Hiiii friends! First and foremost, I want to throw out a big sorry out there for being pretty much M.I.A. the last four days! There has been so much going on outside of the house, it has been a bit of a challenge for me to keep myself focused on work inside.
Scott and I just got back from Chicago late last night, and what I originally planned to be a post about sights, restaurants, and odds and ends of the city has turned into a few stories for you!
A few of you might remember the last time Scott and I went to Chicago for a quick trip over Christmas. Being (a usual) less than five hour drive, it is pretty easy for us to hop on over there to see some friends across Lake Michigan when we have a few days off.
We decided for the first time to board Roadie at our local PetsHotel. It is an overnight doggie daycare connected and run by PetSmart! I had never heard of this before moving up to Michigan, but I found out they have them all across the U.S.
On our way out Friday morning, we dropped him off with confidence that they would do a good job taking care of him. We made sure to include at least an hour of play time, as well as a kong and doggie ice cream treat every day we were gone.
Upon his return, we got a behavior slip noting everything he experienced and how he did every day. Great to know and have around!
Getting Into the City
By the time we got out the door and on our way, it was close to almost 1 p.m. Friday. We had a great ride in and did not experience any traffic or hold ups until the last hour. There has been a lot of flooding in and around Chicago, which has caused a lot of the major roads and some highways to close down.
After outsmarting our GPS, Scott and I made it back onto the highway just in time for Friday evening rush hour.
Growing up in Orlando, I have experience a fair share of downtown traffic, but I have to give the “much worse/more annoying traffic” award to Chicago. For a good hour (and only a few exits of movement), we entertained ourselves by singing along with the radio and pumping ourselves up for the weekend.
We arrived to our friend Barry’s house just outside of downtown right in time to watch the capture of the Boston bomber. The three of sat glued to the television, only catching up on life during the commercials for at least an hour.
I know a lot of people (myself included) are still thinking about and praying for Boston often!
Later on, we got ready and met a friend of ours out for dinner and drinks. While on trips, I usually document every stop of the way and leave excited to fill you guys in on everything! This one, however, I decided to take a step back and just enjoy time with my friends.
We ate at a list of unique and fun restaurants, experienced some great nightlife, and about halfway through our weekend, I realized I hadn’t documented any of it. I forgot my camera at home, and used that as my excuse to simply unplug for the weekend. As much as it bothered me that I had not even published a “we’re off to Chicago” post on Friday, I accepted it and used that as my jump start to taking a weekend off of blogging.
Today, I feel ready to get back at it and share some wonderful things I have sitting on deck with you!
(Back to the trip!)
What originally prompted our stay in Chicago was a Bridal Shower in honor of friend (and former bridesmaid), Heather. Her wedding is coming up next month, and with most of her fiance’s family residing in Chicago, I was able to drive over and attend one of her Bridal Shower’s up here!
As I set off for the hour drive to Lincolnshire, the boys left for a day of doing who knows what together.
Together, you just never know what is in store.
I arrived to Heather’s Bridal Shower Brunch at Walker Bro. Pancake House just around 1 p.m. I was the only bridesmaid there (since her main shower will be this coming weekend in Florida), and it was great to be there and support “her” side of the party.
I had already openly planned to steal her away after the shower, and the two of us drove back into the city and enjoyed a Starbucks date before heading back to hang with the boys.
It never fails… when together, Heather and I often asked if we are sisters, or even twins. The funniest time was when we were heading to South America together (oh, how I wish I blogged back during this time in my life where I traveled across the globe!) and were going through airport security. We both had our licenses out, and as we were passing the security attendant smiled and asked, “Hey… are you girls twins?”
I guess having the same first names, different last names, different address, and different birthdays did not answer the question for her, and we both replied our standard answer of, “Haha, we are just close friends!”
After a few hours of catching up (which was SO great to finally get to do!) we made our way back over to Barry’s to get ready for the night’s festivities.
With our Detroit Pistons already into the off season, it is nice to be able to root for another team in this year’s playoffs. The Chicago Bulls are currently playing the Brooklyn Nets in the first round, and off we went to meet some friends and watch the game.
I had never been to the Lincoln Park area before, and I absolutely adored it. After a quick stop over to Heather’s future in-law’s townhouse a few blocks away, we joined the boys and a few more friends.
Kim (second from the left) is a friend of ours from Orlando, who now lives in Chicago. It is pretty safe to say the boys are almost never taking “smiley” group photos.
Not too much longer, a familiar-ish face also walks in. The -ish part is attached simply because I had never actually met Tanya before. She has been a follower of the blog for quite some time, and the two of us have recently been exchanging late-night Friends quotes via Twitter over the past couple of months.
Eventually, we also made the connection that we both know Barry and when I found out we were coming to Chicago, it was clear that we had to finally meet. Hey, Tanya!
What both of us found funny is how random the situation is, if you really think about it. As she was telling her friends exactly who she was going to meet out that night, they were pretty confused. If you take an active part in the online blogging community world, however, then you completely understand!
There is a large group of people I connect with in the healthy living communities, and I love when I finally get to meet them in person. It is usually an instant connection!
Throughout the night, our group kept growing and I was so excited to have a few different circles of my friends all in the same spot.
Especially this nugget!
Want to know something even funnier? Kim danced with me back in Orlando, but has also known Scott longer than I have. In fact, the two even roomed together for a year back at our old condo. Now she lives up here, and met Barry through the world of NBA sports entertainment.
This world we all live in is just so, so small.
Brunch + Some Much Needed R&R
As much as I wanted to go tour the city, take pictures of The Bean, and enjoy the beautiful weather outside, the boys and I took our time waking up and headed over to meet Kim and some others for a late brunch.
The whole unplugged feeling carried over, and instead of asking people to take our pictures, I sat back and enjoyed brunch… which turned into lunch… which turned into dinner. For about three hours, a group of six of us enjoyed catching up, a ton of laughs, and a little friend snacking.
Umm… did any of you notice the random leaves sprinkled on top of the fries on the left? That was the result of Barry asking for some All-Seasoned Salt. They brought us a tine ramekin of basil leaves, but the best part was that they did not even smell like basil. Try to explain that one.
My favorite snack/part of dinner, was a plate of sweet potato fries on the right. I am just obsessed with those, although they miiiiight come in a close second to the “basil leaves”. 😉
A little resting time after dinner turned into a movie night at home with the boys. Per usual, Barry spoiled us with a few batches of his famous (and incredibly seasoned) popcorn.
We planned to leave for home Monday morning, but instead Scott set-up camp to get some work done there. Since I did not have my laptop with me, I used that time to enjoy some much needed R&R.
I felt bad for not checking into the blog for a while, but at the same time valued a full weekend to unplug and enjoy my friends without them feeling like it will all show up on the Internet later.
Well… looks like it did anyways, kids! Oops.
On the drive home, Scott and I both agreed we will be back to Chicago this summer. Next time, we will see a Broadway show, explore the city, and find some great things to photograph and share with you.
Until then… it’s back to grind (and normal, healthy food).
Have a great afternoon!