My family and I had a wonderful weekend in Chicago for my birthday weekend! It was a jam packed Saturday as we all got up early and met at the train station to head into the big city. It was a fun day of firsts for my parents as it was their first time on a train, subway and Uber. Check out the bottom photos for my ultimate (book related) birthday surprise!
Wrigley Field: Cubs vs. Nationals
Our train was full of jolly Cubs fans headed to a the game that afternoon, ultimately inspiring us to purchase tickets. It turned out to be quite the adventure navigating the packed subway. Wrigley Field was beautiful on this hot sunny day and it was easy to see why the Cubs have such a large fan base.
Hamilton: The PrivateBank Theatre
The inspiration for our trip to Chicago revolved around my family purchasing tickets for the pop culture craze of Hamilton back in November. Needless to say, it was a long ten months. Of course, I was rather impatient and saw the show for the first time back in March with the talented Wayne Brady starring as Aaron Burr. The show was just as amazing the second time around!
Cloud Gate (The Bean) – Millennium Park
With our train leaving early from Millennium Park early the next morning we decided to stop by the iconic Bean to show my parents. Of the many times I’d been at the Bean, I’d never been there at 7AM on a Sunday. There were so few people surrounding the structure, offered quite the unique viewing and was definitely my favorite time having visited!
My Birthday and ARC Competition for The Core by Peter V. Brett
After the whirlwind of a weekend in Chicago, I got to celebrate my birthday on Monday! My parents make the trek to come bring me cupcakes and get dinner to celebrate my 31 years.
In other exciting news, Peter V. Brett’s ARC diorama contest winners were announced on the very same day as my birthday! Harkening back to my youth, I loved the idea of coming up with a diorama, eventually bombarding my coworkers with my potential concepts. I ended up choosing The Warded Man‘s iconic scene of Arlen crippling One Arm to attempt to as a diorama. To create a ward circle, I copied and pasted different wards that I could find online into our design software, eliminating their white background and arranging the images into a circle. I toyed with the medium to use for the base, e.g., colored paper, transparencies, white paper, and settled on a transparency as it would adapt readily to the background I ended up choosing. I attempted to clear coating Saran wrap tied around a basketball with spray paint give form to the barrier protecting Arlen, however that was a major failure. Adapting, I began to focus on my rock demon, which I wanted to be my centerpiece. I convinced my parents and grandma to help me scour the gravel driveway for stones that would work. I’m sure we made quite the sight! The process of super gluing the rocks together was frustrating to say the least, as I ended up with glue in my hair, all over my hands, and at one point on my tongue. As I am not overly artistic, hence the chemist background, I searched through my brothers’ old toys for an appropriate representation of Arlen. The angle I chose to take the picture was important as I didn’t want to make it obvious the character I was using (Anakin Skywalker). In that way the viewer could pretend at least that he was the hero from The Demon Cycle Series. Once I had all my individual pieces ready, I set them up on a massive rock at the edge of my parent’s cornfield to give a rural background to the image. If you look closely, my fragile rock demon is propped up by a stick as we were all concerned with him toppling over. I submitted my final entry into the contest in late July and waited with bated breath. As such, it was a wonderful birthday surprise that I was selected as one of the winners of the ARC books! I couldn’t wait to get The Core in the mail and have been devouring it every since finding the anticipated package in my mailbox! With 100 or so pages to go, I’m absolutely loving this action packed final installment of the Demon Cycle Series! Stay tuned for a review later this week!