You might have noticed it’s been a little quiet around here the last week. I might have forgotten to mention on the blog that I was taking off to Chicago for a week – sorry about that! If you follow me on Instagram, you probably figured it out with all the endless photos of our trip. This was the longest we’ve been away from our kids in a long time! I am SO thankful for my folks who watched them while we were away! The kids had such an amazing time with their Oma and Opa and that allowed me to really just enjoy the time away…because, let’s be honest, the two of us rarely get away together like this!
I can’t tell you how AMAZING Chicago was! The first three days we attended an amazing conference in Elgin, IL. It was such a great way to begin the week refreshed and renewed. Day three we headed into Chicago by train – it was a fun little adventure! We walked across the city with our massive suitcase and quickly came to the realization that the pedestrians are crazy! They bravely walked across the streets whenever they felt like and I made the bad choice of being a follower with no fear…until you were playing a game of chicken with the traffic. Never. Again. I started obeying the law and watched the lights. We checked in to our hotel, which was at such an amazing location – walking distance to everything and super close to the “L” for easy access around the city.
We were in and out, ready to seize the day! We headed out to explore the city – it was absolutely gorgeous at night! Really enjoyed the ambiance of the city in the evening and the night life! We headed to grab some dinner at Xoco downtown, which was mexican street food by chef Rick Bayless – you might have seen his cooking show on PBS? It was delicious!! We stuffed ourselves and walked some more, discovering some iconic scenery. Before too long, our feet were ready for a rest and we headed back to catch up on some sleep…
The next day was pretty much the most epic day ever! We woke up early to catch the train to the outskirts of Chicago to visit The Land of Nod headquarters….I still can’t believe it!!! I’m telling you, I was like a kid going to Disney Land for the first time, but multiplied by 3….at least! As soon as you walk in, you are already smitten! Their entryway was decorated as cute as can be, I wanted to live there. For real. I was instantly greeted by their sweet staff! We headed into one of their conference rooms with coffee and all! I was given an extensive tour – I mean, every crook and cranny was SO cute! All their staff had the cutest cubicles (note: so much inspiration for a studio makeover)! Honestly, these people are crazy talented! We looked at the warehouse with some pretty fantastic and SUPER exciting pieces coming out this Christmas and Spring…you’ll die! Believe me…if I could, I would have been snapping a million pictures, but I just couldn’t! Yep, I wanted to take it all home with me! I was so incredibly inspired by everything at LON….you can imagine. Sadly, it happened all too fast and we left with warm fuzzy feelings and twinkling in our eyes – thanks Rachel for being so awesome!
We headed back into the city for some lunch and this time, we had to try the Chicago Dog… SO worth it! Of course, dessert from the coolest food truck ever – Doughnut Vault! We headed to the Art Institude and The Bean, which was a lot of fun! That whole area is just so pretty! We had yet another tour that day of a friend of ours who happens to work at Leo Burnett‘s office? Ring a bell? Watch much Mad Men?! Well, let’s just say that the show is sort of, kind of, based on this Ad office! So, basically Don Draper gave us a sweet tour of the day in the life of an Ad man (minus all the drinking and womanizing). We got to see some fun stuff they were working on and what life could be like as a designer – plus, the view from way up there was pretty fantastic!
From there, we did what we do best, grab more food and some more dessert and call it a night! We came upon Magnolia Bakery in Chicago, which we first discovered in NYC! We shared a nice slice of Caramel cake with meringue buttercream. No shame! With all that sugar, I kind of went into a deep sleep/coma that night!
Our last day, we grabbed some donuts for breakfast….of course! We packed in as much as we could! We headed to The Field Museum and didn’t even get through half of the exhibits, it’s so huge! What a fantastic museum though! Afterward, we quickly caught the bus to the MCA Store for some quick shopping. It was amazing – I could spend all day at that store…you could almost buy everything! Joel was especially in heaven. From there, we headed back to the hotel so we could be on our way to catch the “L” train to the airport. It just went by WAY too fast! Of course, had to grab some delicious Chicago mix popcorn at Garrett Popcorn Shops before boarding our plane – addicting stuff!
All in all, the trip was fantastic! I had a HUGE list of things to do while we were there and I think we did maybe TWO! I mean, the city was way bigger than I anticipated and it takes some time getting to all the places you want to go. We also did a few non-touristy things, but one-of-a-kind opportunities. Next year, we will have a better feel for the city and how to get everywhere, so I’m looking forward to hitting up some of the things we so badly wanted to do this time around. Like the John Hancock building and river tour!
So what do you think? I know this was a lot to take it, but are you dying to visit Chicago now too?!