Hyatt Regency McCormick Place: Room With a View

Chicago Cityscape

Hotel accommodation provided by Hyatt Regency McCormick Place and The Chicago Auto Show in conjunction with my travel and other consideration.

During my time at the Chicago Auto Show’s Media Preview, I stayed at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, a very comfortable hotel that is conveniently connected to McCormick Place, the convention center where the Chicago Auto Show was held. This meant that I could walk right to the show from my hotel without once stepping foot in that cold Chicago snow! But I could certainly admire the snow thanks to the beautiful view:

Chicago Snow

My room had a large window overlooking the city, so I was treated to a fantastic view of the Chicago cityscape dusted in snow.

Hotel window

Chicago at night

Nighttime cityscape

In addition to the view, I also enjoyed watching the flatscreen TV in my room! Business trips like this are always jam-packed, so I enjoyed flopping down on the comfortable bed and catching a few minutes of mindless reality TV before passing out for the night. I’d love to stay here again when I have more time to relax, because it’s a great place to stay!

My room at Hyatt Regency McCormick Place

When I stay at a hotel that I plan to write about, I tend to look at it with a slightly more critical eye than I might normally, since I feel it’s important to be fair and think of things that might bother other travelers, even if they don’t phase me. If I stay at a hotel and notice a spot of dust on the baseboards, it makes me personally feel relieved – I’m a perfectionist when it comes to myself and so I never feel like my own home looks good enough no matter how much work I put into it, even though I truly could not care less about how anyone else keeps their home. It makes me feel better to realize that no hotel I’ve ever stayed at has ever matched the museum-quality that I expect of myself, so I breathe a sigh of relief to think that maybe no one care about the dust under my fridge after all. ;) There was one cleanliness nitpick I had that could have been bothersome, but I didn’t care enough to call anyone to change it so I don’t know that it’s even fair to bring it up. The staff were extremely attentive in responding to any request I had, so if it had bothered me enough to mention, it would have been immediately addressed.

Hyatt Regency McCormick Place bathroom

Bathroom mirror

My room had a big mirror and sink adjacent to the shower and commode, so there was plenty of room for my cosmetics. See how nicely arranged my hair items are on the counter? That was how housekeeping had tidied my items when they cleaned the room. I thought that was a nice touch and attention to detail!

One thing I noticed about the shower was that it poured a LOT of water on the floor event though I closed the curtain tightly. It didn’t matter since the floor was all tiled, but housekeeping must have thought I was nuts for using so many towels every day – I just didn’t want to be a huge slob and leave the floors flooded!

I had a lot of other requests for the staff during my stay, which felt weird since I don’t like to be high-maintenance! The first night, the zipper on my purse broke, and I asked the front desk if they had pliers I could use to try and fix it. They called in someone from maintenance who gave me his pliers to try. I wasn’t able to fix my purse, but I appreciated the help!

The second night, I scheduled my first-ever “Wake up call”, which I promptly canceled since I woke up early. I also called the front desk to ask for extra paper products, and someone came to my room very soon with that plus extra and towels. But the area that impressed me the most was the “Convenience Collection” card in my room, which listed a bunch of items that you could call the front desk and ask for. These included larger items you could borrow, like a flat iron, as well as additional toiletries that were yours to keep upon request. I noticed that the list had a sewing kit on it, which I thought might be really handy since my purse zipper was broken! So, I called the front desk and asked for the sewing kit, plus a laundry bag since I had forgotten to bring enough bags for my dirty clothes. I believe I asked for the “Vanity kit” as well since it included a emery board and my nails keep breaking. They advised me that they’d hang a bag with the items on my door shortly, and I’ll tell you what, they must have gotten there fast – I took a shower, and when I was done, my items were already waiting. Did I mention that this was around 4:30 in the morning? But it gets better.

Hyatt Regency McCormick Place amenities

They didn’t just bring me the items I requested – they gave me at least two of pretty much every item on the list. Toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash, makeup remover, deodorant, shaving gel, razors, a small hairbrush and more. These weren’t just “Hotel brand” toiletries – the deodorant and shaving gel were both the exact same brands I am loyal to and buy myself. They even gave me 2 sewing kits! This was one of those small touches that I really appreciated. Next time I stay at Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, I’ll know that I can pack way lighter since they have so many of the things I use already on hand.

In all, I really enjoyed my stay – it’s been a treat getting to spend a little more time in Chicago lately, and I loved the fabulous view and great amenities that Hyatt Regency McCormick Place has to offer. I hope to stay here again in the future!

Celebrating Milestone Birthdays With Jewellery World

Gift Box

Product provided by Jewellery World for review.

My 21st birthday was a very memorable and fun day; I’m still touched by how much trouble my friends and family went to in making it an extra special memory. Fun fact: This year marks the 10th anniversary of my 21st birthday. Where oh where does the time go?!

At any rate, I try to keep the tradition going and think of special ways to commemorate the milestones of my loved ones. A special someone that I know is turning 21 this year, and I’ve been thinking about what to get her. I recently had a browse through a site called Jewellery World, which carries all kinds of rings, bracelets, necklaces and more. I thought this would be a great place to look for something special, and I think I found a piece that fits the bill:

"21" Wishbone Pendant

This “21″ Wishbone Pendant is made of 9 ct yellow gold and retails for $61.98. It’s dainty, has a fun design, and I love that it is emblazoned with the number 21, making it a keepsake of this milestone birthday.

Wishbone Pendant

The Wishbone Pendant comes in its own small gift box, ready to go – no wrapping required! I think this will be just the ticket for a fun birthday gift.

Visit JewelleryWorld.com for more fun pieces!

Do you have any fun memories of your 21st birthday?

How to Drain a Hot Water Heater

How to Drain a Hot Water Heater

Hot water heater and accessories provided for review by Ecotone Products.

Last month, Jai embarked on the project of installing a new hot water heater in our home – a first for both of us. We anticipated it being a big project, and while it is a lot of work to move and install large appliances – especially when it involves plumbing! – this actually went more smoothly than anticipated. Jai learned some new skills from this project, which took about 2 days to complete from start to finish. Jai wanted to share a helpful tip on how to drain a hot water heater, so he filmed a short video for those of you who are about to install a new hot water heater in your own home. You can also get a look at our sleek new Rheem Marathon Hot Water Heater!

How to Drain a Hot Water Heater

Ecotone Products are a local business based out of Fairview, Oregon. Their online store, GP Conservation Products, carries a slew of hot water heaters for every need – check them out at GPConservation.com or give them a call at (503) 907-2899.

Do you have any hints for installing a hot water heater?

Kia: New Cars, Dancing Hamsters & The Matrix

Kia K900

Travel consideration provided by The Chicago Auto Show.

The first press conference I attended at The Chicago Auto Show Media Preview was put on by Kia. I enjoyed the Kia Sorento that I test drove a few years back, so I was curious to see what their newest models would have to offer.

Kia K900 Interior

On display was the Kia K900, the only car that has Morpheus as a spokesperson. They showed us the Matrix-themed commercial on the big screen, which was awesome for this Matrix fan!

Kia Press Conference

During the press conference, Kia unveiled several new cars, including the 2015 Kia Soul EV and the 2014 Optima Hybrid, as well as their Niro Hybrid concept vehicle.

Kia Dancing Hamster

At the end of the press conference, they brought out these “Dancing hamsters” and let us get a closer look at the new cars. When I was looking at the press materials after the event, Jai spotted me in the crowd in some of the photos:

Press at The Kia Announcement

Photo courtesy The Chicago Auto Show

It’s like a Where’s Waldo picture! ;)

Me at Kia Press Conference

Photo courtesy The Chicago Auto Show

Making an Entrance: The 2015 Subaru Legacy

2015 Subaru Legacy

My travel, accommodations and related items provided by the Chicago Auto Show.

Out of all the new car debuts at the Chicago Auto Show Media Preview, the most memorable was probably when Subaru revealed the 2015 Subaru Legacy. A giant “3D printer” stood on the stage and was slowly pulled up to reveal the 2015 Subaru Legacy inside. It was a pretty dramatic reveal!

Giant Replica 3D Printer

2015 Subaru Legacy Reveal

2015 Subaru Legacy in Smoke

2015 Subaru Legacy Side View

Subaru Press Conference

Introducing The 2015 Subaru Legacy

Subaru also knows how to throw a pretty sweet party, as I discovered when I attended their Sweet Home Chicago 2014 party that evening. (Check out this photo of me at the party taken by IDM Photography!)

Subaru Party

After taking my photo and giving me a commemorative pin, I had my choice of snacks, from a Subaru lollipop to a wheelbarrow full of chips. We danced to Journey cover songs and ate cola cupcakes – my kind of shindig!

Hyundai: Your #1 Source For Zombie Survival Vehicles

Zombie Survival Machine

Travel consideration provided by the Chicago Auto Show. All zombie-fighting skills are my own.

If you’re going to survive a zombie apocalypse, you’re probably going to need a getaway car. I’ve already received my Zombie Hunting Permit, so all I’m missing now is a bugout vehicle! Fortunately, Hyundai had a special display of its Zombie Survival Machines for viewing at the Chicago Auto Show.

Zombie Getaway Car

Hyundai Zombie

Bugout Vehicle

Zombie

Survive The Zombie Apocalypse

These vehicles are the result of the Walking Dead Chop Shop campaign, where fans of the popular zombie TV drama could customize their own bugout vehicles and compete for survival. On the final day of the Chicago Auto Show Media Preview, Hyundai received the first place WOMMA Driving Engagement Award for this clever viral marketing campaign, which was presented during a special breakfast and awards ceremony.

WOMMA Panel Discussion

After the awards ceremony, WOMMA hosted a panel discussion with industry experts regarding social media trends. From left to right – Suzanne Fanning, WOMMA President; Tanuja Singeetham, digital
champion for North America, Nestlé; Jennifer Wesley, head of industry, Google; and Mark Bisard,
vice president and senior counsel, American Express.

After the awards ceremony, Hyundai held a press conference discussing the Hyundai Genesis.

Hyundai Genesis Press Conference

Bloggers Working

From left to right: Myself, Kelly, Louise & Ashley. Photo courtesy the Chicago Auto Show.

Here’s a photo of me taking photos at the Hyundai press conference. ;)

2014 Veloster RE:FLEX

During the press conference, Hyundai also unveiled the 2014 Veloster RE:FLEX. The Veloster line is one of Hyundai’s popular economy cars – so that you can escape zombies without breaking the bank! ;)

New From Nissan: The 2015 Versa Note SR & Frontier Diesel Runner Powered by Cummins

Nissan Press Conference

My travel and related consideration was provided by the Chicago Auto Show; their media fly-in program is sponsored by Nissan.

During the special media preview of the Chicago Auto Show, I attended a press conference from Nissan where they debuted two new vehicles:

2015 Versa Note SR

This is the 2015 Versa Note, which will become available for purchase this spring.

Frontier Diesel Runner Powered by Cummins

Frontier Diesel Runner

This is the Frontier Diesel Runner Powered by Cummins, an awesome-looking mid-size pickup truck that has a diesel engine. Nissan is going to be looking to the market to see what their customers think of a diesel pickup truck for their needs.

Nissan Cars at The Chicago Auto Show

Nissan Leaf

Nissan Display

These new models, plus a variety of other Nissan innovations, are on display at The Chicago Auto Show – today is your last chance to check it out, so make sure to drop by if you’re in the area!

Nissan: Innovation That Excites

Nissan also hosted a special party the night before the media preview, as a way to welcome us to Chicago. We ate some yummy snacks from the slider bar and taco bar, and drank a few beers from the beer van. Yes, you heard me: Nissan had a special van on display inside the building that had beer taps fitted on the side!

Nissan Beer Van

Beers on Tap

Nissan Beer Van Friends

These two not only recommended an awesome beer for me to try, but volunteered to pose for my photo. Two thumbs up!

The $1 Million Dollar Car & Other Luxuries Spotted at The Chicago Auto Show

Bugatti Veyron 16.4

Travel, accommodations and related consideration provided by the Chicago Auto Show. No million dollar car, unfortunately! ;)

During my walk through the displays at The Chicago Auto Show, one of the most memorable parts was the number of luxury cars. And I do mean “Luxury” – that car you see pictured above is the Bugatti Veyron 16.4. The price listed on that sign? $1,487,640. Yes, you read that price tag correctly! Super Coupon Girl won’t be driving this model any time soon. ;)

Maserati Ghibli S Q4

I also attended a press conference from Maserati, who were discussing the features of the Ghibli S Q4, their new sport sedan. Fun fact: I can’t hear the names “Maserati” or “Bugatti” without getting Britney’s “Work” stuck in my head, so the song was running through my mind the entire time I browsed the high-end car displays.

Lamborghini Aventador

Lamborghini Aventador Factsheet

Lamborghini

Also on display was the slick Lamborghini Aventador. This looks just like the model that was in the Always Sunny in Philadelphia Christmas special…luckily, it doesn’t look like Frank was able to tie sandbags to this one.

Ferrari FF

Ferrari California 30

I also spotted the Ferrari FF and Ferrari California 30. The price tag on these looks like a bargain compared to the million dollar Bugatti…

BMW Press Conference

Finally, I attended a press conference from BMW where they announced their 2014 BMW 740Ld xDrive and showed off several other vehicles.

2014 BMW M6 Gran Coupe

2015 BMW M3 Sedan

2015 BMW M4 Coupe

2014 BMW 235iM Coupe

If you have fun gawking at luxury cars, these and more will be on display at The Chicago Auto Show through February 17th!

Getting Behind The Wheel of Captain America’s Car

2014 Corvette Stingray

All travel and related consideration provided by the Chicago Auto Show.

Or, more accurately, Black Widow’s car! At the Chicago Auto Show last week, Chevrolet announced that their 2014 Corvette Stingray will be featured in Captain America: Winter Soldier as Black Widow’s vehicle of choice.

Captain America

We were given the chance to hop in the driver’s seat to get a closer look, so naturally we had to take advantage of the photo opportunity!

Run, Louise, run!

Ashley! Why did you let the baby drive?! Don’t let her run over Louise!

Beeb in Black Widow's car

I tried to do my best Black Widow impression with my red hair and black suit. ;)

Captain America Chevrolet Comic

We also received limited-edition Captain America comics, which was an awesome keepsake! Chevrolet will be doing comic book giveaways on Saturday the 15th and Sunday the 16th, so if you’re in Chicago and love comic books like I do, you’ll want to stop by the Chicago Auto Show on one of those days to check it out!