Want to read about days 1-5? Here you go.

DAY SIX - June 5
I spent the morning at the arena working, with a quick break for a team picture and some playing in the fountain. We had been wanting to do this since the moment we saw it, and it was just as fun as we hoped it would be. 

Then, it was time to go abut 30 minutes away to see my grandma and two aunts who I haven't seen in way too long. My grandma had a stroke over a year ago, and she's living in Florida in an assisted living home instead of 20 minutes down the road from my house on Long Island. It makes me really sad to think about her there, and to think that my mom and I can't see her whenever we want. Getting older sucks, especially when you realize that the time you have left with the people you love is running out. 

For a few days, I wasn't very hopeful that my aunt was going to be able to convince my gran to make the journey to Tampa, but I was so so relieved when I got the call that she would be coming. We went across the street to dinner it was just so nice being with everyone. Of course, it's hard to see Gran frail and not able to do things she used to do, but she was in good spirits, enjoyed her meal, and I just kept chattering away and showing her pictures of things I've been up to. 

(Me with the Mackey ladies!)

(This picture makes me smile every time I see it, which is why it's my lock screen on my phone) 

We got back to my cousins apartment which we were stealing for the night and when I mentioned that I might leave that night because I hard work in the morning, Gran got all teary and I couldn't bear to leave. We sat around talking some more and then Aunt Suzanne and I went for a walk to see the sunset. 

(It was gorgeous) 

Unfortunately, when I got back, Gran was all tucked into bed even though it was only about 8 o'clock. I crawled into bed with her and held her hand and talked until she dozed off. Laying there with her, it was really hard not to completely lose it and start crying. I was feeling so many things, but, most importantly, I was incredibly grateful for the day and my time with her. 

Saying goodbye the next morning was hard, and we both cried. But again, I am so so thankful that my aunts got Gran to come and that I got to spend time with everyone. 

DAY SEVEN - June 6 

Another GAME DAY! Game day means a few things. 1) Sleeping in a little later 2) Arena food all day 3) Wearing cute outfits and taking pictures 4) Late late nights. 

(This was our GAME 1 team picture)

Since I was a little bit of an emotional wreck after saying goodbye to my grandma, I reallllllly wanted to go for a run. Unfortunately, my IT band had been really bothering me, so running more than 2 miles wasn't really an option. I ran a little ways on the path our hotel was situated on, and when I found a huge staircase, I decided that would be a good way to relax. Yes, you heard that right. I did a bunch of stairs broken up with push-ups and crunches and I felt totally in my element since there were other people around doing the same thing, using the area like a gym. NP_Tampa? 

Next, it was a solid 14 hours at the arena.

(I must say - Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay was AWESOME! They had this entire outdoor viewing area with a bar and DJ. The inside of the arena was beautiful too - and all right on the water! Definitely a little different than Nassau Coliseum). 

I'm lucky that my coworkers are awesome and 14 hours FLYS by. Okay, maybe not exactly...but we DO manage to make it fun. 

DAY 8 - June 7 

Travel days are exhausting. And the days that I feel absolutely zero guilt in skipping the gym. 

I don't even know why they are so killer. Maybe because we were up and out at about 4:30 a.m. after going to bed at 2 a.m. So really, we would nap instead of sleep. All I can say is THANK GOD I'm able to sleep on airplanes. 

Sam and Kim had traveled ahead to Chicago for a day, so when Kim and I landed we headed to the arena to get our bearings and to set up in the trailer. Home sweet home in City 2.

That night, I was exhausted. I didn't want to be anti-social and skip dinner, especially because it's always somewhere amazing, but I just couldn't rally. Especially when I flipped on the TV and realized it was the TONY AWARDS! That sealed the deal - Seamless and laying in bed watching musicals was the clear choice. 

I ordered delivery from Fig and Olive and DAMN was it delicious. Would it have been better sitting down and eating in the restaurant? Probably. But I still thoroughly enjoyed my crostinis and entree. 

The three crostinis that I picked were:
Shrimp, Avocado, Cilantro, TomatoGoat Cheese, Caramelized Onion, ChivePea, Asparagus, Ricotta Lemon Thyme

They were all very tasty, though the bread could have been a little crispier. 

For an entree, I ordered the Fig & Olive Tajine which came with Moroccan spiced chicken served with fig, olive, apricot, carrot, zucchini, cipollini onion, tomato, toasted almond, couscous with cilantro and harissa with arbequina olive oil.

This hit the spot. I loved that they packaged the couscous separately so it didn't get completely drowned in the broth that the chicken and vegetables were in. The meat was incredibly tender and there were dried apricots that made me really happy. 

Overall, very happy with my decision to stay in. And even happier with my decision to be a diva and order Seamless to the hotel lobby instead of ordering room service. 

DAY NINE - June 8 

I started the morning with a run to the bean, purely so I could get this shot: 

As I ran (slowly, and again, only about 2 miles before I was in pain) I also passed these lions who were in the Playoff Hockey spirit! 

This was only my second time being in Chicago, and each time I got I regret not exploring it more. It's such a pretty city from the few areas I've seen!

This was a game day, and an 8 o'clock start, which mean a very late night. Luckily, I was in charge of ordering 5th Meal aka: Giordano's deep dish pizza. 

Now, you can say all you want that deep dish isn't "real" pizza - you can pull a John Stewart and claim that "it's not a's a casserole!" But whatever it is, when I ate it for the first time in Chicago last winter, I fell in love. And simultaneously wished I had never tried it. Because it's one of those things that I just cannot stop eating. 

Eating to the point of feeling sick is something that, clearly, is not good for you. 

But place Giordano's pizza in front of me, and I'm Miley - I cannot be tamed. The crust is legit pie crust. Think, buttery, and made up of crispy, crunchy layers. And the amount of cheese inside - ungodly. No calorie count can deter me (but in case you're wondering - a deep dish cheese slice from Giordano's comes in at 500 calories). 

However, in additional to deep dish, I ordered some "thin crust" pies from Giordano's as well. And here, I agree with John Stewart on Chicago's blatant disregard for pizza. 


No like seriously, I think it's just the city of Chicago being incredibly stubborn. No one wants that floppy, soggy middle piece that's one mouthful. What is this? Can someone please explain?

It's one of those things that makes me irrationally angry. I got visibly agitated when this pizza arrived. Similar to when people pronounce "Reese's" as "Ree-sees Pee-sees." Pieces is a word. Reese's rhymes with it. Come on people. (I once called Reese's to confirm the pronunciation and their Corporate Communication department gave me some BS, go-to response about how their customers are welcome to pronounce it however they want. When I asked how the person on the line pronounced it, she confirmed my thoughts.)

The best is when people pronounces Reese's Cup correctly and then as soon as they see a bag of Reese's Pieces it becomes "Ree-sees Pee-sees."

I really can't. 

Okay, moving on. 

DAY TEN - June 9 

Day at the office. 

What does a day at the office look like? 

What is that, you ask? 

It's a chocolate munchkin cut in half and filled with PB, Banana and Nutella. 

Patent pending. 

Dinner that night was at Shaw's - seafood on seafood on seafood. Literally, we started with this raw platter with layers of fresh, fishy fabulousness. 

This baby had Maine lobster tails, oysters, blue crab fingers, shrimp cocktail and Alaskan red king crab bites. Lately, I'm realllllly diggin' crab! 

Also, major props to Shaw's for having close to one of my favorite drinks - their "Elderflower" cocktail had Gin, St. Germain, lime and lemon juice. All it was missing was a splash of grapefruit! 

Think that monstrous shellfish platter was our only appetizer? Think again. We also got some delicious sushi. 

I loved that their sushi rolls were A) pretty and B) had different flavor combinations that standard sushi. I lot of people loved the Spicy Shrimp, Salmon and lemon roll that had spicy shrimp, cucumber and avocado, salmon and lemon! 

For an entree, I ordered the Surf & Surf. Yes, I am a seafood lover for sure. 

The Surf & Surf at Shaw's comes with steamed Alaskan red king crab legs and an 8 oz. Maine lobster tail. I was truly in my glory. And shockingly, loving the crab even more than the lobster! 

Our table also split some sides - including Lobster Mac and Cheese and hash browns with onions. 

As usual, we demanded that there be room for dessert. The sweet-tooth crew split the peach and blueberry cobbler (yum!) the creme brulle (pretty bland), and the raspberry pie (delicious). 

DAY ELEVEN - June 10 

The day I had been waiting for! Waking up at 4:45 a.m. to run 4 miles to the 6:00 a.m. NP_CHI workout with Tina! 

We headed out and got to watch a beautiful sunrise. It's amazing to me how one minute you're in the middle of the city and the next you're at the beach! I know NY is along the water too, but Chicago was just different!

As Tina and I ran, we got more and more concerned with the fact that our blue dot on Google maps didn't seem to be getting any closer to the workout. 

Turns out, we were definitely further than anticipated - more like 6 or 7 miles. We walked/ran and to our delight, when we arrived late, it actually started at 6:30 - not 6:00 - we were right on time! 

(Most awesome tagging I've ever seen!) 

The Chicago tribe leaders had planned an entire hockey-themed workout that was AWESOME! Everyone was super friendly (obviously) and I loved that it was a small, fairly new tribe so everyone was still getting to know each other. The workout was legit - wheelbarrow racing while passing a ball back and forth really does a number on your abs! 


It was the most I had run since Brooklyn, and it didn't feel great. But it DID feel great to cross another NP off the list. NYC, DC, SF, CHI! 

We took an Uber back to the hotel (Thanks, Patrick!) and I took a nap before getting ready for a long day at the arena - another game day! 

I made a friend outside our trailer!

To be continued...