Friday, September 29, 2017

High Five for Friday

Happy Friday!  Let's get right to it with a little about my week...

1. Dressing for Summer... still: The Southeast did not yet get the memo that fall is here.  The weather has been in the high 80s recently, and honestly, I'm loving it.  My fall clothes aren't getting the wear they should be, but I'll keep wearing bright colors as long as I can.  Here's my favorite look right now: sandals c/o Oka-B (Clemson friends, how great is this color?!), palma tassel topwhite jeans, and drop earrings.
2. Fall television: There is so much to look forward to this season.  Returning shows I'll be watching are Designated Survivor, The Big Bang Theory, Great News (Tina Fey will be on it this fall!!), SVU, Modern Family, and Stranger Things.  There's not too many new shows I'm thrilled about (or hours left in the day after all the shows above), but Law and Order True Crime and Young Sheldon do look good.  What I'm most excited about, fitting right in the middle of both categories is definitely Will & Grace!

3. My favorite memories: Photos are my favorite way to remember our life and things we've done.  That's why I started this blog in the first place.  Earlier this month, we had a neighbor take a few photos of us for our anniversary and for me to use as a new headshot (I guess after 3 years, it's time to switch up my bridal portrait profile photos...).  We decided to do the shoot right at our home, and I can't wait to switch up some of our frames with these photos.  If you're in the Charleston area, Ashleigh of Following Seas Photography is a joy!
4. A weekend away: Last weekend, Mike suggested that we take a quick long weekend trip sometime in December, before Christmas.  We both have huge things happening for work in November (a couple trips for me and a huge project for him), so he says we deserve a little getaway before the craziness of the holidays - I'm in!  We're looking for somewhere Southwest flies, whether in the US or international.  First thought was Cuba, but it may be more tricky now with the rolled-back sanctions?  Maybe an all-inclusive somewhere in the Caribbean? Or somewhere like Palm Springs or the Florida Keys - any suggestions or ideas?

5. Blog post recap - Chicago love: Oh goodness, I'm still dreaming of our weekend in Chicago.  In case you missed it, my two posts this week are linked here: 10 ways to make the most out of your weekend and 10 photo spots you cannot miss!  In the past, I've always done top 5s in cities we travel to (like Denver and Charlotte), but there was just so much to offer in the Windy City!

I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Top 10 Photo Spots in Chicago

In case you missed it, I shared 10 ways to make the most out of a trip to Chicago on Monday (you can link to the post by clicking here).  However, I feel like I glossed over one very important one: taking photos everywhere!  There are so many fantastic spots in the city, and when I was searching for things to do, street art after street art (and food that looks like art!) kept coming up.  I've rounded up 10 spots in the city that you definitely don't want to miss (especially for the sake of your Instagram feed):
1. Wabash Arts Corridor: This was also on my top ten for the city as a whole, but I just have to mention it again.  The murals are amazing, and that moose in my title photo above is just the best!
2. The Bean: If you didn't take a selfie in front of Cloud Gate, were you even really in Chicago?
3. Flamingo Rum Club: I just loved these giant flamingos!  They're so colorful and definitely social media-worthy.
4. Doughnut Vault: Here's another one I'm doubling up on from my first post, but with the cutest little location and mouth-watering doughnuts, this place is perfect.
5. Riverwalk: Stretching all along the Chicago River, there are adorable coffee and wine shops as well as water taxi stops.
6. Greetings from Chicago mural: Funny story about this, I only realized it was literally around the corner from Revolution Brewing after we went there.  On the L platform, I was taking photos of the skyline and sunset and only later saw that I had juuust caught a piece of it in my frame.
7. The Hampton Social: seafood, "rose all day," and the most adorable seaside branding/decor!
8. Aqua: Aesthetically, this was my absolute favorite building on the architectural boat tour we took.  It's designed to look like water is flowing down the building and is amazing from every angle.
9. Dylan's Candy Bar: We stopped in first for the edible cookie dough and decided to stick around for one of their candy-filled cocktails.  So much color all around!
10. Grant Park: The rose gardens at Grant Park were perfectly in bloom when we went in mid-September.  Plus, Buckingham Fountain is one of the biggest fountains in the world, and the park also has fantastic views of Lake Michigan.
Put all of these together, and you have the perfect walking tour of the city.  Most of my spots are right in downtown Chicago, with the outlier being the "Greetings From Chicago" mural.  However, it's right on the L, so an easy quick trip to visit!
Have you been to Chicago?  If so, what spots should I add to my photo list for next time?

Monday, September 25, 2017

10 Ways To Make The Most Out Of Your Weekend in Chicago

Two weeks ago, Mike and I traveled to Chicago for a long weekend adventure.  Aside from a 5 hour layover last year at Midway when we took the L into the city to eat deep dish pizza, this was both of our first experiences in Chicago.  Looking at the map, we were so overwhelmed by its size.  Where do we stay?  Do we need a car?  What do we do?  Luckily, we have a few friends who live in Charleston now who grew up in Chicago as well as more who recently traveled there.  They gave us some great ideas, and with a little exploring on our own, we think we made the most of our 3 days in the Windy City.  You can also click here to check out the Top 10 Photo Spots we also found in Chicago!  Here's how we spent our weekend:
1. Stay downtown and get a CTA pass: Looking south to the White Sox's stadium and north to Wrigleyville is a huge area (everywhere we knew we'd be going).  We went with a hotel right in the middle, on the Chicago River, Club Quarters.  Billed as a travelers' hotel, the rooms were compact and cozy with our queen-size bed taking up most of the room.  Even the building is small (middle building in the photo below), but the views of the city were great, and it was so perfect for us.  Being walking location to almost everything, we opted not to spend money renting a car (and $50 per day valet parking it), so we got a 3-day CTA pass.  We used the pass so much, and it's definitely the way to go to get all over the city.
2. Start each day with coffee and donuts: And preferably at different places.  There are so many awesome little coffee shops all over the city, like Intellegentsia and Pickwick, but even better were the doughnuts.  We tried Doughnut Vault (twice) and Stan's.
3. Take an Architecture Cruise: Our friends went to Chicago last summer, and this was #1 on their list for us.  We loved not only learning about the city as a whole, but also getting our bearings to see where so many points of interest were in the city.  I'd suggest this on day one of your trip, if you can.  We caught our boat from the Chicago Architecture Foundation, right outside our hotel, but there are tons of options all along that area.
4. Selfie with Cloud Gate: The bean!  This was my #1 for the trip.  It was so perfect, and we had fun taking photos around every side and inside it.  All of Millennium Park is fantastic and really fun to walk around.
5. Climb the Willis Tower: I have to admit, it was scarier than I thought to step out onto The Ledge of the Skydeck.  1,353 feet in the air is no joke!  They had a great exhibit about the history and construction of the building, and it was great to do after we learned the basics on the architecture tour.
6. Rent a Bike: Chicago has an awesome bike share program, and while I was a little too nervous to ride through the narrow city streets, we took advantage all along the waterfront where they had some great bike paths.  We picked up our bikes near Millennium Park, rode up on the Lakefront Trail to North Avenue Beach and back down to the Navy Pier.
7. Grab a beer: Chicago definitely has a wide range of breweries, and we chose to go to two: Goose Island, a more recognized, national brewery, and Revolution, an awesome neighborhood brewpub in Logan Square.
8. Stroll through the Wabash Arts Corridor: Murals are my absolute favorite, and that bubblegum moose just stole my heart!  I could have walked around, sightseeing in this area of the South Loop all day.
9. Eat Italian Food and Chicago Deep Dish: We're tourists, so, of course, we had to go all-out with deep dish.  The last time we stopped in Chicago, we had Lou Malnati's, so this time we went for Giordano's.  I definitely vote for Giordano's!  We also had a delicious Italian meal right before we left the city at Labriola's.  Omg those fried ravioli "nachos" were amazing!
10. Watch sports: The reason we chose this weekend in September to travel to Chicago was because it was the one weekend of the season that the White Sox and Cubs were both in town.  It was the last stop of our summer of baseball, and what a perfect place to finish it off!  Wrigley is (obviously) amazing, and Guaranteed Rate Field was actually really cool, too.  Plus, we got tickets for $5 each for the White Sox.
I, honestly, feel like we accomplished so many of my goals for sightseeing while we were there, and three days in Chicago was a great start.  We definitely want to go back (maybe for St. Patrick's Day!) and go on another one of Chicago Architecture Foundation's tours, climb to the top of the Hancock Center, and visit the Lincoln Park Conservatory.

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