Breaking out of your shell with Turtle Gloves: a reviewed

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Turtle Gloves, Turtle Flip Mittens to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find and write race reviews.

With the winters we have been having here in Chicago I could not help, but say “shell yeah” to the opportunity to test out the Turtle Flip Mittens on my runs. Plus, Turtle Gloves is an amazing, up and coming small owned brand so I knew I wanted to give them some extra love!

So, what are Turtle Gloves, Turtle Flip Mittens? They are mittens, of course! They come in three different weights: light, midweight, and heavyweight. The weight you chose will depend on the climate in your area and time of year. I live in Chicago and we’ve been in a polar vortex on/off since January and I have Reynaud’s so the heavyweight are my mitten of choice. I also love that they have a variety of sizes to fit all hand sizes, both small and big. I almost got the youth size, but I like some room in my gloves, so the small was perfect! 😛 I love that the mittens can be worn in other ways, such as fingerless gloves (for those mid run photos 😉 ) when your hands get warm or even as arm warmers, perfect for race day!

Another use I shared with some of the other BibRave Pros is snot gloves…😂 Okay, I know GROSS, but my nose runs constantly when I am running and Turtle Gloves are the perfect material to wipe your nose without making it chapped and the material is pretty absorbent… That brings me to my next favorite feature, how easy it is to launder the gloves. They can go in the washer and dryer, no problem and they came out softer than ever with each wash. And yes, I washed them a lot because of all the times I had to wipe my nose. 😛

The only con I can think of for Turtle Flip Mittens is that they were not warm enough on some of my runs. BUT I have Reynaud’s and am the type of person that is always cold and needs two pairs of gloves on winter runs under 20 degrees..with that being said, I like that I was able to layer a small, thinner glove under my Turtle Mittens because they are roomy! So hardly a con, because i could still wear them on my coldest runs, as long as I layered up!

BRP Ben and I give Turtle Gloves two thumbs up!

I HIGHLY recommend Turtle Gloves Turtle Flip Mittens as a regular part of your running wardrobe, especially if you live somewhere that is cold. It’s Mid-march and I would not be surprised if gloves are needed for at least another month🙃I’ll make sure to keep a clean (snot-free pair) ready for all my upcoming runs. 😛

Lastly, want to try some Turtle Gloves for yourself? Use the code “TurtleBibRave” for 15% off order when you order on their website!And let me know below if you’ve tried Turtle Gloves!

Still not convinced?! See what other BibRave Pros have to say Turtle Gloves:

Amy

Ben L

Ben W

Jenna

Jennifer

Jonathon

Lisa

Randy

Sam

Tia

Vanessa

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2018 in review

Hello friends! Long time, no post and Happy New Year’s Eve! How is it only one day away from 2019?! 😱

Life got a little crazy since my last post in October: I ran my 1st marathon in a BQ, got injured during said marathon, finished my 1st semester of nutrition classes, and focused on injury recovery! All those recent events reminded me that it’s been a crazy fun, tear-inducing, challenging, awesome, amazing, and unpredictable year. 😜

So why not recap/reflect on the highlights from each month of 2018, so I can start 2019 on a high-note? Without further ado, here are my top moments for each month of 2018, running and otherwise:

January:  The top moment of January was running the F^3 Lake 5k and meeting a few of my new BibRave teammates. It was my favorite moment because I spent a lot of the fall injured, so it was exciting to be able to lace up and race a 5k, even though I only had a few weeks of training under my belt and no workouts. I treated the race as a tempo, somehow won, and had an overall great time. My husband ran the half marathon and earned a personal best time of 1:15! We were fortunate to have weather in the high 30s and the post race party was fun. If you want to read more about this race check out my recap 🙂 I am recovering from injury (again) now, so I likely won’t run the race in 2019, but I highly recommend the 5k or half marathon on 1/26/19!IMG_5111

February: The top moment of February was a tie between the unexpected snow day (and day off work) on Friday February 9, 2018 and being chosen by BibRave to test out the Aftershokz wireless headphones. And yes, I’m sure you’re wondering how one single day could be my top moment of 2018…but if you are a regular follower/reader here you may remember that I used to be a high school chemistry teacher. In January- March 2018 I was working as a temporary chemistry teacher for a teacher on maternity leave. The teacher had been on leave since September, and the school had trouble finding a teacher to take the maternity leave, so the students had been without a permanent teacher until I took the position in January. Without divulging every detail, it was tough situation that really tested me, especially when I was already fairly certain (not yet publicly at this point) that I did not want to teach, but rather go back to school to become a Registered Dietitian, but more on that later 😉

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Anyway, after a particularly tough Thursday with some unruly students and a mountain of grading, we got an unexpected snow day on Friday, February 9th. For those of you who aren’t in Chicago, it is incredibly rare for the Chicago Public Schools to declare a snow day. It happens maybe once every 5 years. 😛 It was much needed! I was able to fit in a snowy run with my new trail shoes, my new Aftershokz, and in the daylight hours on a week day. Friday, Feb. 9th was AWESOME! It’s still funny to me in December 2018 that a simple snow day was my top moment of February 2018.

March:  Hands down the best moment of March 2018 was winning an Instagram contest for of three months of coaching with Heather McKirdy of McKirdy Trained. She had been a runner and coach I looked up too since I made an instagram page for this blog. 🙂 She’s positive, hard-working, a dreamer, speedy, and extremely knowledgable about running. In my short three months with her as my coach, I grew so much as a runner! I set a half PR, integrated more workouts and recovery, and took my running more seriously for the first time since running for my college in 2010-2013. I also watched many of my other Instagram friends become her athletes around when I did and make awesome running gains (I’m especially looking at you Teagan, Meghan, Laura, and Nicole :P). I was very sad after my three months ended because I decided to exit the work world and go back to school to study nutrition, so unfortunately I could not and still cannot afford a coach and I loved working with Heather 😦 It would have definitely been helpful to have one when I trained for the Chicago Marathon because my training was kind of a mess 😂 ANYWAY, if you are looking for a coach and it’s in your budget I HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend Heather or any of the other McKirdy Trained coaches. 🙂 A majority of their athletes BQed or set PRs at their races this year and those are results you cannot ignore! 😱

Honorable mention/a close second was finishing off that maternity leave teaching position and figuring out my now public next steps. More on that below 😉

April: Okay, okay! I can’t pick just one moment because this month was freakin’ awesome. Hands down the BEST moment was deciding to change my path and go back to school to study to become a Registered Dietitian. I also ran a personal best in my second ever half marathon (1:34), while sick, under the guidance of my new coach Heather. My husband ran the full marathon that same day in a stunning 2:42, cutting 26 minutes off his previous best time and securing a ticket to Boston 2019. You can read much more about my experience at the Illinois Half Marathon here.

Last, but not least I was able to meet and become real-life friends with two of my Instagram friends: Katie of 2fabfitchicks and Danielle of Feed Me Happy. Danielle and I are also now real-life classmates and future RDs, so that’s pretty awesome. 🙂

Meeting and running with Scott Jurek during his North book release tour also deserves an honorable mention! April was truly an amazing month!

May: May’s top moments are a tie between being interviewed for my first ever magazine article in Voyage Chicago and my birthday BibRave run meet-up at Millennium Park. It was nearly 95 degrees, but I still had a blast running with Steph, Ben, and Frank on my 26th birthday! 🙂 Joining such an awesome team of supportive and fun runners/ambassadors may have been my greatest decision all year, besides deciding to go back to school 😛

June: It was a hot day and not my best race time, but I still pick my first ever 10k at the Run for the Zoo as my top moment of June 2018. I even managed third female overall somehow 😛 It was a fun race to rep BibRave and somewhat kick off my Chicago Marathon training!

July: My husband got a new teaching job and we moved to a new apartment. I absolustely love my new loft apartment and it’s proximity to awesome places to run along the Chicago LakeShore path.  I  was honestly hoping that the Rock ‘N Roll Chicago half marathon would be my top July moment,  but I just did not have a good race and you can read more about it on my Instagram 😦 I’m still glad I ran it even if my time of 1:36 was very far off of the 1:30 I was hoping for at that point. 

August: A hot month full of marathon training and long run PRs (mileage wise) every single week. I even made it through my through my longest run ever (20 miles) and nailed my fueling strategy with Spring Energy (ElectroRide in my hand held and Canaberry gels ).

Running the Nike unsanctioned 6k race deserves an honorable mention, as well. It was a fun race and a great way to fit in a mid-week workout.

September: Oh man September was a tough month! I was struggling to balance my classes, work, my extremely long commute to/from school, and training for the marathon. I had a few 0-10 mile weeks and I even contemplated not running the Chicago Marathon. Thankfully, after turning around my training a bit, some reflection on how far I had come (despite a less than ideal training situation). and the kind words of so many of you I decided to still run. That is definitely my top moment of September 2018. It was not an easy decision!

October: Completing my first marathon in a BQ, enough said! 😛  Although, having to stop multiple times to stretch due to hip and IT band pain and then becoming so injured I just started running again a little over a week ago also serves as a bit of a low point. :/ You can read more about my race on Instagram.

I am extremely grateful that Dale of Marathoner Dale ran part of the marathon with me. She had a fantastic race (earning a 3:22 PR) and helped me at my lowest, most painful points. I am also grateful that Jess (the cofounder of BibRave) and I were able to run together for some of the race! 🙂 I am positive with better training (and honestly a coach ), I would have a had a much better and injury free race, but hey- a 3:28:01 is not bad for my first one!

I am proud, but am also dreaming bigger (and training MUCH smarter) for my next marathon! 😛 I had a blast meeting a lot more of my BibRave teammates at the Chicago Marathon summit and the race and would not change the race or this weekend for anything, though. I can only hope to perform at what I am actually capable of next time I run a marathon 😉

November: No running at all for me in November, as I focused on cross training, resting, and gaining hip/glute strength. BUT the best moment was watching my husband cut two more minutes off his personal best marathon time at Indy Monumental in a blazing fast 2:40! 🔥 I am also grateful for Ashlyn, who is the kindest human and an amazing friend, who put together a strength training plan and will make a running plan once I am able to run more. I am not sure what I did to deserve her help, but I am grateful because this injury has been a struggle and an uncertain time for me. :/

December: After not being able to run post-Chicago marathon, hands down the top moment of this month was the pain-free mile (even if it was on the dreadmill) I ran three days ago! I am cautiously optimistic about my return to running as enter 2019! I am not sure anything I will do in the remaining hours of 2018 can top that, unless I am able to run 10 miles 😉 But don’t worry, I’m won’t try such a foolish thing!

Finishing my first semester nutrition school finals and earning good grades also earn an honorable mention, but clearly being able to run again is more exciting to me 😛 I also got accepted to be a BibRave Pro for another year, so I am grateful that they want to keep me! 🙂

So now, I want to hear from all of YOU! What were your top moments of 2018, running or otherwise?! 👇🏻

Mercury Mile review

Disclaimer: I received 50% off the contents in my Mercury Mile box and a waived styling fee as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

mercury-mile-box-closed.jpg

 

mercury mile box open

I have been eager to try Mercury Mile since I saw other runners receive boxes earlier in the year on Instagram. I was excited to finally try it myself! So, what is Mercury Mile? Mercury Mile is a service that creates a personalized box of running clothes and gear based on your answers to a running profile. It is NOT a subscription service, so you only receive one box, but if you want more boxes in the future you can do so with the same account. How Mercury Mile works: an actual person (stylist) reads your profile, looks at your social media accounts (if you want them to! :P) and picks out some items they think you will like based on your profile and social media! I love that I was given a little note detailing what was chosen and why the items were chosen from my stylist  Helen. It really gave the experience a personal touch! 🙂

mercury mile letter

Shoutout to Helen, my amazing Mercury Mile stylist!

The profile asks about your likes/dislikes (as related to running), your ideal budget, favorite colors, ideal brands, types of activities you participate in, your size, etc. Then a box of all of the stylist’s chosen items is shipped directly to your door! Shopping you can do without leaving your home? That’s something I can get on board with! 😛 What’s even more rad is that you can return anything you do not like free of charge with the enclosed postage paid shipping envelope.

mercury mile return envelope

I was hesitant to try Mercury Mile because I was concerned I could not afford it on my soon-to-be RD student budget, but it is surprisingly affordable! And no, not because I received a discount, but rather because you can tell the stylist your ideal budget and you can return anything you do not like! I ended up liking all of Helen’s selections, but one and it was SO EASY to return that item in the pre-paid envelope. The box opened my eyes to a brand I had never heard of and some old standbys, so it’s also a good way to learn about different fitness brands.

My favorite part about my Mercury Mile box besides reading the note, was using social media to help me chose which items to keep. I did polls on my Instagram stories where I asked all of you to help me chose. It was really fun and helped me make decisions in a fun way!

brooks top

Brooks tank top that I kept! My favorite item from the entire box! 🙂

craft sports bra

Craft sports bar that I kept!

green tank top

Adidas tank that I kept!

running capris

Body Glove capris that I returned. They were a little big and I did not love the pattern.

running shorts mercury mile

Asics running shorts that I kept!

running spandex

Asics spandex that I kept!

As you can see above, Helen my stylist was pretty spot on! I kept everything, but the Body Glove capris. They were a little big on me and not quite my style, but I kept everything else and where the items all the time! 🙂 So now I bet you want to try Mercury Mile, don’t you?! 😛 If you do, I have a discount for you! There is normally a $20 styling fee just to get the box and check out the stylist’s selections, but you can save $10 with the code “BibRave10”. The styling fee goes toward the price of an item in your box if you keep any of the items, so that’s really nice! It can be as fancy or as budget friendly as you want, just indicated your desired price range in your profile!

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Have any of you tried Mercury Mile before?! What did you think about it? I know I definitely want to gets my hands on another box-it’s so fun and a great deal! 🙂

Also, see what other BibRave Pros have to say about Mercury Mile:

Ali

Connie

Jenn

Jonathan

Vanessa

Plants are cool #2: Basic Tofu Stir Fry recipe

Good afternoon! This is the 1st Saturday I have gotten off of work early in months, so I decided it was time to finally share another plant-based recipe! Today I am sharing a staple recipe in my apartment: basic tofu stir fry. My husband and I eat this at least one a week, if not more often 😛 That’s how much we love it! And it’s easy to prepare, easy to customize, and easy to clean-up,

I am sharing this as a part of my new recipe series called “plants are cool”. Because duh, plants are amazing! And because we should all be eating a lot more of them! I’m here to show you that cooking with plants can be cheap, easy, versatile, and fun! I know I am biased because I am plant based…but please be open minded, maybe try a few plant recipes and who, knows?! Maybe you too will agree that plants are cool! 😉

Basic Tofu Stir Fry recipe

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Yield: 2-3 servings

Ingredients

1 bag of frozen stir fry vegetables OR slice up your favorite fresh vegetables (I recommend peppers, broccoli, onion, mushroom, carrots, celery, and baby corn)

Organic extra or super firm tofu (I recommend Trader Joe’s or 365 by Whole Foods)

Grapeseed or Avocado Oil (for sautéing) 

1 cup rice or grains of your choice (I used 365 by Whole Foods Organic Super Grains, but other options I’ve used include brown rice, jasmine rice, and quinoa)

Dried ginger (we never measure :P, but I’d put at least a teaspoon or two)

Tamari sauce to taste (at least a tablespoon)

Optional: red pepper flakes, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and/or nutritional yeast. 

1. Measure and rinse your grain of choice in a mesh sieve.

2. After rinsing, prepare your grain of choice according to the package directions.

3. Chop the vegetables if you aren’t using frozen.

4. Press your tofu. We invested in a tofu press because it significantly cuts down on the time of the recipe.  (Here’s some methods to press tofu if you don’t have a press).

5. After pressing your tofu, slice into bite-sized cubes.

6. Add the Grapeseed or Avocado oil to a sauté pan or a Wok and then add the cubed tofu.

7. Sauté the tofu on medium- high for about 5-10 minutes or until the cubes start to brown.

8. Add the fresh, sliced veggies or the frozen stir fry veggies and continue to sauté until everything is cooked thoroughly .

8. Check the grains and if they are cooked, turn off of the stove top and fluff them.

10. Once the tofu stir fry is cooked throughly, serve atop the cooked grains and add your desired mix-ins. My favorite mix in is pumpkin seeds and my husband loves red pepper flakes.  🙂

If you make my basic tofu stir fry recipe, I’d love to see your creation! E-mail me or share on social media ( InstagramFacebook, or Twitter), but make sure to tag me! I’d be happy to feature your version of basic tofu stir fry on my social media channels!

 

Plants are cool #1: “Squacos” recipe

Good afternoon! 🙂 As promised many, many months ago, I am finally sharing my butternut squash taco recipe, AKA “squacos”!🌮 I am sharing this as a part of my new recipe series called “plants are cool”. Because duh, plants are amazing! And because we should all be eating a lot more of them! I’m here to show you that cooking with plants can be cheap, easy, versatile, and fun! I know I am biased because I am plant based…but please be open minded, maybe try a few plant recipes this month, and who, knows?! Maybe you too will agree that plants are cool! 😉

Of course, today’s recipe has black beans, because I have not been living up to my namesake!😱 This is a very basic recipe that lends itself to dressing up with different toppings and serving options, because that is half the fun with taco recipes! So, without further ado let’s make some “squacos”! 😋

“Squacos”

squacos

Yield: 2-3 servings

Ingredients

1 bag of frozen butternut squash or 1 whole butternut squash

Grapeseed or Avocado Oil (for sautéing) 

1 cup rice or grains of your choice (I used 365 by Whole Foods Organic Super Grains, but other options I’ve used include brown rice, jasmine rice, and quinoa)

1 can of black beans drained and rinsed

Cumin (we never measure :P, but I’d put at least a teaspoon or two)

Cinnamon

Himalayan sea salt (to taste)

Optional: avocado, tomato, cilantro, shredded lettuce, red pepper flakes, salsa, pico de gallo, guacamole, cheese (regular or non-dairy), and/or sour cream (if you aren’t vegan)

1. Measure and rinse your grain of choice in a mesh sieve.

2. After rinsing, prepare your grain of choice according to the package directions.

3. Chop the butternut squash if you aren’t using frozen.

4. Add the Grapeseed or Avocado oil to a sauté pan and add the chopped fresh or the chopped frozen butternut squash.

5. Sauté the butternut squash on medium high for about 5 minutes or until warmed.

6. Add the cinnamon and cumin to the butternut squash and make sure everything gets thoroughly mixed.

7. Add the drained and rinsed black beans to the butternut squash mixture.

8. Check the grains and if they are cooked, turn off of the stove top and fluff them.

9. Sauté the black bean and butternut squash mixture for another couple of minutes.

10. Serve on tortillas or make a taco bowl. Be sure to add in any of the fun extras listed above! The optional mix-ins add flavor and depth if you eat these on a weekly basis like my husband and I do! My personal favorite is making a taco bowl with salsa and other veggies and then using tortilla chips as scoops. 🙂

If you make “squacos”, I’d love to see your creations! E-mail me or share on social media ( InstagramFacebook, or Twitter), but make sure to tag me! I’d be happy to feature your version of “squacos” on my social media channels!

My top 3 favorite things to do during the Christmas season in Chicago…so far

Hello friends! Happy holidays and Merry Christmas! I am (once again) sorry for the blogging hiatus. The beginning of December was busy for me with finals exams and getting everything in order for my graduate school transfer in January. Yet, in between the craziness my boyfriend and I took a break to decorate. We bought most of our decorations during a 50% off sale at Michaels during the first week of December! It’s not much, but we hope to accumulate more Christmas decorations throughout the years!

christmas tree 2014

(Our small tree and stockings)

So, now my news that I promised last blog post: I am not continuing my study of nutrition in the spring. While I did decent on my final exams and in my classes, I realized that the dietetics field is not for me. I want to pursue teaching and become a high school teacher. It would also be cool to coach cross country! Starting in January I will be working on a master’s of education degree. I could not be more excited! I will never, ever lose my passion for nutrition and healthy eating though. This will continue to be a blog about vegetarian food/recipes, running, and random musings from my life.

Well, now onto what this blog post is really about-Christmas! In between work shifts, workouts, and post finals relaxing I have had some time to enjoy Christmas time. Today I am going to share my three favorite Christmas activities  in Chicago…so far. I say so far because this is my first Christmas in the city, but certainly not my last! These are activities that a perfect for students or people who are on a budget!

1. The Christkindlmarket

It’s a tiny German market located on the Daly Plaza.  I have already been to it three times! The admission is free, but you could end of spending a lot of money if you are not careful.  😛 There are tons of booths and tents full of German toys, decorations, trinkets, and food. Some of the things are very pricey (they have $1,000 clocks and $100+ beer steins), but I managed to find an adorable Santa ornament for only $10! The food booths are full of a variety of things from the delicious smelling spiced pecans to bratwursts to Nutella filled crepes. They were giving out samples of some of the food items too. I also noticed that there were several vegetarian options, which surprised me.

I did not try any of the food, but I did try the hot spiced wine and it was amazing! For $7 you get wine and a mug, which you get to keep. You do not have to spend a lot of money to enjoy the market. I only spent $17 between my three trips for the ornament and spiced wine. The other two times I just looked around. I recommend visiting this market if you have not and are in town. It stays open through Christmas Eve! 🙂

Chriskindlmarket

(The giant tree, spiced wine, nutcracker display, and my Santa ornament)

2. Zoo Lights at the Lincoln Park zoo

This is another event with free admission! If you want a souvenir, a snack, or something to drink you have to shell out a bit of cash, though. The spiced wine at Zoo Lights was only $6. I am not sure about the prices on snacks, beer, or hot cocoa.  Zoo Lights was cool and fun! I loved everything from the Christmas music and light show to the ice sculptures. My descriptions and my pictures cannot do Zoo Lights justice. You will just have to go and visit it for yourself! 🙂  If I’m not mistaken it even stays open past Christmas for a week or two.

zoo lights dragon

(Dragon display near the entrance)

zoo loigths ice sculpture

(Ice sculpture of Olaf from Frozen)

zoo lights snow globe

(Life sized snow globe)

zoo lights star wars globe

(Star wars snow globe)

3. Macy’s on State Street

My boyfriend and I went to Macy’s to look around and do some last minute Christmas shopping. The Macy’s on State Street goes all out when it comes to Christmas decorations. Each of the floors are decorated for the season and there are display windows you can view outside. I unfortunately did take many pictures, but the store is better in person anyway. I went again a few days ago with one of my friends just to look around, show her the Walnut room tree (she had not seen it before!), and get a cup of coffee. The café and coffee shop area was surprisingly a nice place to catch up! Macy’s on State Street is another place that you can enjoy without spending a lot of money.

Christkindlmarket tree

(Walnut Room Christmas tree)

Now, I know that I have missed several Christmas events/activities in Chicago  such as the Winter Wonder Fest, the annual Christmas bar crawl in Wrigleyville/Lakeview, holiday themed races, and the CTA holiday train. Hopefully I can go to those in the future. I’d also love to learn about lesser known holiday events around the city!

Well, have a wonderful day everyone! Take some time to enjoy some holiday activities/events with your families and friends. 🙂

If you are live in/near Chicago or visit it, what is your favorite Christmas/holiday activity to do? If you are from somewhere else,what is your favorite holiday activity to do there?

My top 3 favorite things to do during the Christmas season in Chicago…so far

Hello friends! Happy holidays and Merry Christmas! I am (once again) sorry for the blogging hiatus. The beginning of December was busy for me with finals exams and getting everything in order for my graduate school transfer in January. Yet, in between the craziness my boyfriend and I took a break to decorate. We bought most of our decorations during a 50% off sale at Michaels during the first week of December! It’s not much, but we hope to accumulate more Christmas decorations throughout the years!

christmas tree 2014

(Our small tree and stockings)

So, now my news that I promised last blog post: I am not continuing my study of nutrition in the spring. While I did decent on my final exams and in my classes, I realized that the dietetics field is not for me. I want to pursue teaching and become a high school teacher. It would also be cool to coach cross country! Starting in January I will be working on a master’s of education degree. I could not be more excited! I will never, ever lose my passion for nutrition and healthy eating though. This will continue to be a blog about vegetarian food/recipes, running, and random musings from my life.

Well, now onto what this blog post is really about-Christmas! In between work shifts, workouts, and post finals relaxing I have had some time to enjoy Christmas time. Today I am going to share my three favorite Christmas activities  in Chicago…so far. I say so far because this is my first Christmas in the city, but certainly not my last! These are activities that a perfect for students or people who are on a budget!

1. The Christkindlmarket

It’s a tiny German market located on the Daly Plaza.  I have already been to it three times! The admission is free, but you could end of spending a lot of money if you are not careful.  😛 There are tons of booths and tents full of German toys, decorations, trinkets, and food. Some of the things are very pricey (they have $1,000 clocks and $100+ beer steins), but I managed to find an adorable Santa ornament for only $10! The food booths are full of a variety of things from the delicious smelling spiced pecans to bratwursts to Nutella filled crepes. They were giving out samples of some of the food items too. I also noticed that there were several vegetarian options, which surprised me.

I did not try any of the food, but I did try the hot spiced wine and it was amazing! For $7 you get wine and a mug, which you get to keep. You do not have to spend a lot of money to enjoy the market. I only spent $17 between my three trips for the ornament and spiced wine. The other two times I just looked around. I recommend visiting this market if you have not and are in town. It stays open through Christmas Eve! 🙂

Chriskindlmarket

(The giant tree, spiced wine, nutcracker display, and my Santa ornament)

2. Zoo Lights at the Lincoln Park zoo

This is another event with free admission! If you want a souvenir, a snack, or something to drink you have to shell out a bit of cash, though. The spiced wine at Zoo Lights was only $6. I am not sure about the prices on snacks, beer, or hot cocoa.  Zoo Lights was cool and fun! I loved everything from the Christmas music and light show to the ice sculptures. My descriptions and my pictures cannot do Zoo Lights justice. You will just have to go and visit it for yourself! 🙂  If I’m not mistaken it even stays open past Christmas for a week or two.

zoo lights dragon

(Dragon display near the entrance)

zoo loigths ice sculpture

(Ice sculpture of Olaf from Frozen)

zoo lights snow globe

(Life sized snow globe)

zoo lights star wars globe

(Star wars snow globe)

3. Macy’s on State Street

My boyfriend and I went to Macy’s to look around and do some last minute Christmas shopping. The Macy’s on State Street goes all out when it comes to Christmas decorations. Each of the floors are decorated for the season and there are display windows you can view outside. I unfortunately did take many pictures, but the store is better in person anyway. I went again a few days ago with one of my friends just to look around, show her the Walnut room tree (she had not seen it before!), and get a cup of coffee. The café and coffee shop area was surprisingly a nice place to catch up! Macy’s on State Street is another place that you can enjoy without spending a lot of money.

Christkindlmarket tree

(Walnut Room Christmas tree)

Now, I know that I have missed several Christmas events/activities in Chicago  such as the Winter Wonder Fest, the annual Christmas bar crawl in Wrigleyville/Lakeview, holiday themed races, and the CTA holiday train. Hopefully I can go to those in the future. I’d also love to learn about lesser known holiday events around the city!

Well, have a wonderful day everyone! Take some time to enjoy some holiday activities/events with your families and friends. 🙂

If you are live in/near Chicago or visit it, what is your favorite Christmas/holiday activity to do? If you are from somewhere else,what is your favorite holiday activity to do there?