Tuesday, October 2, 2012

I Want To Go Shopping! Chicago edition

 I finally did it!  After 10 years of marriage and 2 children, I finally took that all girls trip I've been dreaming of.  I've been plenty of places but this was me, my friends and a whole lotta SHOPPING!  It was a little over 48 fantastic hours that I won't forget!

There were 9 of us total.  We managed to all be on one flight into Chicago so landing and luggage wasn't too much of an issue but the buck stopped there.  We were brave (and cheap) girls and we were going to L train it into the city instead of hailing a cab.  Well...we discover AFTER we bought weekend train tickets that there is a line down for maintenance and it was going to require us to change trains to get to our destination.  TWICE.  Now here you have to picture 9 girls and all of their belongings being carted up and down stairs inside subway tunnels.  We were sure that others did this but when we looked around, we began to doubt our big idea. That was only the beginning.
 It was rather warm inside the subway tunnels.  We were hot and hungry and for me at least, that isn't a good combination!
 We finally emerged and to our surprise and delight, we were posed right under this sign.  I think I must have been the most compelled by it as I began taking pictures and totally neglected my suitcase and left it sitting on the sidewalk while I walked around with my mouth open like I had never seen a large city before.  You ain't never seen a southern girl run faster in wedges than I did back to get that suitcase that luckily was right where I left it!
 And so begins our journey to the hotel.  We spent a while walking this way.
Then we turned around and went back the other way for a while.  Then we took a left.  Indeed, it should have been a right.  This would all have been great in the name of sightseeing but we were all dragging 50lb suitcases behind us and looked a bit like a herd of church ladies.  Maybe we were a herd of church ladies.  We were still trying to convince ourselves that walking and dragging suitcases is what all the cityfolk do and we could fit right in.  We didn't.  It might have been me behind them with the camera or the one in front with the iphone and walking directions but we and our big southern accents stuck out like a VW bug at a monster trunk show.
 I have to admit, our little walking tour was beautiful and when we were nearly at our destination, we got to see the iconic Michigan Ave. bridge.  We picked an incredible weekend weather wise.  It wasn't hot or cold and the skies were beyond blue.  I enjoyed the architecture of the city more than I realized.  This summer, I've successfully visited 3 of the 4 largest cities in America (LA, Houston and Chicago).  For a metropolitan area, Chicago was the most picturesque.
 As soon as we dropped those bags, lunch was imperative   We were all pretty hungry but also mesmerized by the river that runs through the city.  We ate at a little bar on the riverside and the food exceeded our expectations.  Service for 9 is sometimes dicey.  I guess waiters cringed to see us coming but didn't mind so much when it was time to get an 18% mandatory tip.
 After lunch, we took the Magnificent Mile by storm.  We descended on that place like a meteor shower and we didn't let up until it was time to refuel.  I could say it was overwhelming but we had strategy.  One side of the road at a time.  There was a 7, yep seven story shopping area and it included a nice Sephora.  Well, you can just imagine putting 9 girls in makeup store with makeovers being done complementary.  I was in pure cosmetic bliss while introducing some of the girls to my favorite products.  Sure, I learned a thing or two also and came out with a new definition of liquid cheek stain (blush) that has changed my application habits for the better.  Man, I really do love cosmetics.
 The last store of the evening was H&M.  We don't have one of those here in Nasvhille (but we should!) so it was a mandatory stop.  It was crazy chaos to shop in there let alone the hysterical 20 text a minute conversations the 9 of us kept rolling.  It was laughable for sure but everyone came out with armloads of shopping bags and we hoofed it back to the hotel for dinner prep.
 Our dinner plan was Chicago style pizza and a fantastic concierge helped us secure a great reservation to the perfect place.  We didn't just cab it to the restaurant either.  We took a LIMO!  Apparently it is cheaper to "ride in bulk" and we were on a minivan boycott for the weekend so Limo it was!
 Jason had taken a trip to Chicago last year and he specifically told me to eat here.  He says I never listen and it's true.  I listened to the concierge though and he led me here also.  Thanks for the recommendation babe!
 We sat 3 floors up but we had our own private room.  That was lucky for us, this way we could really loosen up our belts.  No really, we had to loosen our belts to eat this fantastic pizza.  My life and view of pizza will forever be altered.

 Our next venture was, well, interesting.  We found ourselves on the ROOF.  The rooftop bar at the Wit.  It was far more of a "scene" than we were looking for.  Think: Vegas nightclub as they fist-pump giant flaming bottles of grey goose to a reserved table complete with a go-go dancer for eye candy.  There was flashing laser beams and loud techno music that was impossible to dance to.  We moms of multiples were in over our head.  We all yelled to each other over the music how we don't remember liking this scene when it WAS our scene.  As absolutely fascinating as it was to watch the people interact, we couldn't help but feel as if they were merely searching and as we happily finished our ONE drink, we realized that we just might have what they are longing for.  Suburban life is where it's at, ya'll!

 Ms. Stephanie is quite proficient at hailing a cab.  She gets the credit for planning this trip.  It ain't easy to please 9 girls at the same time.  I'm glad somebody is willing to do it.  I'm also glad it wasn't me!
 It was a long hard day of shopping and this little bottle of wine (or two) was the perfect way to end the evening.
 We even managed to convince some stranger to gather us up for a photo on the Michigan Ave. bridge.  There you have it. Nine girls perfectly posed and smiling.  Everyone is working their "skinny arm."  I like to look back at this photo and remember "this is what we look like without our gym clothes on!"

 No trip to Chicago will be complete without seeing "the bean".  I fell in LOVE with it after seeing it on The Vow    I had to go there and I wasn't disappointed.  It was really cool and for me a photog nerd, I loved the reflection photos.  It is truly a piece of art.

Cheers to the time of your life with 9 of your closest girlfriends!
  I'm already counting down till next year!
Nashville wouldn't be the same without them.
 No where else will be either...

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