Thursday Things

1. I have a first world problem. I got the new iPhone 6 a couple of weeks ago (not because I’m so ~with it~ when it comes to technology, but because I was due for an upgrade. Hooray convenient timing!), and finally activated my phone last week. It was a traumatic occasion, as I was 100% sure I was going to ruin everything and my iPhone would explode or something equally disastrous, but after much tension and no actual problems, I got everything all set up.

Quick backstory: I’m weird and particular about certain things, and one of those things is iMessage. For no real reason other than not wanting to use data when we had unlimited texting, I always had iMessage turned off on my iPhone 5 (prior to my iPhone 5, I had a Tracfone, so obviously iMessaging was not a part of my life :P ). My family HATED that I refused to turn on iMessage, especially my mom, who would use iMessage via her iPad to communicate with everyone except me, because I was stubborn and weird (at the time, she didn’t have an iPhone and therefore could not be included on family group texts). Because iOS 8 comes with the ability to get out of group texts, however, and because I think (though maybe I’m wrong…please, someone inform me if I’m wrong) the opt-out only works when using iMessage, I begrudgingly turned iMessage on after setting up my iPhone 6.


To announce my entrance into the iMessage world, I jumped onto my family’s group text to send them a snarky, “I hope you’re happy now.” My brother soon responded, saying, “Yay Bethany! But why are you sending it using your email address instead of your phone number?”


I had no CLUE I was sending iMessages using my email, and I had no clue how to stop it. Much drama ensued.


My brother eventually called to talk me off the ledge, and I thought I had solved all my iMessaging problems. Lately, however, I’ve found myself with a more troubling problem: my phone doesn’t tell me when I have text messages. Instead of popping up on the lock screen like they, you know, have been told to do, my phone usually just decides to not inform me that I’ve gotten a new message unless I actually unlock my phone and see, oh, whoops — totally missed that entire conversation. MY B.

Of course, there’s no rhyme or reason to when my phone decides to tell me that I’ve received text messages. Sometimes it does right away, sometimes it does 15-45 minutes after the fact, sometimes it just doesn’t tell me at all. I updated my software on Tuesday, assuming this would solve the problem, but nope: still not getting text notifications, at least not all the time.

Obviously I realize in the grand scheme of things that this is a pretty insignificant problem, but it’s really obnoxious, and I don’t know how to fix it :(

2. It’s been awhile since I’ve had anything to note about my office’s bathroom, but this appeared on one of the stall doors earlier this week:


Lulz. I <3 passive aggression. What I <3 even more is that the unflushed toilet that prompted this note has long since been flushed, and likely has been cleaned more than once since the note was posted, and yet the note still stays on the stall door. People are weird.

3. Last Thursday, I went to a pre-wedding party with a friend. I had been invited to said party three weeks or so before the occasion and had duly rescheduled the post-marathon massage I had originally scheduled for that same day and time to last Friday instead. Before the party, I was hanging out with my friend and asked about the wedding. I had assumed my friend was going to the pre-wedding party in lieu of the event itself, but as it turned out he did plan to go to the wedding, but had opted to not invite me since the wedding was at 3:30 that Friday, and I had work. That was all fine by me, since I had only met the bride (one of my friend’s supervisors) once or twice before, so it’s not like I was exactly on invite-to-the-wedding status with her.

We went to the pre-wedding party (I don’t know if that was actually the shindig’s official title, but I don’t know what else to call it, so we’re going with pre-wedding party) and took full advantage of the dessert table and limited advantage of the open bar (see: I had work the next day). This pre-wedding party, for those of you engaged, on your way to being engaged, or who hope to someday be engaged, was a genius idea, in my humble opinion. The couple rented out event space in the wedding’s ~official~ hotel and had an open house style event where people could come and go and mingle as they pleased, without all the OMGWEDDINGDAY madness that, in my experience, tends to accompany wedding ceremonies and receptions. When my friend and I were ready to leave, we went to say goodbye to the bride, who then asked if we were both coming tomorrow. I somehow eloquently managed to say, “Well, I would have if I had been invited, but I wasn’t, so I’m not,” in a much less blunt, much more polite, much more accurate-to-my-nonexistent-level-of-bitterness way, to which the bride was like, “Come anyway!” I protested that I hadn’t RSVPed, I didn’t want to mess up table arrangements, etc. etc., and the bride was like, “Don’t worry about it! Just show up.”

And that, friends, is how I found myself invited to a wedding 17.5 hours before the ceremony began.

Obviously, this presented a few logistical challenges, including, but not limited to, the fact that I hadn’t taken Friday off of work, and the fact that I had a pre-paid massage booked for 5:30 on Friday afternoon, and my 24-hour window for cancellation had long since passed (which, to my understanding, would not only have meant I had lost the money I used to pre-pay for said massage, but also would’ve been slammed with a 50% cancellation fee on top of that, putting me somewhere in the neighborhood of paying over $100 for a massage I didn’t get). The work situation wasn’t too difficult to maneuver, since the office tends to be pretty chill on Fridays, so I was able to take the afternoon off without trouble. To remedy the massage situation, I figured I’d just go to the 3:30 ceremony and skip the reception, thus avoiding any last-minute table seating chart issues. No harm, no foul.

I ended up attending the wedding ceremony and then successfully navigated my way from Bridgeport (where I have never been before) to Lakeview using only the CTA, a fact of which I (and my wallet) are most proud and made it to my massage…almost on time. I was five minutes late. But they let me have my massage anyway :)

Then on Tuesday when I saw my friend and asked about the reception, he told me that they had actually moved him to a different table because they planned on me being there. Oops. We’ve agreed that next time one of his supervisors gets married, he’ll invite me two days beforehand, rather than the night before :P

iPhone woes?
Funny wedding situations?


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Open House Chicago

My favorite time to be in Chicago rolled around once again this past weekend: Open House Chicago! This was my third year taking advantage of Open House Chicago, but unlike 2012 and 2013, this year I actually had time on both Saturday and Sunday to go exploring. I hit up a personal record nine venues this year, so get ready way too many photos ;)

Like always, I combed through all 150 sites open during Open House Chicago and narrowed it down to 43 places I wanted to visit. Since that’s impossible, I then went through my list of 43 places and found the ones I wanted to see the most and came up with a geographically-convenient order in which to see said places. We begin our journey in what I think is one of the most under-appreciated areas of Chicago (and one of its most hidden gems), Prairie Avenue.

Second Presbyterian Church
Second Presbyterian, admittedly, has not had the best press lately, after a freak accident involving a falling gargoyle killed a woman on the sidewalk back in September. The church’s current building at 19th and Michigan was built in 1874, when that was the place to live in Chicago — it was the Gold Coast before the Gold Coast became a thing. All sorts of wealthy people–Pullmans, Blackstones, Armours–attended Second Pres in its heyday.

OHCSecondPres1, Open House Chicago, Second Presbyterian Church Chicago

The church’s original interior was destroyed by fire in 1900, and the current interior reflects the Arts and Crafts style of architecture, a reaction to the industrialism. The interior features repeating motifs throughout, including angels, grapevines, pomegranates, and thistles. It also boasts nine Tiffany windows and beautiful murals throughout.

Clarke House
After my time at Second Pres, I walked over to the Clarke House, the oldest structure in the city of Chicago. The house has moved three times since its construction, but now sits at 18th and Indiana, right in the heart of what used to be the insanely wealthy Prairie Avenue area. As I mentioned, this was the place to live from the 1870s pretty much into the 1890s/1900s, when Bertha Palmer built a mansion in the 1300 block of Lake Shore Drive that gave birth to the still-insanely-wealthy Gold Coast. Prior to that, though, many millionaires, including a certain Marshall Field, lived in this area. (Then almost all their mansions got torn down, because the 20th century was terrible.) Anyway, the Clarke House is now a museum furnished in a style similar to how the Clarkes likely lived.

OHCClarkeHouse, Open House Chicago, Clarke House

Presidential Suite at the Blackstone Renaissance Hotel
Confession: I had no idea this hotel existed. I’ve been past it plenty of times, but I was totally clueless that it was a hotel. Now I know!

OHCBlackstoneRoom, Open House Chicago, Blackstone Hotel, Presidential Suite

The Presidential Suite, as the name suggests, has hosted many current or future presidents while they’ve stayed in Chicago, including Kennedy, Eisenhower, and Truman. They had to endure miserable views like these:

OHCBlackstoneView, Open House Chicago, Blackstone Hotel, Grant Park, Fall, Chicago

Poor guys.

Imperial Suite at the Hilton
I’ve been to the Hilton many, many times, but this was actually the first time I didn’t go to the Hilton for marathon- or triathlon-related activities. Whenever I’ve been to the Hilton for those occasions, I’ve walked through the lobby, but spent most of my time sequestered in the shockingly-plain-considering-it’s-the-Hilton basement. The Imperial Suites are the opposite of the Stevens Salons downstairs.

OHCHilton1, Open House Chicago, Hilton Chicago, Imperial Suite

I imagine staying in one of these suites requires the soul of your firstborn, so needless to say I’ll never have the means to actually spend the night in this kind of opulence, but the views, once again, were gorgeous. I suppose that was a theme of my Open House Chicago adventures this year: gorgeous views I’ll never have the means to afford seeing otherwise :P

OHCHilton2, Open House Chicago, Hilton Chicago, Imperial Suite, Chicago Skyline

190 S. LaSalle
Though perhaps if I could find at job at 190 S. LaSalle, I would have the means to afford suites on Michigan Ave. To be honest, I have no idea what kind of work goes on in 190 S. LaSalle, but given its location in the heart of the financial district, I assume it’s a lot of stuff I know nothing about that yields annual salaries I can only dream about. Anyway, the 40th floor of 190 S. LaSalle features a law library with floor to ceiling windows that make for some outstanding views.

OHC190SLaSalle1, Open House Chicago, 190 S LaSalle Library View, Sears Tower, Willis Tower

The library itself is also beautiful, if you can manage to stop staring out the windows for a second.

OHC190SLaSalle2, Open House Chicago, Chandelier, 190 S LaSalle Library

Union Station
I kicked off my Sunday Open House Chicago-ing with a place I know all too well, Union Station. Since there are so many places to see during Open House Chicago, I try to only go to locations I wouldn’t be able to see under normal circumstances. While the Great Hall of Union Station is always open to the public (and is where I will inevitably spend several hours of my life I’ll never get back when it’s time for me to go home for Thanksgiving and Christmas), the rooms off the Great Hall aren’t. In fact, I didn’t know these rooms even existed–which, considering the amount of time I’ve spent in the Great Hall, is really saying something. I first visited the Union Gallery, which, if you enter the Great Hall from the concourse (where all boarding and ticket sales take place), is to your left.

OHCUnionStation1, Open House Chicago, Ceiling, Columns, Union Station

In addition to a cool ceiling, the gallery featured historic photos of Union Station, many of which were from World War II. For those of you who haven’t been to Union Station, the setup is a little odd. While the Great Hall is hands down the most beautiful (or, some [*cough*me*cough*] would argue, the only beautiful) part of Union Station, all the action takes place across the street and underground, where the waiting terminals resemble that of your standard airport and are not much of anything to look at. Based on the pictures I saw, I imagine this wasn’t always the case–there used to be a lovely building where there is now an office building–but once upon a time, the Great Hall was also where travelers actually waited for their trains. If interested, women could wait for the train in their own room on the right side of the hall, the Women’s Lounge.

OHCUnionStationWomensLounge, Open House Chicago, Womens Lounge, Union Station, Mural, Decay, Urban Decay


I’d say seeing the Women’s Lounge was the highlight of my Open House Chicago adventures this year. The decay…! Oh, I just loved it. Loved, loved, loved it. I loved imagining what it must have been like when the lounge was functioning and what it must have been like to travel by train back then. I was also wildly amused by this:

OHCUnionStation2, Open House Chicago, Union Station, Womens Lounge, Mural, Christmas Decoration, Ornaments

since those decorations keep me company every Thanksgiving and Christmas:


Chicago Board of Trade Vault
This was another location on my Open House Chicago bucket list that never previously worked out for me. I almost bailed on seeing the vault again this year when I was met with a long line, but I figured since I had waited years to see the vault, I could manage to wait another 45 minutes or so.

Since we’ve established I’m no Wacker Drive finance bro (or, uh, girl? What’s the appropriate semi-derogatory term for a girl who works in finance?), I’ve never been in the Board of Trade, but I loved its Art Deco interior and resulting Gatsby/Capitol of the Hunger Games vibes.

OHCBoardofTrade1, Open House Chicago, Chicago Board of Trade, Ceres Cafe, Art Deco

I’ve also never been inside a vault (though then again, how many people have?), so that in and of itself was a pretty cool experience.

OHCBoardofTrade2, Open House Chicago, Chicago Board of Trade, Vault, Chicago Board of Trade Vault

The only negative aspect of my Board of Trade experience was the fact that the four people behind me in line were all drunk, horribly obnoxious, and had no concept of personal space. Who gets drunk for Open House Chicago?! People are weird.

Maclean Center
The former Illinois Athletic Club’s ballroom now belongs to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I’ve decided I’d like to get married here, thanks.

OHCMacleanCenter, Open House Chicago, Maclean Center, Chandelier, Ballroom, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Tribune Tower
While I may not be a finance bro, I am ABSOLUTELY a journalism nerd, and as far as I’m concerned, people who work for the Chicago Tribune are celebrities. The Trib Tower has also been on my Open House Chicago bucket list for quite some time, and while I once again debated whether or not it was worth standing in line just to see the lobby of the Trib Tower…it’s the Trib Tower, you guys. Cool people work there!

OHCTribTower1, Open House Chicago, Chicago Tribune, Map, North America

We could only see the building’s lobby, buttttttt a managing editor of the Tribune told us all about the lobby, which in and of itself was enough for me. I don’t know what exactly I expected out of the Trib Tower’s lobby, but I didn’t expect something quite so pretty.

Plus there are all sorts of pro-journalism quotes engraved on the walls, which reminded me of the Newseum. Perhaps my favorite quote, though, was the one that had a typo they later had to correct:

OHCTribTower2, Open House Chicago, Chicago Tribune, Tribune Tower

See the ‘S’? Yeah. They forgot it the first time around. Oh, the irony!

Tip Top Tap at the Allerton Hotel
As far as lines are concerned, the line for the Tip Top Tap DEFINITELY took the cake. I don’t know exactly how long I waited, but I’d estimate that I stood in line for close to an hour to see the Tip Top Tap. Sadly, this was my biggest letdown of the entire experience.

OHCTipTopTap3, Open House Chicago, Allerton Hotel, Tip Top Tap, Neon

Don’t get me wrong: the views from the Tip Top Tap are great, and the ballroom itself that takes up the space formerly occupied by the Tip Top Tap as beautiful. I, however, perhaps did not do proper research, and was under the impression that this would be like other closed spaces, such as the Women’s Lounge or the Studebaker Theater at the Fine Arts Building I saw last year: opened just for Open House Chicago after laying in disrepair and disuse for decades. That wasn’t the case at all, so instead of seeing the rundown former bar I hoped to see, I saw a pretty polished ballroom. Not that the ballroom wasn’t nice, of course, but had I paid better attention and known that’s what I would see, I probably would’ve skipped the Tip Top Tap.

OHCTipTopTap2, Open House Chicago, Tip Top Tap View, Allerton Hotel Tip Top Tap View, Chicago Skyline, View, Trump Tower

All in all though, I, once again, had an AWESOME time traipsing around Chicago. I think next year I need to make more of an effort to get out of downtown, where I imagine the crowds are much smaller. I seriously think this is the best event in the city of Chicago (even better than the marathon, because at least this is free ;) ), and, as always, cannot recommend it enough.



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Thursday Things

Marathon weekend thought-dump edition!

1. I was kind of underwhelmed by the expo this year. Then again, this was the fourth year in a row I’ve gone to the expo (WHOA. Time flies!), so maybe that contributed to my sense of being underwhelmed, since it’s the same thing every year.

2. I was SEVERELY underwhelmed by the race shirt.


COME ON, Bank of America. I KNOW you can do better than that. I’ve seen you do better than that on many occasions. It was one thing to give us terrible shirts for the Shamrock Shuffle, because that’s an 8K, but this is a MARATHON. People don’t give up their entire summers to train for an 8K, but they sure as hell do to train for a marathon. The LEAST you could do for a $185 race is muster up something resembling creativity, or, at the very very least, thought, when it comes to your shirt design. I’m not ignorant — I’m sure you do this because you’re a slave to Nike, who inevitably has you make terrible shirts in order to sell more of their sinfully overpriced, made-in-China-by-underpaid-overworked-children gear, BUT STILL. Nike’s clothes were pretty lackluster in 2013 and I bought them anyway. I can’t imagine that there’s such a direct correlation between event shirt awesomeness and Nike’s profit that it’s worth insulting 45,000 people with this poor excuse for design. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

3. That being said, I spent nearly $100 on Nike gear because it was so darn cute this year. Or rather, so darn Chicago-y.


I mean really. How AWESOME is that shirt? And the underside of the bill of this hat:


Dead. I love it. Thank goodness for birthday money.

4. The hands-down biggest disappointment of the participant bag this year, however, was not the shirt, but rather that instead of a coupon for free gelato, Mariano’s gave us a coupon for a free reusable grocery bag. WHAT?! This is a tragedy of epic proportions. I already HAVE reusable grocery bags! I have more reusable grocery bags than I can use! I do not, however, have gelato, and now I’m not going to get any gelato :( Everything is bad.

5. Or maybe the fact that for the first time since at least 2011, when I attended my first Chicago Marathon expo, Nike didn’t do a display with all the participants’ names.


SUPER SAD FACE :'( I kid you not: when I saw the display with everyone’s names in 2011, my first thought was, “Wow, it’d be so cool to see my name on there.” Then they effed everything up in 2013 by printing the 2012 roster on the 2013 #ownchicago, so I didn’t see my name last year, and this year they didn’t do it at all. NIKE, YOU SLAY ME.

6. While I do absolutely loathe how the marathon has to kiss the behinds of all of its stupid, stupid sponsors (who, yes, finance a substantial portion of the race, help make the race the event it is, tra la la), I hate it much less when I get perks out of it. Like, say, a free trip to the Art Institute.


Heyo! ALL marathon runners (plus a guest) could go to the Art Institute from last Thursday through this past Monday, and you better believe I took advantage of that. I’m a marketer’s dream and will swiftly fall for any good ad campaign, so I’ve wanted to see the Magritte exhibit at the Art Institute pretty much since they started advertising it, despite the fact the I know nothing about Magritte (including how to pronounce his name, never mind anything about his art). I didn’t have a whole lot of time at the Art Institute, so I spent all of it at the Magritte exhibit, and I found it to be quite impactful. It’s been 12 years since I last took any visual art class in any capacity, so I know absolutely nothing about surrealism (or, you know, art in general), but a fair number of Magritte’s paintings challenged conventional word/object associations (an image of a leaf labeled “the table” for example), and this was something we talked about in one of my literature classes in college–how the word itself is not the object, but rather just an combination of sounds we have come to associate with an object–so I really appreciated that (and the exhibit just overall).

7. I carb loaded way differently this time around than usual, and I think it went quite well.


Instead of my usual pasta 4 dayz method of carb loading, I put a big emphasis on adding a lot of fruit to my diet (per the suggestion of Deena Kastor, who probably knows a thing or two about fueling, at Breaking Through the Wall a couple weeks ago), having fresh fruit with every meal until Saturday, when I switched over to applesauce, snacking on dried fruit on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and eating a fair amount of rice on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday as well. I had pasta Thursday night, an enormous potato Friday at lunch, pasta Friday night, white bread Saturday for lunch, and my usual pre-run pasta with a small handful of frozen peas Saturday night. I think it worked! At the very least, I didn’t have any digestive issues during the marathon, and my stomach didn’t hurt by the end of the week like it has in the past with my pasta-heavy carb loading method, so I think I’ll keep this sort of routine up in the future.

8. I chafed during the marathon! I’ve never chafed before on a run, so this is a new and miserable experience. Note to self: apply more Body Glide under your arms in the future.

9. I did not, however, get horrifying blisters during the marathon like I did last year, which is a major win as far as I’m concerned, because those suckers HURT.

10. Speaking of disgusting body things, let’s talk about my toenails! Or, rather, one of my toenails. Several weeks ago, my nail polish began chipping off my toenails, and I noticed that the nail on my second toe on my left foot didn’t seem to be its usual color. I figured this meant it had turned black and I was going to lose it, thus earning my street cred as a runner (I was actually much more distressed about the prospect of losing a toenail than I’m letting on, but we’ll pretend like this didn’t bother me.). But as time went on, my toenail didn’t go anywhere. When I clipped it the other day, the part I clipped off was white, not black, and I’m starting to think that instead of a black toenail, I may just have a blood blister under my toenail? This discoloration seems to be on my skin rather than on my toenail. The weird thing about this whole situation is that it doesn’t hurt at all (not that I’m complaining!). I’ve done extensive Googling and seen things I can’t unsee, but every website (and my CARA friends who have lost toenails) seems to suggest that if I had a blood blister or a dead toenail, that it would hurt…but it doesn’t. I don’t know what it meeeeaaaaaaannnnnnssssssss. I mean, I’m not worried about it (shocking, I know), it’s just weird, and I don’t know what I’m supposed to do about it. Therefore, I’m doing nothing about it.

11. According to my Polar Loop, I took 60,447 steps on marathon day. It also says I walked 32.12 miles that day, which, I suppose, given that I usually log somewhere in the neighborhood of 4-5 miles just going about my day-to-day life, might actually be true. Does this mean I can call myself an ultramarathoner? (No. No it does not.)

12. Because I didn’t feel sick after the marathon this year like I did last year, my family and I got food after the race. We went to…Potbelly.


Admittedly not as exciting as it could have been, I suppose. BUT I was going out with my CARA group a couple of hours  after the marathon as well, so I didn’t want to have *too* much to eat. Plus Potbelly is delicious and provided me with an excellent way to put some salt back into my system via a turkey bacon cheddar flatbread sandwich (OMGSOGOOD). So did the bacon + peanut butter burger I had at the Bad Apple with my CARA group later (I promise it’s not as weird as it sounds). And the bacon grilled cheese I had when my boss took my coworkers and I out for lunch on Monday. And the leftover burger I finished Monday night. So. Much. Bacon. I don’t even really like bacon…

13. Speaking of food, I kicked Graham Elliot’s (of Masterchef fame) butt at the marathon. When I discovered this, I tweeted about it, because you know how I do. (Mind you, I didn’t tweet at Graham Elliot, because I thought that would be rude…r than just pointing out the fact that I beat him in the first place).

WELL. Imagine my surprise/utter elation when:

Screen shot 2014-10-15 at 10.23.28 PM

My work here is done. *mic drop*

14. I really want to thank every single person who’s supported me throughout this marathon cycle, whether it was through donating to my OAR fundraising, reading, commenting, and/or providing insight on my training posts, or just generally putting up with me. I know I’ve been a bit of an insufferable head case for the past four and a half months, and I very much appreciate those of you who stuck with me through it. I truly believe it takes a village to raise a marathoner, so thank you for being part of my village :)

15. 10/11/15. Let’s do this again, hm?


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