3 days in a city that I love with these girls that I love. Epic. Pedicures, kitchen hair cuts, late nights, an odd thrift store thief, strangers on the train and how lucky are we, cops warning us of our safety, bright lights, losing our way, subways, magnificent mile, getting kicked off the fountain, 45 minute photo shoot at the Bean, Garrett's popcorn, shopping, Giordano's pizza, eating patries at a corner cafe, Blazers, cops with checkered caps, street performers, Willis getting the blame at the Hershey's store, movies and girl talk, sleeping in, laughing until we can't breathe, Dr. Pepper, temple drive by,
Sear's Willis Tower, Navy Pier, Obama's house, Andy's frozen custard and barely making my flight. Phew, there's our weekend in a nutshell and here's a whole gaggle of pictures and details if you've got the stamina.
I've been so excited for this girls weekend with my sisters. I always get anxious before I leave my babies, but I had enough magazines to distract me during the 3 hour flight and by the time I got there I forgot all my worries and had the best time with my sisters. I only wish all of my sisters and sister in laws could have made it, next time, next time...
We spent the first night at Jennifer's cute house in Michigan city. It was so fun to see her life and especially Dallas, who is quite possibly the cutest almost two year old that I know. She gave us all haircuts in her kitchen that morning then we treated ourselves to pedicures at her cosmetology school. I loved seeing this part of her life. We went thrifting that evening and had the oddest thing happen. I was so excited about the 10/$1 book sale they had and spent forever digging through all of the books and found some real gems, some of their favorite chapter books like Magic Treehouse, Sheila the Great, Jigsaw Jones and tons of hardcover childhood classics. I was super stoked. Then I scored and found a couple really cute skirts, my favorite was a peach Ann Taylor pencil skirt for $3. I grabbed a few little boy ties, which are hard to come by and was so excited about my loot. I stepped into the dressing room to try on one last skirt before leaving and when I came out my cart was nowhere to be found. I thought maybe an employee started reshelving it since it was almost closing time, but nobody had seen it and it had completely vanished. I was baffled and so sad! Then when we were at the register talking about it the cashier overheard us and told us that a woman just came and bought everything in my cart! What the heck?!? Like who does that?? She didn't even try on the clothes and what are the chances that she had kids the same ages as mine with the same interests and that we wore the same size clothes? It creeps me out that she must have followed me around watching me do all the hard work and then stole everything the minute she had a chance. I am mostly sad about all those books. She obviously has issues. And I wasn't going to let it ruin our weekend. I only referred to it about every half hour.
We decided that we needed to be as un-white, un-niave and un-touristy as we could be if we were going to head into downtown chicago on the subway at midnight. I lost all my street cred when I had to open my mouth to the stranger we met. There was a guy on the train who overheard us trying to figure out what station to get off of and what line we needed to connect to to get to our hotel. He told us he was going to the same connecting station and we could follow him. In my heart of niave hearts, I really think he was just trying to be nice and help out some clearly vulnerable girls, but Inside Edition has taught me that serial killers look like the guy next door and none of us were comfortable walking through dark streets and alleys with a guy we didn't know. He kept trying to talk to us and at one point he asked what our names were. It was the most awkward silence E.V.E.R. nobody was going to tell him our names and so to break the silence I blurted out the first thing that came to my head, "um, our husbands said we're not supposed to talk to strange men." Seriously, Jamie. Not even a fake name or a, "we're not comfortable with that". Sometimes I wonder about myself. I may have sounded like a 5 year old, but atleast we made it safely to our hotel.
We finally made it to sleep around 2 AM and slept in until 9:45, I don't even know what universe that exists in. We stayed outside the city, because who knew September was one of the busiest months to visit Chicago and all the prices were through the roof. We took the train in and spent the day as tourists. I've been coming to this city since I was a little girl visiting my grandpa's work right down town and swimming in Lake Michigan, which I thought was the ocean until I was like 12. Then my parents lived here several years ago, but no matter how many times I come I never get tired of this city. So much to do, so little time, so much to eat and not enough meals.
Everytime I'm in a big city I am reminded just how sheltered I am. This was some muslim protest. Of course there are always the strung out crazies talking and screaming to themselves, the homeless hiding out in doorstops, and enough people watching that it could become my full time job. I have to periodically remind myself to stop staring.
A power hungry cop came whizzing up on his segway to inform us with a smug smile that he saw us jumping through the cameras and that standing on the fountain was prohibited. A sign would have been nice. Atleast we got a picture. Pretty good herky if I do say so myself.
How fun is this? Whatever genious bred the idea to create a giant silver bean in the middle of a city was really onto something.
And then we found something we could legally jump off of. Because pictures of grown women jumping just never gets old.
I never thought I would wait in a line that wrapped around a building just for popcorn. But it was not just any popcorn, it was Chicago-style-caramel-and-cheese-that-dyes-your-fingers-orange-and-leaves-you-craving-it-for-hours-(and days)-after-it's-gone, popcorn. It was worth it, down the very last kernal.
These are always fun. Especially when they call you out of the crowd and wiggle their behind in your face while dancing to "I'm sexy and I know it".
Even though every cop we encountered after the sun went down warned us to keep all valuables hidden and to avoid looking like we were tourists (which is surprisingly hard for us), I can't help but love when the city comes alive at night. The glow, the bustle, the fancy people dressed in fancy clothes for a fancy night on the town and all of the sudden I find myself wanting to pack up our family and move into an 800 sq ft apartment just for the thrill of city life. Then I have a claustrophia induced panic attack on the subway and all bets are off.
Giordano's was a joke. It was shoulder to shoulder packed in there with a 2 hour wait, but there was no way we were coming to Chicago and not getting a slice of their artery clogging deep dish cheese pizza. I've been craving it for the past 3 years since the last time I was here. We ended up placing a take-out order, shopping for an hour then taking it to the mall food court across the street. It wasn't exactly the atmosphere we were looking for, but that pizza never disappoints (and we made everyone in the food court jealous. Someone even offered to buy it off of us).
Loved this picture, until my sister told me it looks like we're at a bachelorette party. We strolled around sipping hot chocolate and trying not to look lost before heading back to the hotel for a midnight movie and plenty of girl talk.
The next morning Jennifer's husband was so nice to come pick us up and play chauffer around the city. First stop, the temple. Always beautiful and always a breath of fresh air.
The Sears Tower. Eventhough they call it the Willis Tower now, it will always be the Sears Tower to me. I so badly wanted to go up to the glass deck on the 103rd floor, but we just didn't have time.
Navy pier. It's basically just another place to throw away money, but it does have the best views of the city and it was nice to just relax and soak it all in.
We drove around and found Obama's house. Which was blocked off by concrete barriers and secret service. After a second drive by and the stink eye from the agent in the black SUV, I thought it best to not snap any pictures. It was a beautiful neighborhood surrounded by some not so great areas and we found ourselves on one of Chicago's most infamous streets for homocide. It was scary even in the daylight. We made a quick stop at Andy's for the best frozen custard I've ever had and then barely made it on my flight after cutting to the front of the security line, thank you stranger.