along for the ride

I’m not sure if mother nature is extending hours in the day at this point but seriously, is it still Monday? ‘Cause … I’m over it.

Anyway, in super happy shiny news, I went to Chicago for an overnight with the ladies this past weekend. Sadly, that 28ish hour period went by much more quickly than this past one has.

We met up Saturday morning first thing (and at this point I would like to point out that I drove the greatest distance and still made it first. Well, I didn’t have CJ that morning, but still) at the only place to get great coffee in Kalamazoo – Water Street. Perfect start to the day. 
It wasn’t long and we were en route to Chicago. I’m not sure that anyone ever took a breath and the windows were pretty foggy, but the car ride seemed to fly by. We never even stopped to use the ladies’ room. Is that like some kind of record? I think it is (especially when a certain person in the vehicle may have coined a name for her bladder because it doesn’t typically last past exit number whatever). On another note, why don’t I know exit numbers but my friends from the east side of the state, Minnesota and even from as far as New Jersey do? Weird.
We arrived into town well before our check-in time but we lugged our bags (and me, my grossly over-sized suitcase – it’s all I had!) to the registration counter at Embassy Suites on Columbus. Score.

things are definitely looking up

We all grabbed a beverage (woo hoo for free!) and headed out for some shopping. I had made up my mind quite some time ago I was truly along for the ride. So, mostly I just followed and snapped some pictures. And, my friend Melanie modeled. She’s goofy like that. It is at this point that I will officially bow down to Kim as the most determined shopper in the whole entire world. Wow.

We tried to be all ‘Sex and the City’ with a stop at Magnolia Bakery, but we were really just ‘City.’ Oh, and I would have had no idea had Melissa not properly informed my naive self.

as seen on tv

definitely NOT a photo of my kitchen

adorable stop

We shopped some more and then stopped to eat (again).

practicing for my next career as a food photographer. yum.

i still got my daily allowance of fruit and veggies … and cheese

And … more shopping (at new places I’d never dreamed existed). I’m really sorry, but these bras deserved a place in the line-up.

the names slay me

doesn’t that phrase make so much more sense now??

no, it really is windy here. see, even this shirt is blowing.

We met these really nice people, too.

she’s such a natural

It rained hard twice so we managed by hiding out in a couple stores (that’s where I made my one purchase of the day. darn you, rain!). We also took two cabs … one made sense. The other? Not so much. Did you know that Embassy Suites is about 790 feet from Gap? Now we do, too.

We got back to the hotel with about an hour to freshen up and get dolled up for our reservation at RPM Italian. I know … I was like, “Ooh, cool. Revolutions Per Minute … I bet the service is fast there!” I was wrong (only about the name, to be clear). Apparently, it’s the restaurant that Bill & Giuliana Rancic own with a couple other major foodie-types. This is one of those times that I get to use the line, “I know people.” My one friend has a really, really close friend who has a friend who knows a guy who got us in at 6:30. Our original reservation options were 4:30 or 11:00 … p.m. Score again!

We walked over in the beautiful afternoon light (and heat and humidity) and spotted a Chicago Fire Department station just across the street. Of course, Melanie thought we should ask to get our picture taken near the station. Of course, I agreed. We walked over and the fire fighters were super-duper friendly (check us out, wouldn’t you be?!) and even helped us step up on to one of their engines. It was a big moment for all of us, I’m pretty sure. Then, they helped us back down. That was a bigger moment for me.

my favorite moment of the entire trip.

We spent the next three hours at dinner. It felt like I was at The Last Supper, except with Italian … and more wine. And, it was delicious. I would go back in a second (if my boss agreed to foot the bill next time). Kidding. Mostly.

at illinois and dearborn

like my new clutch? so cute.

all of this? round one.

lindsay is going to be my food stylist

We found our way back to the hotel that evening and had girl talk until about 12:30. Considering it was really 1:30 a.m. and we’d been up since 6:00ish a.m. the morning before, I was exhausted. I was fortunate enough to call the pull-out sofa the day before so I had a bed all to myself. Also, quite thankfully, I was able to swaddle myself in a blanket because the girls like it to feel a bit like Greenland while resting. I woke up Sunday morning at 6:00 a.m. Chicago time which afforded me the opportunity to go for a run on the Lakefront Trail. I’d never been and I can’t even tell you how cool that was. It was really warm but also absolutely beautiful. I love when a city can be both totally serene and yet bustling with activity at the same time. I know that last sentence doesn’t make sense. I’m still tired.

Melanie wanted to stop at Pottery Barn and who are we to turn her down? Or, at least me. I would never do such a thing. We checked out of the hotel and made our way to Lincoln Park where we stopped for brunch at Toast. I ate more fruit and veggies and cheese. Oh, and eggs. And coffee. I hit all the major food groups, people! Really, though, I could’ve just eaten the toast. I’ll tell you what … those people know how to do bread.

everything sunday brunch should be

i could not have had any more reminders at this place of my little guy. cute babes and stuffed critters in abundance.

We had to wait briefly for the stores to open (ask Melissa her thoughts about stores opening at 11 on Sundays, or just read her letter to the mayor), but it was well worth it. I’ve never been into a “real” Pottery Barn. We used to have one at the mall and I spend plenty of time on their website but, I think I slept in at least three of their beds. And a chair. Then, Melanie told me I was embarrassing her. Whatever.

i die.

I drove home and I think by the time we arrived we were all half-asleep, but it was a great weekend with some wonderful women. It’s amazing when a group of girls can get together and be thatclose for that many hours and get along the entire time. But then again, I was only along for the ride. And I was perfectly fine with that.

love and dessert. it’s all women really need.

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