The Importance of Being Reese: November 2015

The Ultimate Subscription Box Holiday Shopping Guide

Christmas is nearly here and I'm giving you your gift a few weeks early! 

If you're still scrambling for the perfect gift for your loved one(s) this year, scramble no more. I've composed a list of more than 30 subscription box services that will make your holiday shopping a breeze. With a few clicks of the button, you can check off your holiday shopping list without having to brave the hectic holiday crowds this year.

Check out the list below and give your loved one a unique gift that just keeps on giving!


Merry Christmas and happy shopping dear friends!


The Coffee Lover

Bean Box

Price: $20/ month

What You Get

~4 unique specialty coffees
~Seattle's top-rated roasters.
~Range of roast profiles and origins
~Tasting notes, roaster profiles, & brew tips
~FREE shipping in the US

What They Say
"Consider Bean Box your personal coffee expert. We cup hundreds of coffees to make sure the roasts in your Bean Box are the best of the best. We want every coffee you experience to be your next favorite.

 Whether you're looking to expand your palate or fill your morning cup, we have a plan for you that doesn't include running to the store. Only want dark roasts? Done. Need to skip a month? Easy.

 Fresh coffee is never bitter. We ship your coffee within 48 hours of roasting. Unlike coffee that sits on shelves, ours arrive at your door rich with flavor, bursting with unique tastes like chocolate, hazelnut, and cherry. Freshness matters, and we'll prove it."

The Tea Aficionado

Tea Box Express

Monthly, 3 Months, 6 Months

Monthly: $25
3 Months: $74
6 Months: $139

What You Get
Monthly boxes of tea & goodies delivered straight to your front door.

What They Say
"Tea Box Express is a monthly box of tea goodies. Each month brings a new box brimming with surprises that always include quality brand-name tea and three or four fun tea-things. Every month is a surprise!

Tea Box Express is more than a box of tea. It's an experience. We are dedicated to bringing you the best teas and the niftiest tea goodies."

The Beer Connoisseur

The Craft Beer Club


Price: $39/Month

What You Get
~Tweleve 12 oz. beers
~4 different styles
~3 beers each

What They Say
"The Craft Beer Club discovers exceptional craft brews from around the country and delivers them each month direct-to-you or your gift recipient. Every selection is produced by small-production, independent brewers who use only traditional brewing ingredients and time-honored brewing methods. 

In addition to traditional bottled beers, we also embrace the hundreds of small craft brewers around the country that offer their hand-crafted beers in cans. It’s the newest way to enjoy craft beers. There is no membership fee, no obligation to continue, and you may cancel anytime for any reason."

The Wineo

Club W


Price: Starting at $39/Month + $6 Shipping

What You Get
Every month, you will receive 3 bottles of of wine based on you palette profile.

What They Say
"We are a global winery and we're all about making ridiculously delicious wine at a fantastic price. We build direct relationships with vineyards and farmers to make exceptional small lot wines at prices impossible to achieve at retail, we match them up to your palate, and deliver them directly to your doorstep 

Club W works directly with wine makers. There are no middlemen, which means you get better wine for less. Shipping directly to you also means we can invest in smaller, more unique lots. We're not subject to volume quotas and don't have expensive brand marketing campaigns to support."

The Smoothie Lover

Daily Harvest

Weekly, Bi-Weekly or Monthly 

Price: $47.94 per box + FREE Shipping

What You Get
6 smoothies every week, bi-weekly or monthly
12 smoothies every week, bi-weekly or monthly
18 smoothies every week, bi-weekly or monthly

What They Say
"Our smoothies feature whole fruits and vegetables that have been harvested at peak maturity when nutrient content is highest. Our ingredients are then frozen using IQF technology to maintain farm-fresh nutrient density and flavor – without using preservatives or added sugars. All of our blends are under 200 calories per serving, and most importantly, they’re delicious and filling. 

Once your smoothies are delivered to your door, just store them in your freezer. When you are ready to enjoy, blend one up with your favorite milk, juice or water for a craveable, balanced, whole food smoothie in less than a minute. We’ve done most of the work for you!"


The Foodies

Home Chef


Starting at $9.95 per meal

What You Get
Three healthy meal plans with fresh ingredients, measured and delivered to your home once a week.
Vegetarian option available!

What They Say
"With ten dinner options, new breakfasts, a fruit basket, and a fresh smoothie every week, Home Chef has something to delight everyone around your table. From hearty meat & seafood options to gluten-free and low-carb dishes, there’s a dinner option that’s bound to work for you. 

 You can cook like a five star chef every night – without the hassle. In addition to all the pre-portioned ingredients, we also send simple and visual recipe cards that make cooking accessible to chefs of all experience levels"

Hello Fresh


2 person plan: $69/week
Family plan $129/week

What You Get
Three healthy meal plans with fresh ingredients, measured and delivered to your home once a week.
Vegetarian option available!

What They Say
"Each week our chefs create amazing recipes for you that are easy to prepare. Our meals are interesting yet simple. And we ensure that your diet is balanced and varied. 

We are More Than Food. Quick and easy recipes, no fancy equipment or techniques, and no obscure ingredients. Our mission is to help you get nutritious and delicious meals on the table."

The Healthy Snacker

Nature Box

Weekly, Bi-Weekly or Monthly

Prices: Starting at $19.95

What You Get
3-5 healthy snacks once a week, twice a month or once a month

What They Say
"With over 100 tasty options, NatureBox has something for everyone, all with zero artificial nonsense and high-quality ingredients you can trust. Fill your NatureBox with the bold flavors you crave, like White Cheddar JalapeƱo Popcorn, Sweet Blueberry Almonds, and Dark Cocoa Nom Noms. 

 Choose the number of snacks and delivery frequency that’s right for you. Each snack has between 3-5 servings. Five bags delivered monthly is a great place to start. For a family of snackers, you can choose 5 bags each week to satisfy your needs."

The Sweet Tooth



Price: $19.95/Month

What You Get
Each month you get a selection of four delightfully sweet packages of goodies to help cure your sweet tooth!

What They Say
Each month you’ll get a box of the best gourmet sweets from ever-changing vendors all over the country. Boxes ship the week after the 15th. When you find a sweet you loved from a monthly box (or you want to try more from that vendor), easily order more through our store!


The Athlete

Strength Crate


Price: Starting at $35-$75+ shipping and handling

What You Get

~1 Training Aids
~1-2 Apparel Items
~Supplement (5-30 servings So you can really see how it works)
~1 Lifestyle product
~Over $55 in value!

What They Say

"Whether it is in the gym or at home we want to make sure that you have the ability to always be at your best. We don’t believe in excuses and neither do you. We know that not everyone can get to the gym all the time and we don’t want that to limit you. We are champions of competition and understand that winning doesn’t take place on the podium or on game day. Winning takes place in basements, garages, and empty fields at 5:00AM when you are putting in the work that no one else sees. 

If you are tired of paying for products you could get for free and want to get the most value to fuel your passion, StrengthCrate is the training partner for you!!!!!"

The Groomer

Dollar Shave Club


$1/Month + $2 Shipping and Handling
$6/Month + FREE Shipping
$9/Month + FREE Shipping

What You Get
Least expensive box comes with...
~2 stainless steel blades
~5 cartridges per month
~Reliable - this is the ’82 wagon that starts when it's below zero
~Lubricating strip soothes the skin

What They Say
"Dollar Shave Club couldn't be simpler. Select one of our great blades, pay only for the cost of your blades, and we send ’em right to your door every month. No commitment. No fees. No BS. Just a better way to shave."

The Dapper Dresser

Dapper Box


Price: $23-$29/ Month

What You Get
Each box comes with 4 - 5 Dapper Items worth up to $96

What They Say
"Dapper Box combines years of menswear knowledge to recommend the perfect Men's Accessories for you. Each month we carefully curate the best options and deliver them straight to your door. 

Our Designers get to work to get you the best looking men's accessories on the planet. We source from the best brands and factories in the world to get you premium men's goods you'll actually wear."

The Ultimate Man Box

Bespoke Post


Price: $45.00

What You Get
A monthly delivery of a new collection of themed men's lifestyle gear.

What They Say
"Each month we assemble a new collection of themed goods to create the Box of Awesome. Each box is a limited-edition, themed collection of men's lifestyle gear from up-and-coming brands that we admire, spanning all areas of your day-to-day. 

 Watch how-to videos, read interviews with the makers, and check out key tips-and-tricks – all alongside your new box. Join the club and boxes always cost $45 - there's no commitment and you can skip a box anytime. Otherwise, boxes cost $55."


The Fashionista 

Stich Fix

Delivers as often as you'd like

Price: Varies, but typically average $65/ box + $20 styling fee

What You Get
Each box comes with 5 clothing and fashion items hand priced to match your personal style profile.

What They Say
"For busy women on the go, Stitch Fix is the personal styling service tailored to your taste, budget and lifestyle that helps you look and feel your best every day. Our goal is to make shopping fun, effortless and empowering for busy women on the go."

The Fitness Fashionista


Price: Complete outfits start at $49.95/ month

What You Get
1 fashion-forward fitness outfit each month

What They Say
"Fabletics is an innovative, high-quality athletic wear and accessories line that helps you feel great, look great and is incredibly affordable. Our designs uphold our core principles of fit, function and style for active women. From the essentials to fashion-infused designs, we offer a range of athletic wear for the workout and beyond."

The Yogi 

Yogi Surprise 

Price: $24.95- 44.95 


What You Get 
Jewelry Box -- 2 handmade yoga-inspired jewelry pieces +1 superfood or organic chocolate treat. Lifestyle Box-- 6-8 full-size products designed to nourish and support your well-being and growth. 

What They Say 
"Lifestyle Box-- Each month, you’ll receive 6-8 full-size products designed to nourish and support your well-being, vitality and growth. Our boxes are curated and approved by seasoned Yogi’s. Each box is packed with love and positive intention. 
Jewelry Box-- Each month, you’ll receive two beautiful, handcrafted yoga inspired jewelry pieces, from stunning Chakra bracelets and inspirational Om pendants, to 108 bead Mala necklaces, Amethyst stone treasures, and much more! As a special bonus, you’ll also always receive an organic, vegan chocolate treat." 

The Makeup Lover 



Price: $10/Month

What You Get
5 amazing beauty products tailored to you in a collectible bag.

What They Say
"Each month, subscribers will receive a beautiful Glam Bag with deluxe samples and full-sized beauty products. Members can watch and play along with the stylists with the same products that they are using. All for only $10 a month. 

Plus watch product tutorials from our stylists showing you how to get the Look. Save up to 70% through members only offers and win free products in contests and giveaways."

The Glam Mama (For WOC)

Our Shade of Brown


Price: $10/ Month

What You Get
4-5 deluxe samples delivered to your door monthly.

What They Say
"Our shade of brown delivers premium sized beauty samples tailored to women of color.  every month our signature pillow box full of goodies will be delivered to your door.  by partnering with companies that are sensitive to the beauty needs of women of color, you will often receive products from established brands, stellar up and comers and newly discovered gems!  

We created our shade of brown because, like you, we love beauty and we wanted something dedicated to women of color. period."

The Diverse Diva

Kolour Conscious 


Price: $25- $35/ Month

What You Get 
3 full sized products or 4 sample sized products from black-owned busiesses delievered once a month. 

What They Say
"We partner with businesses which are owned and operated by people of color to bring you high-quality products and services. Every box or product you purchase from KolourConscious is a dollar for dollar investment back into the community.

Provide us with a simple snippet of your desires, and we’ll do the rest. We will use your profile to help connect you with interesting, personalized products and services. Sometimes things may be familiar, and other times, delightfully different and new."

The Natural Hairista



Price: $20/ Month

What You Get
4 or more quality natural hair products samples per month

What They Say
"Every month subscribers receive 4 or more quality hair product samples for $20 per month. Cancel anytime. Subscribers can look forward to extraordinary products from established brands as well as some really great up and coming brands. 

 If you're "natural", you've probably spent more money in the first few months on products for your hair than you've spent over the last few years combined. And if by chance you've just "gone natural", not only are you spending money trying to find what works, you've likely become increasingly frustrated with each purchase. The solution to this problem is curlBOX, an exclusive, affordable and effortless way to explore hair care products delivered to your doorstep each month."

The Accessories Addict

Bezel Box

Price: $19.95- $35.67


What You Get
2-5 uniquely designed pieces of jewelry every month.

What They Say
"The Bezel Box jewelry subscription delivers 4-5 beautiful boutique boutique and on trend jewelry to your door every month. Each month, your Bezel Box will be hand wrapped and filled with the latest fashion and accessories in your unique style.

Bezel Box is filled with trending fashions that are ready to accessories any outfit. Our fashion coordinators source beautiful pieces that are on trend and in demand. The Bezel Box is your key to keeping your finger on the pulse of style."


The Traveler 

Try The World 


 Price: $39/ every two months 

 What You Get 
7 authentic gourmet foods delivered to your doorstep every 2 months.

 What They Say
"Try The World collaborates with notable chefs to curate the selection of 7 authentic gourmet products for every box. They make sure that your items are authentic and of the highest possible quality. We work with small, family-owned companies who follow artisanal methods of production. The result is a box of items that are hard to find in the US, but loved by locals. Each box comes with a Culture Guide that includes the story behind each product, recipes to make with the items, and tips to best experience the country’s culinary culture. If you love something from a box or want to try other flavors, you can buy them again on the Shop. Subscribers receive special discounts and offers!

The Pet Owner 


 Monthly Price: $39/ Month 

 What You Get 
A delightful assortment of toys, treats, chews and accessories for your dog or cat.

 What They Say 
 "A delightful assortment of healthy and hand-selected pet products delivered to your door monthly. Discover the finest quality treats, toys and accessories from brands that share our unwavering commitment to the wellbeing of your pet. Meticulously sourced. Unsurpassed in quality. Totally delightful. At PawPack, we take great care in selecting products from companies that share our unwavering commitment to the wellbeing of your pet. Our team of experts ensures that our products are always all-natural and grain-free, in an effort to be allergy-conscious. We also strive whenever possible to source products that are organic and eco-friendly." 

The Movie Lover 

Movie Night Box 

 Monthly Prices: Starting at $10/month 

What You Get 
Every month we send you two critically-acclaimed movies from the 1950s through the early 2000s, paired according to a theme. Depending on which plan you choose, you will also receive up to three shareable sweet and salty treats from artisan shops across America.

 What They Say 
"We are the online movie rental service for film connoisseurs. Whether you are discovering timeless movies for the first time or revisiting great films in a new light, Movie Night Box delivers. Give us a try, our "Just Movies" plan starts at $10/month."

The Bookworm

Book Riot

Every three months

Price: $50.00/ per box

What You Get
Every three months you get a delivery of a package of books and bookish stuff.

What They Say
"Every 3 months, Book Riot will send you a package of books and bookish stuff. Always books, never boring, Book Riot is a community dedicated to the idea that writing about books and reading should be just as diverse as books and readers are. We think you can like both J.K. Rowling and J.M. Coetzee, that there are smart, funny, and informative things to say about both, and that you shouldn’t have to choose."


The Little Reader

The Little Fun Club


Price: $25

What You Get
Three age appropriate children books every month.

What They Say 
"Little Fun Club has access to thousands of titles. From classic children's books, board books, award winning literature, and educational books, Little Fun Club hand picks items for your child each month. With a subscription, your child will receive age appropriate books based on the merit of a given book’s awards and educational value. 

Reading at an early age leads to better academic fulfillment, better communication skills, better concentration and language skills. Read to them so they will eventually grow up to be smart and accomplished human beings."

The Tinker (Ages 9-14)

The Tinker Crate


Price: $16.95- $19.95

What You Get
A monthly delivery of materials and inspiration for awesome science and engineering activities

What They Say
"Discover and learn about science, engineering, and technology through seriously fun hands-on activities. Each box is filled with Creative, innovative STEM projects with detailed step-by-step instructions.

We believe that STEM is a key to create problem solving , a foundation for critical thinkers and a pipeline to innovation. Our mission in creating Tinker Crates is to help kids gain these crucial skills through hands on activities that are also seriously fun!"

The Little Tinker (Ages 5-8)

Kiwi Crate


Price: $19.95

What You Get
A monthly delivery of materials for 2-3 hands on art, science or engineering projects.

What They Say
"Give the gift of monthly fun and discovery! Every month you'll receive everything you need for 2-3 projects, such as hands-on art, science, and engineering project and stories and playful experiments, Every month a new theme, with all the materials and inspiration for kids to build, make, and develop their creative confidence."

The Future Scientist

Spangler Science Club


Price: $24.99- $29.99

What You Get
A monthly delivery of science tools and resources needed to conduct multiple hands-on science experiments and design  challenges related to the monthly theme.

What They Say
"Ignite the spark of science and creativity in your child with a subscription to the Spangler Science Club. Join today and you’ll receive Steve Spangler’s most amazing hands-on science experiments delivered to your door each month. Each box includes the science tools and resources needed to conduct multiple hands-on science experiments and design challenges related to the monthly theme.

Explore a new theme each month – kitchen chemistry, the power of air, science magic, bubbling potions – every month. Spangler Science Club is the perfect science spark for children in grades K-6" 

Don't feel like shopping now? Feel free to pin this post for later or tweet and share with friends! 

Until next time, 

Movember: The One Important Checkup EVERY Guy Needs to Have

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Movember and the #LennoxMovember campaign, however, all thoughts and opinions are mine alone.  *The names have been changed in this story to respect the privacy of my friend and her family.

Three years ago my former co-worker and friend Sara* buried her husband. They had been married for 16 years and had two beautiful children.

Just let that sink in for one moment.

We often hear about these stories on the internet, or through a friend of a friend, but can you imagine how devastating it is to personally go through that type of loss?

For three years, I've watched Sara struggle to put together the pieces of her shattered life and try to move on. I've watched their children grow up way  too fast. They went from carefree and happy, to heartbroken and way too old for their young years. But that's what loss does. It's steals your youth.

Mark* passed away at the tender age of 43. He had prostate cancer. Mark was, by all accounts, a healthy guy. A year or so before his death, we actually all ran a 5k together. Mark finished about 10 minutes before Sara and I and spent the rest of the evening teasing us about our time. He did Crossfit a few times a week. He was even talking about signing up for a Triathlon. He was seemingly invincible. Until one day he wasn't

And that's the scariest kind of disease. The one that attacks no matter how healthy you are. No matter how many salads you eat or cigarettes you don't smoke.

A few weeks ago I told Sara that I was going to participate in spreading the word about Movember and the importance of men's health awareness. Because she is incredibly brave and self-less, she encouraged me to share Mark's story. And when I asked what kind of advice I should give, she immediately told me how important getting regular checkups are. Especially for men who are over the age of 40.

You see, Mark did everything he was suppose to do, ate everything he was suppose to, but he hated getting his checkups. And maybe there's a tiny possibility that if he had gone to his checkup, he would still be here with us. Maybe he would be here to see his kids graduate from high school. Maybe he would still be here to dance with his daughter at her wedding. And just maybe he would still be here to welcome his first grand baby into this world. We will never know.

This Movember I'm telling you guys how important it is to go to your regular health check-ups. According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation:

" The PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen)test remains an important tool in the diagnostic process. Men over 40 should discuss PSA screening with their physicians to determine if and when PSA screening is right for them, based on health and family history factors, they differ from those of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF)."

Prostate Cancer, like most every other form of cancer, is more easily treatable the earlier it is caught. This means taking the time to go to your regular checkups, and getting your prostate checked could possibly save your life.

Guys, it's important. Do not let shame or embarrassment get in the way of your health.

Want to get involved in the cause?

-Guys, use your mustache to start a conversation about men's health this Movember!

-Simply sign up, grow your 'stache, and raise funds for the cause. Get active with Lennox on
  Facebook On Instagram. For every like, comment, share and RT, Lennox will donate $2 to the  
  cause.  It's a simple as that.

 -Or, you can donate straight to the cause and help Lennox raise money to fund that fight against
  men's depression, prostate cancer and more.

- Finally, throughout the month, Lennox will be posting content on all of their social channels to
  provide information about men’s health issues. So follow along and take notes and share with  
  friends  and loved ones.

If you want to join the fight against preventable and detectable diseases and disorders in men, be sure to follow Lennox on Facebook and Twitter.

 Happy Movember! Be sure to tell a guy you know and love how important his health is this month and, every month!

Until next time,

Bourbon and Maple Glazed Salmon

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I've been cooking lighter meals in anticipation of pigging on all of our favorite Thanksgiving dishes. In my kitchen lighter doesn't mean flavorless, in fact, it typically means just the opposite--flavorful. Though I'm not typically a fan of fish, salmon is an exception. Especially when it has a bold flavor, such as this Bourbon and Maple Glazed Salmon. Not only is it delicious and healthy, but this simple dish packs a powerful punch that will have your taste buds standing at attention.

Though this recipe actually calls for a cup of bourbon and honey, I deviated from my own recipe and decided to give my Bourbon Honey a whirl. I picked it up at a festival in downtown Raleigh a few months ago and have been dying to use it ever since. The company that makes it, Cloister Honey, is based out of Charlotte, and just happened to be in Raleigh for the day. Which is lucky for me because this honey is out of this world! (A special shout-out to their Chipotle Honey which is just as amazing!)

If you're like me, and you already have Bourbon Honey, you can supplement that for the 1/4 cup of bourbon and 2 tbsp of honey. Otherwise, here's what you'll need:


– 1-1.5 lb salmon
– 1/4 cup bourbon
– 1/2 cup brown sugar
– 2 tbsp of honey
– 1/4 cup soy sauce
– 1 Tbsp oil


Rinse your salmon in cool water, pat dry and set aside.

Pour all marinade ingredients into a large bowl and mix well. Add your salmon to the bowl and coat evenly.

Let marinate in the fridge for 1 hour, turning the salmon once halfway through.

When ready to cook, turn the oven to 400 degrees and coat a large clear baking dish with olive oil. Place salmon in baking dish and put into oven.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the salmon.

Serve with a side of veggies or rice.


If you liked this recipe, feel free to pin it for later, retweet it to your friends or share it on facebook! 

Until next time!

Where to Eat, Drink, Sightsee and Sleep in Chicago

Now that I'm finally winding down from two spontaneous back-to-back trips to The Windy City, I wanted to share some highlights from my trips. So if you're heading to Chicago for the first time, listen up close and take notes. Here's where to eat, drink, sight see and sleep when your in Chicago.

The Sights

Cloud Gate a.k.a The Bean

Designed by Anish Kapoor in February 2004, Cloud Gate is made of more than 160 highly polished stainless steel plates. Up close, the highly reflective sculpture captures the beautiful Chicago skyline and give the illusion of a concave mirror. The Cloud Gate Sculpture has become a tourist hot spot and is the perfect place to take your vacation snapshots.

Pretty much the first and only thing I had in mind for my trip(s) to Chicago was The Bean. I made a beeline off the plane the first day, hoping to make it before sunset, but by the time I made it from the airport to downtown, it was already dark. But then reality sank in and I realized that it probably wouldn't be safe to wander around an unknown city, by myself, late at night.

I woke up early the next morning and began my personal sightseeing tour down Magnificent Mile, all the way to The Bean. Quick tip: If you want photos without tons of random people in the background, get there early. Both times, we arrived at The Bean in the wee hours of the morning and were able to take plenty of photos without crowds of people in the background. 

The Bean is even more gorgeous in person, so definitely be sure to add it to your sightseeing itinerary.

The Navy Pier

Originally designed for shipping and recreational purposes, The Chicago Navy Pier was constructed in 1914. During World War I, the Pier became home to several regiments, The Red Cross and Home Defense units. The Stock Market Crash and the Great Depression, caused a massive decline in freight and passenger ship activity, but the pier still managed to keep it doors and docks open to the public. 
Today, The Navy Pier is the largest entertainment and restaurant destinations in Chicago. The Chicago Navy Pier will celebrate it's 100th anniversary in 2016.

I missed out on The Pier on my first trip, so the second time, I made getting to The Navy Pier a priority. Sadly I wasn't able to ride the Ferris Wheel since it was being dissembled, but it was still in a wonderful experience.

I truly had no idea just how large Chicago was until stood on the deck of The Pier and just looked at the Monmouth skyscrapers that just went on for miles. Incredible.

The Chicago Institute of Art

Located in Millennium Park, The Chicago Institute of Art features a collection of art in its permanent collection. It is currently the home of some of the most important contributions to Impressionists and Post-Impressionist artwork including, Claude Monte: Haystacks & Water Lillies, Gustave Caillebotte: Paris Street; Rainy Day, Henri Matisse: Bathers by a River, Vincent van Gogh: Bedroom in Aries & Self-portrait. 

This was another place we unfortunately didn't get the chance to check out, but is still very much worthy of a mention. If you're an art lover, this should be your first destination. I didn't realize how many incredible works were housed in The Chicago Institute of Art until I arrived home and researched it online. There's so much to see that a 3rd trip to Chicago might be in order...

The Willis Tower a.k.a. The Sears Tower

The Willis Tower is a 108-story tower in the heart of Chicago. At its completion in 1973, it was the tallest building in The United States. It held that title for nearly 25 years when it was surpassed by the One World Trade Center building. It is now the second largest building in the United States. More than one million people visit its observation deck each year.

::Ehhh:: I'm just adding it to the list because it's a major travel destination in Chicago, but personally I figure once you've seen one skyscraper, you've seen them all. I'm also not into spending money needlessly, and $20 just to visit the top of The Willis Tower seems a bit excessive.

Boeing Gallery at Millennial Park

To commemorate the 10th anniversary of Jaume Plensa’s Crown Fountain, Plensa presented four new sculptures installed in Millennium Park  for the special exhibition titled 1004 Portraits. The sculptures are portraits of  real girls which he created using cast iron and resin. They continue the story of the original 1000 portraits of local Chicago residents that illuminate the Crown Fountain every day.

Of all the destinations we visited in Chicago, this is surprisingly one of my favorite. There is something that is so peaceful, and yet so hauntingly beautiful about the Boeing Gallery. I'm an artsy person, but never before have I been so affected by a sculpture. This is a must see while in Chicago.

The Foods

You know how every city is famous for a food that they claim is "amazing?" Well Chicago's deep dish pizza and hot dogs are just that--amazing. If I had to only eat one food for the rest of my life, it would be a Philly Cheesesteak and Chicago Deep Dish Pizza hybrid. 


My first trip, I check out Pizano's. This is a family owned restaurant located in the heart of downtown.

What I liked: It was a mom and pop kinda place where all the locals gather. I loved the intimacy of the place and the lack of professional design. There was pretty much no rhyme or reason. Random photos with mismatched frames, and colorful Christmas lights hung on the bar. It was noisy, and crowed, and had very dim lighting, but I loved every bit of it.

What I didn't like: Nothing. I loved everything about this place. Even the fact that it took 30 minutes to make my pizza (which is typically how long it takes to make a deep dish in Chicago, so be prepared to wait). The 30 minute wait gave me plenty of time to wander up and down the block and check out the Chicago night life.


For the next trip, James and I wound up at Giordano's under the recommendation of a true-Chicagoan.

What we liked: The Pizza was amazing. Like ridiculously so. You can also order and ship their Pizza anywhere in the US.

What we didn't like: Giordano's is a chain-restaurant. Which is cool if you're into that sort of thing. We're not. But again, shipable pizza, so that evens everything out.


What we liked: EVERYTHING. This place is fantastic. It's huge, has tons of history and the most delicious hotdogs you will ever eat in your life. It had a real local vibe, like it was the best of Chicago, all under one roof.

What we didn't like: Um nothing. Did you see the part about the delicious hotdogs?


The Hotels

Staying Downtown is a MUST. Let me repeat that, stay downtown when you're visiting Chicago! I know, the hotels can be outrageously expensive depending on when you book, but ultimately, if you're downtown, you're going to save some serious $'s in cab/travel fare. The first time I traveled, I choose wisely. I stayed in The Whitehall Hotel. One of Chicago's oldest hotel, it is located one block away from magnificent mile.

It was fabulous. (Just stay away from the mini bar--$5 for a small Fiji water, no thank you).


The Transportation

While we're on the topic of cabs and travel, let me give you the best piece of advice you'll read in this post. Avoid cabs at all cost. Believe me, it was an expensive mistake I made the first time around, and luckily managed to avoid during the second trip. A very kind woman we met in the hotel lobby hooked us up with two free rides from Lyft and Uber, but even without the free rides, these alternatives are much cheaper in comparison to a cab. To give you an idea, the first time I took the cab from their airport to my hotel downtown. The ride was roughly 25 minutes and cost me $35. The second trip, we took Lyft from the same hotel, to their airport and spent roughly $18, including the tip! Big difference! Take an Uber or Lyft and tip well.

We didn't get to ride the L, but we did get to check out the bus system. Easy to navigate and right on schedule. We purchased an all day pass for $10 per/ticket. Worth it in my opinion if you're planning on using the bus or L frequently.

So this basically sums it up. Chicago is a gorgeous city and I highly recommend adding it yo your travel itinerary. Because Chicago has such a large airport, it's relatively easy to track down an expensive ticket to travel to The Windy City.

Have you ever been to Chicago? What Chicago sights would you add to this list?