Tourist Take on Chicago

March 30, 2017 at 3:23 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

My mom and sister spent last weekend here in the city in a four-day long celebration of my mom’s birthday and her 27th anniversary of being breast cancer free – my sister and I are pretty grateful for our great momma so we had to take her out on the town to prove it!

They arrived on Friday and we spend the evening gorging on Chinese food and hanging out in my living room. This was after my sister and I carried up my wedding present from her, in the form of a giant (and heavy) kitchen island that she oh-so-generously donated to me. If my mom ever had any doubts that she raised two strong and stubborn women, we put that to rest after carrying that thing up three flights of stairs! So our Chinese and rest was hard-earned. On Saturday we checked in at The Virgin Hotel, where we had a swanky room with separate dressing room “chamber” that came in handy when it was time to get ready for the concert we had tickets for. After a fancy dinner at The Walnut Room (told you we were going tourist), we went to the Chicago Theatre for the Experience Hendrix show. It featured a group of artists honoring Jimi by playing some of his hits and we got to see Buddy Guy and Jonny Lang, who happens to be one of my mom’s all-time favorite musicians. The show was good but we all agreed that we wished Jonny had performed a little longer…just gives us a reason to find another concert to see him in the future!

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Told you it was a trip!

We spend some time wandering around downtown and shopping but our grand plans of drinks at the top of the Hancock Tower were thwarted by bad weather. Such a shocker for Chicago. We finished the evening with snacks and drinks at the hotel then thoroughly enjoyed our room with crazy-black-out-from-the-future-blinds that made us feel like we were sleeping on the dark side of the moon. They even had a button to lower and raise them and not going to lie, it was pretty hard to get out of bed the next day. But we did! Eventually. Afterwards, we treated ourselves to a brunch complete with Bloody Mary’s before finding a huge Flower Carnival in Macy’s that was free, fragrant and pretty fantastic. Then we headed back to my place to nap it all off. But wait! There was more! We also had mani/pedi’s and drinks at the local bar  grocery store before watching a movie to cap off our weekend. What movie, you may ask? Finding Dory (because we’ve learned the hard way that watching family-friendly films with Mom are better than say, Black Swan).

I wish we could treat my mom to weekends like this more often but I think we managed to pack a good amount of fun stuff into the time we had.

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Girls’ Weekend Out!

April 28, 2016 at 12:40 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

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Hopefully the only bars we’ll see involve booze.

A group of my college girlfriends are coming into town this weekend and I’m so, I’m so, I’m so excited!! I got to spend a night with this gang in Indianapolis over the summer and it was such a blast that we had to recreate it over a longer weekend. These are girls I worked with all throughout college and we’ve been lucky enough to maintain our friendship for nearly a dozen years. Holy crap, we’re old. But that won’t stop us from having a good time!

We’re going to a Cubs game tomorrow and a few of the museums in the city on Saturday so we’ll be keeping busy. Poor Scott has a hotel room in the suburbs for the weekend but it works out better for all of us that way – he can study for his finals in peace (and not have to share one bathroom with four women…) and we can be as loud as we want allll niiiiight looooong. Or until midnight comes and we turn into pumpkins, whichever comes first. Either way, there’s some drinking, lots of snacking and even more talking and laughing in our futures!

The weather doesn’t look like it’s going to be at its best but hey, that’s Chicago. At least they’ll all get the authentic experience!

 

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Talk about Pissed Off

May 27, 2014 at 6:18 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

I know, I know.  It’s been a while since I wrote.  I think I’m going to get back in the swing of things here soon as I had an experience this weekend that prompted me to write, as a warning if nothing else.  See, I had a group of friends come in for a bachlorette party (not mine) and we stayed downtown at the Hyatt Regency on Wacker Drive (I’m being specific for a reason).  There were good and bad aspects to the weekend.

The good:

  • The girls were all a lot of fun and we got along really well, which was great since we didn’t all know each other.
  • We did some shopping and I found a pair of shoes I’ve been keeping an out for since like two months ago.  And they were on sale!
  • I was able to play Tour Guide at the Field Museum and show off some of the cool stuff there.
  • I actually played Tour Guide most of the weekend, including on a trip to Chinatown via Water Taxi.  This greatly appealed to my know-it-all nature.
  • We ate lots of delicious food and drank lots of strong adult beverages.
  • We hit the beach and had some fun in the sun.  The weather was great all weekend, which is always a gamble in Chicago.
  • We played a pin-the-macho-on-the-man game (you can use your imagination to figure out what the macho was) and Cards Against Humanity, both of which ensured a lot of laughs.
  • The bride-to-be got to do everything she wanted and had a great time, which is the most important thing.

Damn straight.

 

The bad:

  • Somehow my debit card information got hacked and while we were en route to Chinatown I had to deal with my bank, because someone tried to withdraw nearly 1k from my account.  Luckily the bank is handling it but unluckily I had about $25 to my name for the last day and half of our excursion.  I’m very thankful that my bank caught the transactions though and hopefully this will all be resolved with minimal rage on my end.
  • The hotel (again, the HYATT REGENCY ON WACKER DRIVE) screwed up basically everything they could screw up.  This is a super nice hotel right off Michigan Avenue so we thought things would go smoothly – nope, I’ve stayed in hostels in Africa that were better.  Things started off on the wrong foot as we were supposed to have adjoining rooms but they gave one away to someone else so we were like two hallways away from each other.  We rolled with it though and they ended up fixing that for the second night.  During the switch (which took forever, by the way – the second room wasn’t ready until nearly 4pm), they somehow lost the mini-fridge that we had requested. Of course the room comes with a fridge but if you so much as slightly move anything in it you’re automatically charged roughly the price of a small car, so it was useless to us. The one we had brought up was full of homemade snacks and a bunch of wine that we brought along. Eventually they found the fridge but everything in it was gone. They gave us up a few bottles of wine and gave a credit for the food we lost but it was still pretty frustrating, especially because some of the food had been made specifically for the bride-to-be.  There were other small things – not enough towels, poor water pressure in the showers, nonexistent bellhops to help with luggage, bad design layout that caused us to have to cross some stupid “quiet” walkway every time we went to the room, etc. These things and everything else I’ve mentioned so far are all fairly normal issues that, while annoying to deal with for the price we paid for the rooms, are at least somewhat understandable. However, what truly ruined this awful stay happened the first night we were there.  I climbed into bed around 1am and laid for a moment, thoroughly exhausted. Then I noticed a creeping, dampening sensation on my hip. I got out of bed, did some investigating and was completely horrified when I realized that the wetness was from URINE. And it wasn’t mine! While the sheets were initially clean, my body weight brought up the stain from the mattress. THERE WAS A STILL WET URINE STAIN IN THE MATTRESS. Oh. My. God. I’ve stayed in hostels everywhere from Africa to South America and never have I ever experienced such a disgusting thing.  The front desk (who weren’t nearly as apologetic as I expected) sent up a roll away bed but it was too big to fit in the room as we already had two Queens in there. This was after they offered to change the sheets – um, the urine was in the mattress, new sheets weren’t going to help. I sincerely hope they did some heavy cleaning to it later or just burned the damn thing but I wouldn’t be surprised if they just wiped it down and threw on more sheets. I wound up spending the night on the floor with a bunch of pillows and blankets – and let me tell you, the floor was not very comfortable. The hotel laundered my clothes for free and offered to change our room but as we were already switching rooms due to their earlier screw-up, that wasn’t necessary. They gave us a $100 credit to the bar/restaurant (half the price of that room for the night) to make amends but honestly, they should have offered more, since that bought like one round of shots for the group and there isn’t enough booze in the world to make me forget I was laying in URINE.  The entire stay was pretty lousy but the pee stain was the yellow icing on a crappy cake.
  • Then I accidentally took the girls to a dog beach and we were attacked by hairy, wet, sandy animals as we tried to eat our picnic lunch.  We moved pretty quickly and at that point all we could do is laugh, because after that weekend of COURSE that’s the beach we would end up on.

So, that was my weekend.  And this is my warning – stay away from the Hyatt Regency!  That and the Wyndham are the two Chicago hotels that have gone on my forever blacklist.  There are seriously so many great options here that I would suggest you not risk a bed full of pee and a $300 charge for a mirror you didn’t break (thanks, Wyndham).  Or better yet, you can stay with me!  I promise a urine-free sleeping environment, but I might steal your wine.

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