Boy, do I love Country Music

A little known (OK, widely known) fact about me is that I am truly, unwaveringly, borderline-psychotically devoted to country music.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s summer and I feel like it’s time to mention it again seeing as summer really means “concert season” at my house. Donnie and I are just a wee bit obsessed with spending all of our discretionary income on tickets. All of it, you guys.

Side note: I started a Google doc spreadsheet a while back to start obsessively monitoring my spending because grad school is friggin’ expensive, and I literally have a line item called “Discretionary” with a note next to it that says “concerts and other”. Obsessed.

I think the grand total of country concerts we attended last year was 11. I’d have to go back and confirm FOR SURE, but I’m sure you’ll take my word for it, right?

This year has been a bit slower on the concert front because we opted out of the Country Mega Ticket (6 shows over the summer) since we saw most of the artists last year…so that was pretty responsible. But we did see Kenny Chesney IN Nashville, which was killllller.

So this past weekend was the inaugural Windy City LakeShake at Northerly Island. 3 days. 2 stages. Many, many hours of music. Fun fact for the non-Chicagoans: Northerly Island is located right next to Soldier Field/Museum Campus and used to be a small airport called Miegs Field. And now it’s a concert venue!

I mean, it’s not ugly, amiright?

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(No filter! xoxo)

The first night Dierks Bentley was the headliner. This was my fourth time seeing him perform (yeah, I know. ALL MY MONEY, you guys), and he was just as good as the last time. I’m so glad that he’s finally headlining.

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PLUS, he had some special guests show up at the end of the show with a VERY special surprise.

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I meeeeannn. I got to see the Cup twice in one week? Pretty unreal. Now I just need to see it up-close so that I can get my picture with it. (Life goals)

Brad Paisley got rained out on Saturday, but he’s just the best and agreed to stay on last-minute to close the fest on Sunday night. Such a class-act, that one. Of course that also meant that I was up far later than my bedtime (which is an embarrassingly early 9:30pm on weeknights), but it was totally worth it.

Here’s a tip from me to you: if you’re at an all-weekend music festival, just go ahead and order yourself a pizza the size of your body on your way home the first night. You’re going to need it and you’ll be happy for the leftovers.

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This was after night two (when we got rained out), hence the really awesome hair.

And there you have it! First concert festival of the year under my belt, and I lived to tell about it. Yeeeeehaw!

Can we call it a dynasty yet?

If there was ever one thing that I could be accused of hoarding, it would be vacation days (and, OK…girl scout cookies). I tend to save them up like a crazy person so that I’ll be able to go on that long, dream vacation someday. I do, however, tend to take some days during the summer. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times: summertime is what keeps Chicagoans put. We’ve got 3 months, give or take, to go to all the street fests, baseball games, and beach parties before it’s right back into those knee-length down coats.

My hoarding tendency is a good thing, though, because I could actually afford to take a last minute day off on Thursday for the BLACKHAWKS RALLY!!

If you live in the area, you know that the city/team decided to move the rally to Solider Field (the home of the Chicago Bears) rather than Grant Park because all of the rain we’ve been inundated with lately has made the park a field of sloppy muck. The implication of making this move, however, is that Soldier Field has limited capacity.

So when tickets were released on Ticketmaster Wednesday afternoon, we were ON IT. My friend Jenny managed to get us some killer seats (mostly luck) and off to the rally we went!

image1Although it would have been pretty cool to be on the field, I was actually really glad that we got assigned seats. With probably about 65,000 people there, it was nice to have a little slab of plastic to call your own.

The day itself was amazing. The sea of black and red was really something to see and I’m so glad to have had the opportunity to be a part of it. A good day to be a Chicagoan, for sure.

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[that flag up there is the Chicago flag – 4 stars for the city’s most prominent historical events and two blue stripes for the Chicago River and Lake Michigan]

image6The cap’n, hoisting that beautiful cup.

image5It was a good day, indeed.

Now I just need to get the tracking app so that I can see Lord Stanley’s cup up close and personal.

Wow…that sounded way dirtier than I meant it.

Anyway. Go ‘hawks!!

Where I Was, What I Did

Another weekend on the books. Thanks to having the week off from school (we’re between quarters now), I actually got out of the apartment and did some stuff!

Granted it’s as humid as an armpit and my hair is revolting harder than a kid with a plate full of brussels sprouts, so “getting out” sometimes means “getting out and immediately back into air conditioning somewhere else”. But still.

Ever since I started grad school, Donnie and I have been taking part in a very informal and yet very regular tradition of Pizza Fridays.

In which we order pizza, or make pizza, and eat all of it. We order so often from the pizza place around the corner that the owner picks up the phone and when he hears me say “Hi, can I place an order for pick up?” he automatically responds with my order. And no, I’m not going to tell you what our order is because I’m not entirely proud of how much we put away.

Anyway, this past Friday was a departure and I made the pizza from scratch, using a variation on this recipe.

photo4For the record, I’ve been using bread flour and adding a splash of olive oil to the dough and it’s vastly superior to the original version. Highly recommend.

On Saturday, the rain held off long enough for us to venture out to our neighborhood’s annual art fair (read: lots of art that I can’t afford and plenty of beer, which I can afford). I did pick up some free full-size sample’s of Clairol’s new Hair Food line at this booth. I also highly recommend them. My hair is very soft today, despite the aforementioned armpit-like weather.

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Ok, truth time. I need you guys to be honest with me.

These days, if I find myself with an afternoon free, there’s generally one thing that will always happen: nap time. And I’m not talking a quick 20-minute wink of a nap. I’m talking passed out on the couch, limbs falling asleep, probable drool. It’s serious business.

So, am I….officially an old woman, or….just making up for the lost nap time of my teens-late 20’s? You can tell me the truth, it’s OK. I can take it.

photo3At least I’m not the only one. Gus is only a year old and he doesn’t even have a job.

Before I fell asleep I managed to crank up the crock pot for some pulled pork sammies, using a little spice rub and this BBQ sauce.

pic1I picked it up because it was the most interesting, least artificial brand at The Jewel. I have to say, I’m a fan! I’ll be trying more flavors in the future, for sure.

And that sums it up. Hoping to hear lots of Chelsea Dagger tonight!!