Sunday, March 24, 2013

Where Did March GO?!?!

My oh MY! I just noticed that my last post was from the beginning of FEBRUARY! While I realize that my tweet on Katie Couric's show was a slightly life-altering, monumental occasion, it was NOT meant to be the end-all, be-all of my blog!

Given how dreary are these late winter months in Chicago (oh, the woes), I wasn't really expecting all that much for the month of March. My only goal for the month was to consume a Shamrock Shake. (Random, I know. However, I've never had a sip of one before, and my friend and I made it our goal for this month to consume at least one Shamrock Shake. Dream big and all that.)

Ohhh... how eventful the month of March turned out to be instead. I've divided this post into two main sections: Denver and St. Patrick's Day (in Chicago), in case it helps you navigate a bit more easily. You are welcome in advance.

It all started with my friend Neha randomly calling me one day asking if I wanted to do an impromptu trip to Denver. While the intent was NOT to crash her husband's guys' weekend in Denver... well, that's what ended up happening, let's be honest here. Neha had never been to Denver and had always wanted to go. I had been to Denver a few years ago and LOVED IT (understatement) so of course, was ready and willing to venture back.

I was actually wondering how this was going to turn out, but it ended up basically being a Cincinnati "reunion" in Denver. Reunion is in HEAVY quotes because it was my first (well, okay, second) time meeting some of these people and some others hadn't met each other at all... but it all worked out so beautifully. I mean, what else can you expect from a bunch of Cincinnati-ans?

I wish I could draw like a little family / friend tree of the random mix of Cincinnati-ans that descended upon Denver for one delightfully chill weekend, but since I can't... I will just list the characters involved (and some of my personal sentiments developed along the way... haha - get ready).

1) Neha - Neha is one of my FAVORITE people in Chicago. You have likely seen her name sprinkled throughout my blog. Anyway, we are kind of attached at the hip. Which explains our Denver shenanigans.

2) Eashwar - Neha's husband. Also awesome (especially when it comes to playing Celebrity). Fun fact about Eashwar - he is joining Neha and I for the BEYONCE CONCERT IN CHICAGO IN JULY!!!!!! HOLLLAAAAA!!!!! (Eashwar and Neha are out of the country currently so I have no concerns about him killing me for sharing that information with the general public. Yet.)

3) Shekar - okay, Shekar's one of those people that "everyone knows". He is basically Eashwar's brother and I have to say - the bromance between the two of them is pretty cute (the hugging and kissing is only minimally disturbing). I'd heard of this Shekar character intermittently over the years but had only briefly met him once at Neha and Eashwar's wedding in May. Anyway, we finally got to totally bond in Denver and well, my only regret is that I didn't get this guy's autograph. You will likely see him in Congress / the Senate at some point. Just a friendly FYI.

4) Kiran - another one of Eashwar and Shekar's good friends who currently resides in the ATL. While Kiran isn't exactly from Cincinnati, he IS from Columbus which is nearly as good (OH-IO!!). Yet another character of that whole bromance thing...

5) Rayna!!!! - okay, Rayna totally gets a few exclamations because she is one of my favorite people from high school who currently lives in Denver! It was SUCH a lovely little surprise to be able to spend some quality time with her this weekend - it had been a few YEARS and, well, we had a LOT to catch up on!

6) Dan - Rayna's boyfriend who I met for the first time this weekend! He is a winner... I don't mean to stereotype people from Colorado but to me, well, he just EMBLEMIZED what I would picture a "Denver person" to be like... so CHILL and so FUN!

Sadly, I didn't take a ton of pictures of the weekend. It was kind of a whirlwind trip since we were just there for the weekend but overall, it was just a great time with some great people from only one of the best cities in the U.S. - Cincinnati.

Neha and me - hip attachment in progress...

Cincinnati love! I think Rayna and Shekar (center two) knew each other in high school? I think.

(L to R): Future OH State Senator, Future Katie Couric/Oprah and Future [Insert Firm Name] Partner- the Nati produces some pretty awesome folks, let's be honest here

Rayna and me - read: URSULINE / CINCINNATI LOVE!!

Just last weekend, I had a few friends from my days in San Francisco descend upon Chicago to experience what can only be St. Patrick's Day in Chicago. What can I say? Chicago just does St. Patrick's Day RIGHT. Everyone is just so HAPPY and the city is so FESTIVE - it's the one day of the year that I don't really mind a bunch of overtly drunk people traipsing about the city streets.

Unfortunately, I caught a bug on Thursday night so was under the weather for most of the weekend. But I was DETERMINED to see Cara (who flew in from San Francisco) and Sonali (who drove in from Michigan) as MUCH as POSSIBLE.

Friday started off with a late dinner at Mercadito, only one of the best dining spots Chicago has to offer (if I do say so myself). It's trendy, yet DELICIOUS. I just couldn't believe the two-ish hour wait we had to endure on a Friday night of crappy weather! At least Mercadito had some pretty sweet drinks to offer to keep us happy.

Saturday was filled with all things St. Patrick's Day. I met up with Cara, Sonali and Sri downtown and we headed straight to the Chicago River to see it in all its dyed green glory.

We clearly couldn't get enough...

After that super touristy activity, we moved on... to a super touristy bar - Mother Hubbard's! For what else? Some green beer of course. Thank goodness Cara had come prepared with some green straws for us to sip our green beer in super classy form... God bless her.

After Mother Hubbard's, we ended up going to a house party and then out to Wicker Park for a bit. I was seriously struggling by that point (with exhaustion and stuffiness) so I ended up calling it quits at like 9:30 on Saturday. But hey, I tried.

After 12 hours of sleep on Saturday, I ended up waking up to the sun on Sunday... thank GOD! It's been SO LONG since I've seen sunshine and it's amazing what it can do for one's mental state. I ended up meeting up with Cara, Sonali and crew for one last lunch at Pequod's Pizza (YUM!) before saying some heart-wrenching goodbyes (haha - a little dramatic flair never hurt anything, right?)

I swear, I can't believe how quickly these weekends have FLOWN by. But all in all, I have to say - what a delightful month it's been.

Ironically though, I still have yet to consume a Shamrock Shake...