LisaListed

The best things in life aren't things at all


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10 Reasons We Love Life in Chicago

We have been in Chicago for just over a year now and in some ways it seems like we just got here yesterday, but in other ways it feels like this has been our home for a while. The year has been a whirlwind adventure, but I wouldn’t trade this experience we’ve been able to share for the world. Although I now know way too much about Visa’s then I would ever care to know, there is nobody else in this world who I would rather be on this journey with then my amazing husband, John.

 

 

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I’ve tried to make a video about our one year in Chicago, but apparently I am not tech savvy enough to do so. Therefore, out of frustration, I have put together a list of why we love this gosh darn city so much!

Top Reasons We Love Life in Chicago:

1) Unhealthy Food! From popcorn, to deep dish pizza, to italian beef, to hot dogs… it’s paradise! Cue “paradise” song from Bachelor in Paradise…  When we first moved here, I ate like we were on vacation every weekend… turns out, my jeans weren’t stretching with the rest of me… Jerks. 

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2) The Weather! People LOVE to bitch about the weather, and although it is now May 2015 people are still complaining about the winter in 2014. One thing I’ve learnt about winters since living in Chicago… Canadians and Chicagoans measure snow very differently. We didn’t need our “real” winter gear this year at all and it is so wonderful living somewhere where there are actual Springs and Falls!

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3) The Beaches! Who knew a ginormous city could boast so many beautiful beaches off of one lake!? I love the beaches here.

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4) The architecture… also referred to as Chi-tecture. It’s something that photos don’t do justice, looking at all of the incredibly diverse buildings in an experience in itself.

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5) Free parking! Or if you have to pay for parking, it’s extremely cheap compared to what we are used to. Free parking seemed to only exist in Monopoly in Calgary…

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6) Flowers & Art! Throughout the city, there are beautiful flowers planted. And not just pansies… but hydrangeas, etc! Chicago prides itself on having amazing art sculptures, paintings, etc and you can’t help but be impressed by how beautiful the city is!

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7) Diversity: Until living in Chicago, I always lived where the people were predominantly white. I love learning about other cultures, influences, food, etc. If you choose ten random people on the street, there will be a handful of different races in that group. I love it. I was talking to my friend the other day and had mentioned Bridget Jones Diary, and he had no idea what I was talking about! That blew my mind! Things like that make me realize how ignorant I can be to just assume that my normal is somebody else’s normal. 

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8) Restaurants/Pubs/Breweries/Wineries/Cafes … need I go on?

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Cheers!

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9) Baseball games! I will never ever, ever, EVER get sick of watching a Cubs or Sox game. The whole city comes ALIVE and they are so proud of ALL of their sports teams.

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10) SO MUCH TO DO ALL THE TIME!!!! If somebody ever says that they are bored in Chicago, then the city itself is not the problem…. From Second City, to Blues music, to Jazz music, kayaking on the river, paddle boarding on the lake, to visiting the Bean, or going skating in front of the Bean in the winter! There are so many free events that happen all throughout the summer and even the winter. There are tons of museums, including the Art Institute that just won Best Museum In The World award, an incredible planetarium, the Field Museum, etc. There are AMAZING parks, the lake side goes on for miles, and miles, and miles, and it NEVER gets old. There are free fireworks over the lake every single Wednesday and Saturday night throughout the summer. There are parades, which can be really annoying when you live on the same street as the darn parade. And the shopping is absolutely ridiculous too.

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The city is just so alive and people who live here have such pride in living in Chicago. It’s amazing! There is a city of Chicago Flag, and you will see that bad boy almost anywhere you go.. from clothing, to bumper cars, to flailing in the wind, dog collars, etc…

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There is a huge sense of pride in living in such an amazing city, and there should be. We are proud to be part of the city as well.

I could go on and on about how amazing Chicago is and how much we love it, but I’ll never do the city the justice it deserves. It’s a city that needs to be experienced. So, my lovely, put Chicago on your bucket list if you’ve never been here before… the only thing you’ll regret is not coming to Chicago sooner!

Enjoy Life,
L


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Our Adventures Five Years In

Five years ago I met the man of my dreams. In fact, as time has passed, I realized that he has surpassed the man of my dreams on so many levels. Is it possible to feel as if we just met yesterday yet also feel like I’ve known this person my whole life?

When John and I met, we both felt all sorts of strong emotions that neither of us had ever felt before. After all this time, those strong emotions have gone away… but only to become fiercer, more intense and stronger than ever before!

When we first met, we were young. I was finishing up university and John was three weeks into his career. We happened to work for sister companies in the same building downtown and only three flours separated us. Since I was still finishing up school, I only worked part time but the days that I did work we would each leave our houses at the perfect time so that we could meet before work at our special spot and walk the few blocks together hand in hand. We would meet for lunch at least once a week and our coworkers would both make comments to us about how cute we were when they saw us together. We still meet each other for lunch once a week, even if that meant that a 12 block walk or a train ride just to see each other for twenty minutes and for that midday smooch. Since day one, we’ve never been able to get enough of each other and I’m so happy to say that we still can’t.

We have gone through so many life changes together and I can’t imagine what our life will look like when we get to a decade. Over the past five years, between the two of us there have been five moves, five jobs, three vehicles, two countries and a puppy! There have been ups and downs, positives and negatives but the one thing that has never wavered has been the love and respect for one another.

Although our looks and hair have changed a bit over the past five years, the way we feel about each other surely has not. We are celebrating this weekend by doing five things that we have never done before… today we kickstarted the “events” by going some place new for lunch.

Sticking with the “five” theme, here are five photos for each year that we’ve been together to highlight some of our favourite memories together:

2010:

Our First Road Trip

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Our First Calgary Stampede Together

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A fancy dinner and evening at the Calgary Tower celebrating our 6th month anniversary

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On “our bench” we discovered our on our first trip to the mountains together. This is where John eventually proposed. EEE!
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At Heritage Park in the fall time. Being our silly, sassy selves.

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2011:

Pre St. Patty’s Day Green Beer Chugging

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A helicopter ride in the mountains to celebrate one year together

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Christmas at my parents new home

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My University Graduation

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BBQ’inq and drinking beer in our backyard

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2012:

We had a stay-cation in Calgary and went to Calway park for the day (amusement park for kids)

 

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We “I do’d”

 

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We mini-honeymooned in the Mountains. This is canoeing on Lake Louise

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An autumn stroll in a park close to our home

 

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2013:

Watching the sunset together in Whitefish, Montana

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Enjoying our honeymoon in Punta Cana!

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Just hiking n’ stuff in the mountains

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ERNIE!!!

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A trip to Edmonton

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We ran stairs here ohhhh too many times to count. The view was always worth it at the top.

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Just a typical Saturday…

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Walking in the provincial park right next to what was supposed to be our Forever Home

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Celebrating Christmas in said Forever Home

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2014:

Hiking in Palm Springs and keeping an extra cautious eye out for snakes

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Leaving our Calgary life behind for our Chicago life

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Drinking beer at our favourite place

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One of many “selfies” of us on my favourite bridges in Chicago

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Deeeeeeeeeeep Dishhhhh

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We’ve been to 2 Cubs games and 2 Sox games… we liked the hot dogs equally

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What our summer Saturdays typically look like now

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2015  has already been an amazing start and we are SO excited to see what else we can get up to in the next five years! And fifteen years! And fifty years!

Thank you, Lovely, for taking the time to read and celebrate with us! Cheers to you!

I love you, Honey, and I wouldn’t want to go on this adventure with anyone but YOU!

Enjoy,
L


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Two Years of Love, Fun, Shenanigans and The Best Kinds of Insanity – Happy Anniversary, Love!

My husband and I are already celebrating our second wedding anniversary!! In many ways it feels as if we have been married for decades already (in a good way) and in other ways it feels as if our wedding was just last week! I remember how excited I was when I was able to sign my new last name or whenever somebody would call me “Mrs” … still to this day I get excited to see my new name.

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When I think back to what our life was like only two years ago and compare to what it is like now, I cannot believe that it has only been two years. In two years, John and I have sure done a lot… this is a little snapshot of our past two years:

– Married – YAY!
– Mini honeymoon in Banff (Rocky Mountains)
– Real honeymoon in Dominican Republic
– I changed jobs
– I got two of three of my professional designations
– John was always studying for his professional exams … every single morning, evening, weekend, even during Christmas and all the other holidays
– We went to Calgary Flames hockey games through work
– We were VIP for Cirque de Soleil through work
– We went to funerals
– We went to weddings
– We’ve been there for when our wonderful friends had babies
– We helped clean up the devastation from the massive Calgary flood
– We went to Whitefish, Montana
– We went to Palm Springs, California
– We went hiking and snowshoeing with friends in the mountains
– We went to Chicago to celebrate our first wedding anniversary
– We went to Dallas, Texas for John’s ceremony to officially receive his professional designation
– We got stuck in Dallas for 4 extra days due to a blizzard that only happens once every decade
– We each travelled through Canada and the US for our jobs
– We dealt with health issues
– We sold our perfect townhouse
– We bought our forever home
– We got a puppy
– John received an amazing opportunity to move to Chicago
– We sold our forever home
– We moved to another country
– And moving to Chicago has been a whole other adventure all to it’s self.. and we love every single second of it!

We’ve done so much together already and I cannot wait to see what the next two years has in store for us… and the next twenty years and so forth! There isn’t anybody else in this crazy life who I would want to experience this with other than my sweetheart himself. He is the most encouraging, supportive, loving, kind, caring, loyal and thoughtful man and I have to pinch myself that I am so lucky to call him my husband.

Here are a few photos of our crazy life these past two years for you to peruse:


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And here is our most recent photo together, absolutely loving life in Chicago:

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Although our “5 year plan” hasn’t worked out so far (the plan is out the garbage now after detouring so far from it in only two years), we have learnt that the best things in life don’t necessarily need a plan. We’ve learnt to roll with the punches, to be open minded, to explore new opportunities. We are both firm believers that things happen for a reason and things always turn out the way that they are supposed to… regardless of what your “plan” is. Life is funner when you stop trying to predict the future and just live in the moment… so wish that, my lovely, I am off to go Cheers my incredible husband and share a bottle of Bubbly  to celebrate our amazing two years and to cheers for many more memories ahead of us that we have yet to make!

Happy Anniversary, Baby, there’s nobody else in this world who I would want by my side!
I love you xo

Enjoy Life,
L


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A Tribute To My Dad – Happy 60th!

My Dad turns 60 today!!! SIXTY!!! If I know my Dad at all, he won’t want to make his birthday a big deal whatsoever… If my Mom or any of his friends suggest doing anything to celebrate he will say that “it’s just another day” or something to the tune of that. But c’mon, the guy is turning 60 and in honour of his 60th birthday I want to share with the world how lucky a daughter I am to have such an incredible Dad.

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I would go as far to say that I have never and will likely never come across anybody who has a stronger work ethic than my dear, ol’ Dad. Once he starts something, there is absolutely nothing that will get in his way from completely what he has started. It doesn’t matter how impossible a task, my Dad will figure it out once he gets his mind set. And not only will he figure it out… it will be done with the perfection that only a perfectionist can truly appreciate.  He had a career that had an incredibly stressful, gruesome and negative environment. He was on call for every 24 hours that there are in a day, for all of the 365 days in the year. Even if he was on holidays or on vacation. Growing up, I never understood the magnitude of his every day life. As an adult, I am able to appreciate the nature of his career in a way that I was never able to do as a child or teenager. Hearing his stories are both fascinating and terrifying, yet they always make me appreciate him that much more. My husband, John, and I now love to hear about what his work life used to be like and it’s pretty tough to complain about the corporate world after hearing some of his stories. Because of the nature of his career, I cannot post or share any photos of my Dad.

My Dad taught me how to be independent. He always instilled in me to get good grades in school, not to please my parents or my teachers, but for myself. I never really “got it” until I started university, but better late than never right? My sweet Dad was so proud of me for my first ‘A+’ on my first midterm in university that he went to the drug store on his own, bought me a funny “I’m proud of you for succeeding” card, wrote in it himself and mailed it to me 800 kms away. That card meant the world to me and I still have it today.

My Dad has always been extremely supportive and encouraging. My sister and I have played on a variety of sports team since we were probably 3 or 4 and my Dad was always there on the sidelines cheering us on. He coached us in baseball. He watched all our gymnastic routines and he watched my sister and I perform our self choreographed routines on the trampoline. He drove thousands and thousands and thousands of kilometres to always come to our out of town games, tournaments, provincials, etc. Even if it meant coming straight from a long day of work in his work clothes, my Dad was always there. Never once did he ever complain about the cost (time and/or money) to be there to support his girls. And in many more ways than one, he has always been our biggest supporter from the sidelines.

No matter how crappy of a day he had, my Dad would always play with my sister and I. There was no way that he was going to have prissy girls as daughters. He would play outside with us, take us to the park, he would play Super Nintendo and Playstation with us. He would buy us remote control cars and play with them with us for hours upon hours in the middle of our cup-de-sac. In the winter time, he bought us track remote control racing cars with upside down loops and everything. He would take us tobogganing, and when we were old enough he bought us a G.T., where he would double up on the G.T. with us. He taught us how to ski and would go  skiing with me up until I was an adult. As a kid, I was a daredevil and would go straight down hill on my skis as fast as I could. My poor Mom would almost have a heart attack every time we went skiing and she would always tell me that I needed to make turns or that I needed to slow down. My Dad saw potential in me and signed me up as a ski racer.

He would play catch with us in the living room with velcro mitts and fuzzy balls (he also bought us super cool hippopotamus head gloves to play catch with.) He would play football with us on the beach. He would let us ride our big, black dog as a horse in the backyard when we were really little. He would spends hours in the backyard with my sister and I teaching us sports skills. He introduced me to badminton by playing as a family in our backyard when I was 13 years old… because of that I later when on to win gold at provincials playing badminton. He would take us on family bike rides that wouldn’t just be a tootle around the block, but kilometres and kilometres in the mountains in Jasper (Canadian Rockies).

One of the first clear memories that I have is the day that my Dad took my training wheels off. We celebrated by going on a family bike ride on a path through Medicine Hat. My sister and I were in front of my parents and after we had just pedalled up to the top of a huge hill, I couldn’t wait to reward myself by pedalling as fast as I could straight back down the other side of that hill. I was a daredevil, remember? I pedalled as hard as I could down the hill… before I knew it, I had lost total control of my bike and I flew head first over my handlebars and landed chin first on the tiny, red rock pathway. I have never, ever forgotten how fast my Dad got to my side in that moment and even as a four year old I could see the fear, worry and concern in his eyes. He scooped me right up, ran to the closest street there was, flagged down a police car and rode with me to the closest hospital. After I was healed, we went on another family bike ride (on a flat path mind you) because there was never even an option of not getting back onto my bike. And for that, I love him. I still have a scar on my chin to this day that I’ve always been proud of.

We were never rich growing up, but we always went on a family vacation every summer. That was something our family valued a lot and still do to this day. We would go camping a lot… real true camping, outhouses and all. We went to Alaska and the Yukon one summer. We went to Penticton some summers. We went to Jasper quite often. It didn’t matter where we went, whether we were staying at a nicer hotel in Jasper or if we were all staying in our tent trailer, as long as we were together that’s all that would matter.

My Dad hasn’t agreed with every single decision that I have ever made, but he has always been there for me when I needed him. Even if he knew that I was making an unwise decision and I wouldn’t listen to him, he would never give me the “I told you so” talk. I’ve always been one who needs to learn things themselves and he would respect that… I have an inkling he was the same way. I have always had a special bond with my Dad, he’s always just understood me. I’ve had some of my best talks with my Dad during car rides, but he never forces or pushes me to talk about anything that I don’t want to. Our talks happen organically. During those talks, he has offered me invaluable, life changing advice that I am so very appreciative of. He has always had my best interest at heart and I’ve always known that all he’s ever wanted was the best for his family.

I could go on and on about how great my Dad is. I could tell you how funny, witty, generous, stubborn, smart, etc he is, but those who know him already know that. My Dad is a one of kind, stand up guy and I am so proud to be his daughter. I look up to my Dad in so many ways with the utmost respect and admiration.

One of the greatest lessons he has ever taught me is that labels don’t matter. He taught me to be just as kind to the janitor as you would be to the CEO. He taught me to be a good person and that materialistic crap does not matter. It doesn’t matter how much stuff you have, what your last name is, what your job title is, where you came from, what kind of car you drive, what kind of house you live in… all that matters is that you are a good person.

My Dad was not a wealthy man by normal standards, but he taught us that the quality of life that you live does not depend on how much money you have in your bank account. My Dad taught me how to have fun. How to live a rich life and to share it with those you love. He taught me that you don’t need bucket loads of money to enjoy life, that Christmas isn’t about the presents under the Christmas tree. In many ways, my Dad is an extremely wealthy man and he gave me the kind of childhood that money simply cannot buy.

Thank you for everything… you know how much I love you.

Happy Birthday, Pops xo

Enjoy Life,
L


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TALL, DARK & HANDSOME (in a woman’s way) – Part 2

Making new friends in not only a new city, but a new country is TOUGH! I wrote about my failed attempts at making new friends here, which includes trying to make friends through meetup.com, asking strangers at the dog park for the phone number, etc.

I am happy to report that three months in we have fabulous new friends who we already have plans to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving, US Thanksgiving and Christmas with this year. Bottles of wine made this decision and for that we are grateful.

They have two of the sweetest and cutest kids ever. An 8 (and a half) year old daughter and a 7 (and a quarter) son. The son has already told John what a great father he is going to be (my heart melted in a big, fat pile of jelly when I heard him tell John this) and the daughter is the kind of daughter that you hope your kids turn out to be.

Now, for those you actually know me, I’ve never been much of a fan of babysitting. To be frank, there are kids out there who I just do not want to spend hours of time with knowing that I am responsible for them. Your hooligan puts his hand in the garborator while I’m in the bathroom, and your other hooligan kid turns the switch on and somehow it’s my fault that you didn’t teach your kids not to do this?! No thank YOU! My sister was always the babysitter in our family and although I wouldn’t outright say that I don’t like children, but I might whisper it…. I kid, I kid (pun super intended) I like kids, just not all of them… especially the kid who is throwing his spaghetti onto my head at a restaurant.

And yes, I know that you are drinking your coffee while you are reading this, and I know that you are rolling your eyes at this thinking to yourself “Just wait until you have kids” but that is precisely why I am waiting, thank you very much. Are we finished with the eye rolling now?

Back to the story, now much to my own surprise, I OFFERED to babysit these two little cutie patooties… MORE THAN ONCE! I like them and I would be okay with spending hours upon hours with them. Now, I haven’t been taken up on this offer yet and I probably won’t after their dear Mom reads this, but that’s beside the point.

The other night as I was chopping and dicing onions, my phone lit up with a new text message from my new Christmas sharing friend. I was so excited that I unlocked my phone with my slimy onion hands and much to my delight, this is what her message said:

“The kids are making baby John and Lisas and they are babysitting them. IT IS HILARIOUS!”

She also attached this photo:

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Now tell me, does it get any cuter than that?! Tell me you wouldn’t want to spend two Thanksgivings and a Christmas with this family too!?

Enjoy Life,
L


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I Like Big (M)UTTS And I Cannot LIE

Dear Blogging World,

I mention our beloved pup, Ernie, in many of my posts… I decided that today is the day that you finally get to meet him!

Blogging World, meet Ernie!

Enjoy Life
L

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Ernie’s first day at home xo