Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Yelp Elite Event @ Peet's Coffee

It's been a few months since I've been able to attend a Yelp Elite Party, due to things like working too much, training for an Ironman, and oh yeah, planning a wedding.  But last Wednesday I remedied that situation at Yelp's Elite Event at Peet's Coffee in Wheaton.  Plus we were able to take +1's so Matt was able to pop his Yelp Party cherry!

About a year ago, Caribou Coffee sold off its Chicago area market to Peet's Coffee.  Peet's has been opening some new stores in the city and now they've opened one in Wheaton.  

Chicago got hit with a terrible cold snap (thanks bombogenesis!) so I was so glad to finally get inside the cozy coffeehouse.  I parked in a parking garage and walked only about 5 minutes to get inside with a winter coat, a hat, and gloves, but I was still freezing.  I really have no idea how I will survive winter because my hands are already freezing 85% of the time.  I already planning my beach vacation for February.

The Peet's staff was walking around with all sorts of samples including drinks and food.  In no particular order, I tried a sea salt caramel mocha, dark roast coffee, rice crispie treat, banana walnut bread, and cookies.  I'm sure I'm leaving things about but they pumped me full of so many sweet treats my memory was altered.  Plus we could try a full-size drink of anything on the menu.  Since I needed food before I got the caffeine-shakes too terribly (I am fairly sensitive to caffeine and a strong cup of coffee in the morning gives me the shakes!), I picked up a cheese and fruit plate to snack on.  Matt picked up a turkey sandwich and we shared bites.  The cheese platter was really good and included brie, Parmesan, pepper jack, almonds, crackers, and apples.  

I also tried a full-size of the Jasmine Lime tea cooler. Matt was not a fan due to the sourness of the lime but I like that puckering sensation.  

The staff had a few demonstrations set up including letting people behind the counter to watch how drinks are crafted and this demonstration below with different methods for brewing coffee. 

It was very interesting to compare and contrast the different methods for brewing coffee.  We were served French press coffee, Chem-x coffee, vacuum brewed coffee, and a cup of Keurig coffee.  Plus the barista explained the different beans to us.  I found all this very fascinating.  The vacuum contraption for brewing coffee was awesome.  I will always love my French press though! 

At a Yelp event, they never let you leave empty-handed so we loaded up on some fresh coffee.  Plus the staff was passing out baked goods so I grabbed a ginger cookie for the road.  Matt went with the oatmeal cookie.  

As we were headed out, we were given gift boxes with a Peet's coffee travel mug, a bag of coffee beans, and a few Keurig K-cups.  Our coffee supply should last us a while now!

In my caffeine-fueled state, I managed to knock out quite a few wedding tasks.  Seriously I edited my programs, called a ton of people who "forgot" to return RSVPs, did one load of laundry, and cleaned part of my house.  Friday was a little rough due to little sleep the night before but I just fixed that with more coffee. 

Thanks Yelp and the new Chicago Burbs community manager, Jacqueline B., for another great event!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Chicago Marathon Spectating Report

A few Sundays ago, I joined Amy and a few of her friends to cheer on runners at the Chicago Marathon.  I love watching races and cheering on runners because it motivates me!

I stayed at Amy's on Saturday night so we could carpool into the city on Sunday morning.  And so I could sleep in a little bit plus I always enjoy hanging out with Amy.  Since Saturday was the Ironman World Championship, I spent most of the day watching the live feed in Kona.  It was a spectacular race and watching Rinny run down the leader after a 14-minute deficit off the bike was nothing short of amazing.

While at Amy's we munched on chips and salsa and got some inspiration from "Spirit of the Marathon".  If you've never watched that movie (it's on Netflix), you should, especially if you want to do a marathon.

Early Sunday morning we headed towards Chicago with Dunkin' Donuts in hand.  We were some of the first people down by mile 18 so we had prime choice of seats.  Amy was very prepared with chairs, blankets, snacks, and a cooler.  We were cheering for the Autism Speaks foundation and they provided us with signs, markers, shirts, and noisemakers! I brought my cowbell along too!

We didn't have to wait to long for the wheelchair racers to go flying by! They were impressively fast!  It was also interesting to watch them draft off each other.  In triathlon races on the bike you can get penalized for drafting--following the bike in front of you too closely. So I would venture to guess that these racers can get a lot of benefit from following behind another racer.

It wasn't long after that when the next motorcade came speeding along. These cameras were focused on the leading men of the race.  

These guys can run an entire marathon at a pace faster than I can run one mile.  

Next up was the amazingly fast women. 

The elite people are always amazing and inspiring of course.  But do you want to know what else inspires me?  The regular old people who don't get paid to run or have sponsorships.  The ones that work 40+ hour weeks and have families and other commitments and still find time to train for a marathon! The ones who are gunning for big PRs and those just trying to finish. When people tell me things like, "I could never do a marathon," I like to remind them that's it is not that they "couldn't", it's that they don't want to! It just takes a some determination and a lot of training!

I got quite a few smiles from my sign!  

And a few comments too!  One guy even came up next to me and told me he'd love to call me but it wouldn't work out because he is a Vikings fan.

But people loved my Packer's hat too so I can't complain! Go Pack Go!  The hat must have been good luck too because they pulled out a win that afternoon!

The Chicago Marathon is one of  a kind!  After watching thousands of runners pass me by, I will admit I kind of have the bug to sign up for another one! 

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