Paleo & Primal Food, Wine, Travel & Living


My Visit to Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry

During my Chicago trip to run the Hot Chocolate 15K, I arranged a visit to the Museum of Science and Industry. I was particularly interested in seeing one of their exhibits, The “Smart Home“. The Smart Home is a pre-fab modular home and was conceived by Michelle Kaufmann. Here is a picture of the house, built right on the Museum’s property, and some photos of the interior of the house.
For the exhibit, the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI) partnered with Gizmodo and threw in some of the latest technology to make the house even more amazing.
The Smart Home is equipped with a home automation system that monitors and controls the energy consumption of every room and appliance, all from a single touch screen panel.
The system reports how much energy a resident consumes and produces (from the solar film on the roof or the 45-foot wind turbine on the front lawn) by the day and hour so they can discover ways to curb consumption.
The whole house can be placed in “hibernation” mode while the resident is away, and the system will lower shades, turn off lights, turn down heat/air in the house and bring energy usage to a minimum.
Let’s start with my favorite room! The kitchen! It features: Induction cooktops, built-in wall oven with speed convection to save cooking time, a tabletop composter that recycles its weight in waste every 10 days, and countertops made from mixed waste paper, recycled glass, and low carbon cement (over 50 percent post-consumer recycled content.)
The living room features vintage chairs sourced locally and upholstered in recycled car tires, a rug made from reclaimed wool from vintage kilim rugs that have been unraveled and rewoven in the Turkish countryside, a walnut console that was found in an industrial firm and was sanded down to raw wood and refinished, and metal globe stands that have been repurposed into lamps.
The dining room has a salvaged plank table, shade system with automated window treatments, dual pane windows, and a chandelier made from old CFL tubes.
In the master bath, there is a Cybertecture Mirror on the wall. It is fog-resistant and waterproof. It also can deliver the day’s time, temperature, news and traffic at a glance.
It has different light settings, keeps track of weight gain/loss, and can connects to friends on Facebook! (Not while I am in the bathroom, thanks!)
In this room there is also an anti-bacterial solar toothbrush that cleans your teeth without toothpaste by using electrons that react to acid in your saliva.
Here’s part of the garden growing outside the Smart Home and some of the patio furniture.
To hear more about Michelle Kaufmann, and how she came up with the concept for the Smart Home, you can listen to an interview with her here. And below is a time lapse of the four month construction process.

I also took pictures of some other museum exhibits that caught my eye. I’d really love to have a dress like this!
And below are garments with sensors in them that can be given a signal
via text to contract and “hug” the wearer.
During my visit, there was an exhibit called Month at the Museum. Kevin Byrne, a digital marketing analyst from Chicago lived inside MSI for 30 days during October & November. He was allowed to roam the museum at will, but this is the space where he hung out most of the time.

Another big highlight for me at the museum is this little cinema. Inside they play silent movies and animated shorts. I could have sat in there all day long.

For more information on the museum, visit their website here. You can connect with them on Facebook here, and follow them on twitter here.

Hot Chocolate 15K, Chicago. So awesome!!

Hello Chicago!!

Wow. Just wow. I just got back from a trip to Chicago to participate in the Hot Chocolate 15K. On November 5th, 2011, myself and a few THOUSAND other runners OWNED the streets of downtown Chicago. I can’t even put into words how magical it was…

I arrived in Chicago two days before the race so I could get situated and adjusted to the time change. On the day before the race, I picked up my bib and my racing packet at the Expo that is held for the Hot Chocolate 5/15K at Union Station. It was pretty cool just to be at Union Station, let alone the fact that I was here with so many others that were all set to run the race the next day.

Everything was so well organized at packet pickup.

Below is the volunteer area.

Below is the merchandise area. I could have gone a little crazy buying shirts/hats/sweatshirts in this area. It was a pretty neat little marketplace.
Below is another shot of the expo. There were shoe manufacturers and other running-centric companies that participated in the expo.

If you look closely, you can see my name and bib number in the middle of the screen. This was also taken at the expo when I picked up my bib. We all walked past an electronic device that validated our bibs. This was one of the most technologically advanced races I have been involved in. The timer was actually embedded in our bib numbers!!

So, at the end of it all…. I am so proud of myself. Running outside for 9.3 miles at under 9 minute pace is a huge accomplishment for me. I consider myself to be an actual runner now. I was thrilled to even be able to finish the race, let alone in such a decent amount of time. If you are interested in my entire race stats, you can click here.

Here are pics of me with some other runners I met at the race, as well as a picture of me after I crossed the finish line. I was ecstatic!!

Do you want to run the Hot Chocolate 5K or 15K? Or maybe want to just walk? Then go here for more information. This race has now gone national, so you could have the chance to participate very soon. Next city? Dallas, Texas on February 11th. Then San Diego, CA on March 25th. For more dates and information, please visit the Hot Chocolate 5 & 15K’s website here.You can like the Hot Chocolate 15K on Facebook here and follow all the latest news on twitter here!

Hot Chocolate 15K Set to Warm Up Chicago on November 5th, 2011!