Strawberry balsamic cupcake and a chocolate covered strawberry martini. How to Spend a Weekend in Champaign, Illinois.

How to Spend a Weekend in Champaign, Illinois.

Weekend in Champaign: Thursday

I hit the road just before 6pm. Summer scheduling at work = every other Friday off = eight three- (or four-) day weekends this summer = the perfect chance to go hang out for a weekend in Champaign with people I never see anymore.

I arrived at about 8:30 and Jeff and I took off for the University of Illinois quad to watch a movie. We stopped in to Home of Gourmet Chinese and Thai Food Restaurant so I could get some dinner and get a fix for the best beef with oyster sauce I’ve ever had anywhere (it was always my favorite Chinese food on campus).

On the way to the quad I called Brian, who I told I’d meet there. As the phone was ringing I spotted him walking up ahead. He didn’t pick up so I just decided to go and walk behind him until he noticed. As we were walking he pulled out his phone, saw that I called and called me back. “Hi I saw I missed your call” he said. “Hi Brian!” I said really loud, into my phone, from right behind him. The girls he was with had thought I was some crazy person who was walking too close for no reason. hehehe.

Watching a movie on the quad in Champaign, Illinois. How to Spend a Weekend in Champaign, Illinois.

So I met up with Brian and Jack and Caroline and Jeff and James and Lindsay and MattG (not another Matt on this blog) and Sid and Sarah and JenPlec and Andrew and Kurt and Marc and Heather and Josh and Tobey and Layla. And I think that I listed everyone. And we watched Back to the Future out on the quad. And I spent most of the time going back and forth sitting with everyone and playing with dogs and pretending to be a dog and dropping grass in people’s ears.

Watching a movie on the quad in Champaign, Illinois. How to Spend a Weekend in Champaign, Illinois.

After the movie Jeff and I headed downtown to go to the cupcake bar but it was closed so instead we headed to the Blind Pig. Matt met up with us later and I sipped some Duchesse De Bourgogne and Lindemans Pomme. We played darts and I told Matt and Jeff that they couldn’t laugh when it bounced off the wall. And then they laughed anyways.

After that we headed to Jupiter’s Pizza and I had a Lindemans framboise and a shot of goldschlager which took me about 7 tries to get fully down.

And after those 3 beers and 1 shot (insert foreshadowing here) I was pretty drunk and made Jeff drive my car home.

Jeff: You car is pretty loose.

Val: Just like its owner.


Weekend in Champaign: Friday

Jeff and I headed to Rocks for lunch to get horseshoes. I told him I wasn’t a girly eater and that I would eat the whole thing. I ended up eating about half. If you don’t know, a horseshoe is a piece of texas toast, topped with meat (I had hamburger), topped with french fries, topped with cheese sauce. And it’s delicious. But huge.

Eating a horseshoe in Champaign, Illinois. How to Spend a Weekend in Champaign, Illinois.

We sat around for the afternoon watching Indiana Jones and I am now definitely sure I have never seen it before (I’d never seen any of them). But it was very good. Then we headed off to the pool to relax. We were tossing around a ball like thing and I learned I really do throw like a girl because it didn’t even make it half way across the pool.

For dinner Jeff and I met up with James and Sean and Lindsay at Famous Dave’s BBQ. The bbq salmon I got was tasty but they gave me the wrong side and no bread. I didn’t complain though because I wasn’t that hungry anyways and figured it would be one less thing I’d eat.

When we got back to Jeff’s place there was some yellow things all over the floor. Everyone was like “What is that? What did Tobey (the dog) get into?” I looked and immediately fell over the couch laughing. It took everyone else a little longer to catch on as to what went on. Yes, yes, my friends. The dog had gone into my bag, found a box of tampons, ripped it open and threw them all over the floor.

Yeah…so, anyways…

That night we headed out to Murphy’s, which was my favorite campus bar while I was at U of I. Sid came out in all his gimpiness. And Doug, who I would say I haven’t seen in forever but I’d just seen him last weekend, came too. We sat around and played cards. When no one could decide what to play I just started dealing Go Fish, because it’s the only game I know how to play. But Go Fish between that many people is hard because you use up all the cards fast so you run out of fishies in the pond. We played poker and I needed to cheat because I don’t know how. I watched people play spades and finally figured out how they were playing but never figured out how they were scoring. I drank three whiskey sours and couldn’t stand up (foreshadowing).

And I will leave you with the most thought provoking thought of the night:

James: (who wasn’t drinking the whole weekend because he stabbed himself in the leg): I don’t need water to get drunk!


Weekend in Champaign: Saturday

Went to the pool again. Made myself dizzy swimming in circles.

Went to Taste of Champaign which is kind of like Taste of Chicago but small. Very small. We didn’t buy any food. Met up with James and Sean there and Jeff refused to let me take his photo in front of the bluest water fountain and we tried to play where’s James, which is kind of like Where’s Waldo. Jeff won.

Jeff in front of the fountain in Champaign, Illinois. How to Spend a Weekend in Champaign, Illinois.

Went to the cupcakes and booze place and I was the only one who got cupcakes and booze. Everyone else got cupcakes and gelato. I had a yumtastic strawberry balsamic cupcake and a chocolate covered strawberry martini (martini 1 of the day).

Strawberry balsamic cupcake and a chocolate covered strawberry martini. How to Spend a Weekend in Champaign, Illinois.

Later it was on to Guido’s for dinner with everyone to celebrate Josh’s last weekend in Champaign. He’s heading out to California for a bit and then moving to CHICAGO!!! I got grilled cheese.

Grilled cheese at Guido's Bar in Champaign. How to Spend a Weekend in Champaign, Illinois.

Then it was on to Crane Alley where we agreed to meet everyone but found out they all went home (but were coming back). So we headed to Bunny’s Tavern instead so Benge could get these breadstick things. We got Miller Lite and I drank a glass and a half or so faster than Jeff. It tastes like Heineken and since I drank Heineken nonstop for a week in Amsterdam I can drink light beers now without making my signature face. Benge also forced me to eat a part of his breadstick. That sentence can sound as dirty as you want to make it sound.

After finishing our beer we headed back to Crane Alley where everyone else had shown up. I started out with a Tom Collins (drink 3 of the day) and chatted up Sid and Sarah and JenPlec and Andrew.

Josh was playing the “credit card game” where he took everyone’s credit card who wanted a shot, put it in a hat, and whoever’s got chosen by the bartender paid for the round of shots. I did not participate because I can’t take shots. Of course, Josh completely forgot that I didn’t put one in and ordered me one anyways and made me take it.

Taking Shots. How to Spend a Weekend in Champaign, Illinois.

We got a “lunch box” which includes amaretto and beer and other things and is one of those thingys where you drop a shot glass into a bigger glass and chug. Everyone else finished in like 0 seconds. I took what felt like five minutes and probably was more like ten. I only had to restart twice. And that was because everyone who finished 10 minutes earlier was watching me and making comments such as:

“Is she even making any progress?”


“I think she’s making negative progress.”

and it made me laugh and I had to stop for a second before going again.

I eventually finished the glass.

Drink 4. Remember how on Friday I couldn’t walk straight after three drinks? And how on Thursday 3 beers and a shot made me pretty darn drunk?

On to drink 5 when I found out that they had a yummy martini menu. I got a tira misu martini which was absolutely delicious.

At some point Heather and I decided to make a dirty mix on the juke box which included “Lets Get it On.”

Heather and a martini at the bar in Urbana. How to Spend a Weekend in Champaign, Illinois.

Me and Heather drunk at a bar in Urbana. How to Spend a Weekend in Champaign, Illinois.

At some point Heather decided to steal my camera and take lots of photos.

At some point Andrew got a Pizza Beer that tasted nothing like pizza.

On to drink 6 when I ordered a peach martini when I should have just stolen the one Heather had on the table and hadn’t finished.

At some point I started playing a round of pool with Heather but she gave up and passed her cue to James. I totally won and didn’t cheat at all.

Playing pool in Urbana. How to Spend a Weekend in Champaign, Illinois.

Me and James at the bar in Urbana. How to Spend a Weekend in Champaign, Illinois.

On to drink 7 when Jen insisted I get another martini with her and I got a blueberry pie one. Did I mention that this was my fourth martini of the day? And that Sarah had told me earlier that she can never handle more than one???

So you know Val is drunk when she willingly does a shot. And you know Val is screwed when she takes a little sip of the shot and goes from perfectly fine (drunk, but fine) to ready to pass out.

And yeah. So I got sick, basically passed out (someone took a photo to prove it), almost forgot my hoodie, almost got sick in Jeff’s car, definitely got sick at Jeff’s apartment, and definitely blanked out for a bit in the bathroom. Oh to be in college again.

Passed out at a bar in Urbana. How to Spend a Weekend in Champaign, Illinois.


Weekend in Champaign: Sunday

Woke up. That’s an accomplishment in itself.

Went to breakfast with Benge and those two people I don’t remember names of and Heather. Got toast because I was quite sure eggs or meat or anything remotely slimy would make me sick.

Went back to Jeff’s and watched Food Network. He complained that Jamie Oliver made bad pizzas but I said it didn’t matter because he is hot and has an accent and cooks, which is really the only three qualities a guy needs. (Granted the pizzas did have oysters IN THE SHELLS on them…how the heck do you eat that?)

Watched Indiana Jones Part 2.

Watched more Food Network.

Drove home.



I still feel hung over. Seriously. The moral of this story is that I either have to never drink again or start drinking way more often so I can handle it. The second moral of the story is that hanging out with the crew in Champaign makes for a totally awesome weekend.

Hi, I'm Val. I spent most of my 20s in a standstill, unable to pick which path in life I wanted to take. I wanted the nomadic life of a traveler but also wanted the husband, the condo, and the kitten. Unable to decide which life I wanted more, I did nothing. When I turned 30 I’d had enough of putting my life on hold and decided to start “choosing my figs.” So, I quit my job, bought a one-way ticket to Europe, and traveled for three years. Now I'm back in Chicago, decorating my apartment in all the teal, petting my cats, and planning my next adventure.

  • Heather
    June 23, 2008at9:31 pm

    The best part of the night was when I decided on the walk home that I need to buy a new camera and become a professional photographer.
    and the fact that I somehow remembered that enough the next morning to look up cameras on

  • Jeff
    June 23, 2008at10:51 pm

    (a) I look skeazy in all those pictures unshaven.
    (b) in the picture on the quad, i look like i have the smallest palest legs of all time ever forever

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