The war against women. The war against black men. I can’t listen to the news or read my facebook feed without tears coming to my eyes… I feel so much all the time.”

Feeling so much all the time seems to sum it up pretty well. I’ve been feeling a lot lately, which can sometimes be a dangerous thing. Perhaps it’s the scientist in me, but I’m the kind of person that’s drawn to analysis and logic, research and discourse. But on the flip side, I also tend to be quite empathetic, and well, soft. Which, for some reason, has made the last few weeks of news harder to handle than usual. Personally, it’s been a rough couple of days with an ailing family member and the death of a close friend’s father. Still, there are many bad things that happen in the world (and our own backyards) all of the time, so it’s strange when these types of feelings hit you at one particular time.

It’s also a weird position to be in when you’re generally a happy and positive person. For one thing, people grow to expect it from you all the time, but also, there is a guilt for doing and sharing fun things when so many people aren’t in that place. How do we strike the balance between being grateful and joyous, while being fully aware of what’s going on in the world around us?

Clang, clang, clang went the trolley (party!)

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Many of my Chicago friends have summer birthdays, which make for fun birthday parties. My friend Evelyn just celebrated hers with a Trolley Party! If you’re not from the Midwest, you may have never heard of this concept before – at least I hadn’t. But everyone assured me it would be a blast, and it certainly lived up to the hype!

We all convened at Ev & Chris’ place where our chariot awaited us. The trolley then chauffeured us around beautiful downtown Chicago for three hours, while we celebrated onboard!

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Our resident party planner, Maria, organized a fun photo challenge, which really livened things up. Some of the photo challenge terms were “sword fight,” “pyramid,” “shots with the birthday girl,” and “ride the trolley.” Can you guess which one is which?

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With these gems, it should be no surprise that our team won!

I was in charge of the playlist. Obvi! In honor of Ev and songs from our youth, a compilation of 80’s and 90’s hits. Have you ever seen a trolley full of adults singing and dancing their hearts out? I can only imagine it was as awesome as we thought it was!

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Like every fun time, it all flew by way too fast and we ended our three-hour-tour at Jake Melnick’s to close out the night and recap some of the evening’s shenanigans.

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Happy Birthday Evelyn!

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Honey Butter Fried Chicken

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Happy Monday, y’all! There are many things I love about my job, but the commute is not one of them. Thankfully, I have a bunch of great train buddies to pass the time with, and we’ve recently started planning after-work outings. Hence, the formation of the Metra Supper Club!

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Every month, one of us picks a location and plans dinner and drinks at a fun new spot. Anh had July, and her choice was Honey Butter Fried Chicken in the Avondale/ Roscoe Village area. I’ve heard so many people talk about this place that I was glad I had a chance to check it out. Also? Fried Chicken!

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Me and Anh

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Laura, Regina, and Keith

So how was it? Well, the fried chicken was indeed spectacular (very crispy, juicy, and fresh). Although tiny, the corn muffins were good; in reality they primarily served as a vehicle for the namesake honey butter (so good that I don’t have words to describe!).

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The negatives for me were the sides, which was a little disappointing (because I love sides! Who doesn’t?). I tried the pimiento mac and cheese, as well as the pomegranate kale slaw made with yogurt. The mac and cheese was so sharp that I could only eat a few bites, and while the slaw was refreshing and a good compliment to the chicken, it seemed like it was missing something to balance the tartness. Similarly, my friends weren’t too impressed with their sides, including the sweet potato salad (served cold), collard greens, and mashed potatoes. The one exception was the corn salad, which everyone liked. In any case, go for their signature dish, and skip the sides! Of note, HBFC uses all locally sourced ingredients, and uses organic and natural products. That’s something I’m very cognizant of, and I don’t mind paying extra for. Additionally, HBFC is staffed with the friendliest staff I’ve ever come across! While you order at a counter, the staff brings everything out to you, and goes above and beyond. Pleasant surprise!

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Also, the backyard patio is awesome! Lots of tables with umbrellas, in a nice garden are with plenty of twinkling lights. Seemed like a fun place to host a party. A+ for ambience!

August’s supper club is being planned by Laura, and then I’ve got September. Any unique recommendations for the Chicago area?

Jay Pharoah at Zanies

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Photo via NBC

I love comedy shows; over the years I’ve seen Russell Peters, Dane Cook, and Aziz Ansari twice each, in addition to some lesser known comedians in New York. I also grew up watching Saturday Night Live. So when my friends Jane and Bernard invited me to see Jay Pharoah at Zanies last week, it was an easy decision!

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This was my first time at Zanies, and we ended up arriving a little later than planned (a few extra drinks at dinner, oops), but we somehow scored the best seats in the house – a corner booth in the back, which was slightly elevated and had a clear view of the stage. See, the moral of the story is that a tequila flight with friends is always a good idea!

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Yes, we are wearing sweaters and scarves IN JULY. Chicago is hilarious like that.

We were wondering how Jay’s onscreen performance (impressions, rapping) would translate to a live show. I was pleasantly surprised; it was hilarious! From the minute he started, he engaged the audience which always makes for a fun show. He then launched into a series of stories about his life, peppered with the impressions that we all love. Of course there were the obvious ones like President Obama and Jay Z. But the best were the unexpected ones, including rappers Drake, Katt Williams, and Lil Wayne (by the time he got to Weezy, we were all dying from laughter!), and comedians (Chris Rock, Eddie Murphy, and Dave Chapelle). It’s pretty clear he’s a great impressionist! He even spit some rhymes and sang a little bit of “What Does My Girl Say” from the infamous SNL skit he did with Kerry Washington. Hard to believe this talented performer is just 26 years old! Overall, it was a great show, and we laughed the entire time. It really made me want to check out more of Chicago’s famous comedy scene!

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Jay leaving the building. And Bernard grinning because he just got to shake Jay’s hand!