Windy City [Day 2]

Summer Road Trip 2014

June 20, 2014
Chicago, Illinois

Two things come to mind when I hear the word Chicago. Number 1 is deep dish pizza, and number 2 is the image of the Willis Tower. Lucky for me I was able to experience both during my second day in the windy city! Our first stop was the world famous Sky Deck!

The Sky Deck is on the 103rd story of the Willis Tower, and the entire floor had floor-to-ceiling windows, showcasing a spectacular 360-degree view of Chicago.

Heights aren’t a big fear of mine, but I must say, I did still feel my stomach drop just a teeny tiny bit the moment I walked out on the ledge.  It was truly a unique experience! The panoramic view of the Chicago skyline combined with the view of Lake Michigan was breathtaking enough, but experiencing it in a glass box 1,353 feet up? Exhilarating!

Contrary to what every one was doing, all I did was look down! It was as if I was trying to convince my brain that my body was indeed, in fact, standing on a glass ledge… 103 stories up… in Chicago’s highest skyscraper. No big deal.

Watch my short video diary below for a glimpse of my Sky Deck experience!

After an unforgettable experience at the Sky Deck, my family and I went around Downtown Chicago to sightsee even more!

There is something about the Windy City that reminded of the Big Apple. Perhaps it was their subway system or the skyscrapers, but being in Chicago was almost like being in New York City. Almost.

Chicago to me is like New York City, but minus the grit, minus the hustle. It’s like a friendlier, cleaner, less crowded version of New York City.

 After a long day playing tourist, what better way to satiate our hunger than devouring the best Chicago-style deep dish pizza at local Chicago establishment, Lou Malnati’s?

Sidenote: An Italian friend of mine does not consider the aforementioned dish “pizza,” but rather “bread and stew.”

I truly wish I had higher-quality photos of the pizza, but clearly, my excitement got the best of me.

At first it felt unnatural to eat pizza with a knife and fork. Personally, I like my pizza’s thin crust and foldable, but hey, I’m Chicago! Eat as the locals do, right? Man, Lou Malnati’s did not disappoint! The crust was substantial, thick enough to support the lake of cheese and tomato sauce and sausage on top, all of which complemented each other harmoniously.

Also, another notable food trip was to Lezza Spumoni, which has the BEST cannoli I’ve ever tasted!

What can I say? This girl’s gotta eat!

Love,
Anicka Nadine


Lou Malnati’s
Multiple locations throughout Chicago area
http://www.loumalnatis.com

Lezza Spumoni
4009 St. Charles Road
Bellwood, IL  60104
T: 708.547.5969
www.lezza.com

 

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Live Life Out Loud

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” – Anais Nin

There are two sides of me: the free-spirit risk taker and the obsessive control freak.

On one hand, the first Adrielle has grown a reputation for pulling spontaneous mischiefs with whoever she’s with. From illegally hiking up to the Hollywood sign to spontaneously getting a tattoo after a Sunday brunch along the Venice Boardwalk, she is a person who craves adventure, who jumps before she thinks, determined to have those horses run through her veins, no matter how momentarily they may stay.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, the other Adrielle always wants to be in the know. She’s the one who hates surprises, the one who can’t stand being in the dark because she’s terrified of what might happen once she’s left face-to-face with uncertainty and the unknown. The one who rarely lives in the present because she’s too caught up either dwelling in the past or daydreaming about the future. The one who creates timelines and checklists on how she’s going to live her so-called “life.” The one who over-analyzes every single detail and overthinks herself to exhaustion in order to protect herself from a potential ambush.

You see, there are two Adrielles, the fearless girl who lives and the cautious one who exists. And truth is, neither of them has it all together.

When I was younger, I thought I’d have everything going for me by the time I was the age I am now. But the deal with life is, it’s unpredictable, always changing, filled with unexpected drops and loops. And within my brief 23 years of being in this beautiful world, I realized that most people live life within their comfort zone and hardly go near the edge. Why? Because it’s when we walk closer to the edge that life gets frighteningly chaotic and downright overwhelming. Nothing is more terrifying than knowing how quickly everything can fall to crap.

And it is at this stage, when life becomes an uncontrollable whirlwind, that I start retreating, where I sprint back to my unscathed shell instead of pushing through the discomfort and pain. It is at this level where I manage to convince myself to believe that staying within the lines of my comfort zone will somehow grant me contentment. That having a body that has never been chipped or a heart that has never been broken will earn me the most satisfaction by the time I’m six feet under, nailed shut inside that coffin. That not having a scarred soul will somehow catapult me on top of the leader board once my final breath escapes my lungs.

What I didn’t realize is that on a long enough timeline, the survival rate does drop to zero. What I didn’t realize is that none of us will make it out here alive, so I might as well make the most of it, whether I’m in gutter or on top of the world. What I didn’t realize is that those nights where I cried myself sleep, where I felt most vulnerable and raw because of the blows that life throws at me are reason enough for a celebration because I didn’t allow the fear of getting burned and hurt override the fear of living, the fear of loving.

What I didn’t realize is that every shed tear is another battle scar. That every letdown is an opportunity to turn over a new leaf. That every mistake is a lesson learned. That every hurdle I overcame will only give me additional strength for the next one.

From this day forward, I promise to start embracing the mess, to welcome the chaos. It’s time to free myself from the obsession of always wanting control, to let go, to let the ball cross over to the other side of the court. It’s time to ride the wave, to go with the flow, to let the chips fall where they may and live life the way it was meant to be: out loud.

Love,
Anicka Nadine