12/10/13

Chicago Girls Weekend

Another item to cross off my list of 25 things to do before I turn 25Plan and pay for a trip on my own!

Several months back some of my best college friends decided it was time for our first big girls weekend trip and we decided on Chicago! I had only visited Chicago once before when I was much younger with my family, so I knew this would be a completely different trip filled with shopping and fun-touristy things!


I have to say, Chicago is now one of my favorite cities! There is so much to do and I love getting to walk almost everywhere! There was tons of shopping (obviously), beautiful architecture and works of art to see. We stayed at the Hyatt Regency, which was in a great location and I would definitely recommend it, plus we found a great deal on it!


Another recommendation I would have is this awesome app my friends told me about and we used on this trip, it's called "PhotoCircle." It's free and we used it the entire weekend! You can upload pictures to it, similar to other social media apps, but you can invite your friends and share you pictures through it. It makes it a lot easier and faster than texting pictures to your entire group, especially for a weekend full of pictures! Plus you can share all of your pictures with one another without having to post them for everyone to see, just your friends!



Friday

My roommate, Juliann and I both had to work half-days so we met up with the other girls in Chicago Friday night. 



We went to this delicious asian restaurant for dinner called Sunda, I ordered pad thai with chicken (It was a lot of food, I definitely could have split with someone!). Our friend knew the chef and he brought us some delicious appetizers to try, the crispy brussels sprouts and some kind of delicious sushi rolls which were to die for! 


After dinner, we walked across the street to Paris Club, which was a really fun Chicago bar! To make it even more fun we met up with one of our sorority sisters we hadn't seen in several years and loved getting to catch up with her! Lastly, a few of the Chicago Bulls players showed up to this bar too, so we felt pretty famous to be hanging out where the celebs go!




Oh, and we took a limo home, it seemed more efficient than 3 separate taxis! :)


Saturday
Saturday morning we woke up early and grabbed ourselves some Starbucks, it wasn't as chilly as we were expecting but still cold! We grabbed some brunch at a place called Sweetwater Tavern that was pretty good. Then we went to the famous artwork in Millennium Park at The Bean for pictures, which as it turns out it is actually called Cloud Gate. It was such a beautiful, fall day! We got lucky to have such great weather while we were visiting, we ended up just sitting in the park for almost an hour just people watching and taking pictures!





Then we headed to the Magnificent Mile to do some shopping! Some of us got the famous popcorn from Garret's. We thought about doing the riverboat cruise, but they were already closed so we headed back to the hotel to freshen up.

We attempted to walk to the John Hancock building, but walked too many blocks in the wrong direction and so we gave up and called Uber to come get us. If you haven't used Uber before, I highly recommend it! They are growing quickly and are in several major US cities already including Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, LA, NYC and many others! It's nice because they charge you based on distance, not time - so if you know you might be sitting in a lot of traffic (umm Atlanta) you only pay a set fee. They pick you up in a sleek black SUV or town car and you put your credit card information in the app so you don't even need to worry about having cash!

One last app suggestion I have for a trip with friends, is Venmo. It makes it really easy to split tabs like cab fares and dinners when you're traveling (or even when you're home) with friends! For example, Juliann paid for our Uber ride and we could all pay her back through Venmo immediately so she didn't have to worry about asking each of us for a few dollars, because it definitely adds up quickly! My roommate and I also use it monthly to repay each other for bills, it's so easy! And it doesn't charge you any kind of fee unless you use a credit card (3%), but if it's linked to your bank account or debit card, it's totally free!

After waiting in line we finally got to take the elevator up to the Signature Lounge at the top of the John Hancock building, on the 96th floor to get a drink together. Of course the drinks are pricy, but it is totally worth that incredible view!! There is also a restaurant and observatory you can go to, but the observatory is $18 so we opted to get a glass of wine for $12 instead and get the view!




Then we split up, two of the girls went to see Wicked while the rest of us went to a delicious Italian restaurant Volare for dinner. I ordered the most amazing pasta, the Spaghetti Neri al Pesce, which was black spaghetti tossed with shrimp, lump crab, scallops and sage. If you love seafood, I highly recommend it! All of their pastas (and maybe all of their entrees) come in half portions. My half portion was still huge!

We were so exhausted after a long day of walking around and sightseeing we called it an early night to rest up for our final day of adventure!


Sunday

We tried this place for breakfast the morning before but it was too packed, so Sunday we woke up earlier and walked to the Wildberry Cafe, which was incredible! We waited an hour but I think it was definitely worth the wait! I could have split this too, but I ordered their signature Wildberry Pancakes, if you love sweet things you'd LOVE these like I did! 



After that, we did the Wendella Chicago River Architecture Tour which was so fascinating! It was freezing for us southern ladies! I would highly recommend anyone visiting Chicago to do one of the river tours!




We finished up our trip with some necessary deep dish pizza at Lou Malnati's Pizzeria. We quickly ran back to the hotel to get our bags and headed to the airport. 



The trip went fast, but I felt like we got to do everything we all wanted to! We all hugged goodbye at the airport and went our separate ways Juliann and I went back to Atlanta and the others jumped our their planes back to Birmingham. Glad we had Homecoming to look forward to the next weekend, so it wouldn't be too long before we would be reunited again!


Any suggestions for our next girls weekend trip next year??
A

12/9/13

New phone & Kate Spade iPhone case

My parents were so sweet to get me a new phone today, Merry early Christmas present! I have had the iPhone 4S for over 2 years and have had so many problems just because I was always running out of space (so I like to take a lot of pictures, okay?!). And with Houston and I getting married in just a few months (110 days eeeek!) I know I'll be wanting to take many more pictures in 2014, so it is so so sweet of my parents to get me a new phone!

Obviously getting a new phone, I'm terrified of the day that I'll drop it so I definitely wanted to buy a nice case for it to keep it safe from harm. I was so excited when I saw that the Apple store was carrying this adorable Kate Spade case… Merry early Christmas to myself!



(Similar here)

I think it is adorable and matches quite nicely with my new gold phone :)

What is your favorite case for your phone? Does anyone have this case know if it's sturdy?


PS - Kate Spade also has a one day sale that ends tonight at 11:59 p.m. Use the code GREEN30 for 30% off at checkout. Hurry up, only about an hour left!!