i’m coming home via chicago

Chi-town. It’s our home, yes, but there’s so much to do here that we’ve never done. We had been putting off some of this fun for years. So we decided to spend a night downtown and see how it felt to truly be a Chicagoan. I’m glad we chose a weekend that was scorching hot. But lots of fun was had nonetheless.

We started Friday morning at Rock Bottom watching the World Cup with my B.I.L. and S.I.L. U.S. vs. Slovenia was a pretty exciting game – I wouldn’t have missed it. Screaming, clapping, falling off chairs from excitement, and toss in a momosa, a bloody mary, and some beers.

Yes, we were totally robbed that last goal. That was hard to watch. But we’re happy with a tie. And the day must go on.

After the game, we headed up to the Lincoln Park Zoo. It was so hot and sunny that day. The poor animals didn’t move too much.

Although, there was this one meerkat who loved to pose for the camera!

“All right Mr. De Mille, I’m ready for my close-up.”

After we headed back to the hotel to relax, a big storm headed into Chicago. We watched it swoop in from the 28th floor of the Sheraton. It was nasty – it even took out a window of the Willis Tower! After the storm quickly passed through, we met up with my S.I.L. and her fiance and our friends Sara and Brady for dinner at The Publican. They’re known for their seafood and pork from local farms served family style. It was delicious!

Then we headed up to Fado’s for some drinks.

The next morning we headed to Navy Pier to ride the ferris wheel.

And then we boarded a boat for an architecture tour along the river and Lake Michigan. We learned so much about the architecture and history of Chicago. Plus, we got an incredible view of the skyline.

The sun was pretty hot out there, and it got in the way of a lot of my pictures.

There’s the Sheraton – where we stayed for a night!

After the boat tour and lunch we headed to the Art Institute to check out the new modern wing.

Don’t look too closely at a Seurat, or you’ll go nuts like Cameron did in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks” is one of Drew’s favorites.

After the art museum, we spent the rest of the afternoon in Millenium Park.

Taking pictures of “the Bean” was pretty fun. Although, that thing is covered in fingerprints. Someone needs to shine her up!

After all that walking, I was more than happy to sit and stick my feet in some cool water. Apparently, so was everyone else.

After grabbing some pizza, we headed home to chill out. We always need a little break after vacation to – you know – rest up. Whew – vacation takes it all outta ya.

See the rest of my pictures from the weekend on Flickr.

*Blog post title is a lyric from the song “Via Chicago” by Wilco

when it’s twilight in boston

We finally made our way to Boston. A city we’ve been wanting to visit for a long time, a city my sister hadn’t even been to, and she lives in NY. We planned to meet my sister and her fiance while they were there for a wedding, and Drew and I figured we’d celebrate our 3rd year anniversary while we’re at it. It wasn’t until a couple days before we left that we found out our good friends Tiffany and Luke would be there at the same time. Seeing them made the trip even better. We had a fabulous time.

We arrived at the Omni Parker House on Thursday afternoon. It is the longest continually operated hotel in the U.S. It has a lot of charm and character and its central location is perfect for tourists—in fact, it’s a stop on the Freedom Trail. I highly recommend this hotel for anyone staying in Boston.

First sight of the day was the Granary Burial ground, right across the street of the hotel. There lies Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Ben Franklin to name a few. We stopped and listened to a reenactor tell the true story of Paul Revere’s midnight ride.

We then met my sister after she arrived off the bus from New York. The three of us headed back out and walked by the Old Corner Bookstore (a meeting place from the days of Longfellow, Hawthorne, and Emerson) and the Old South Meeting House.

We stopped and looked at the birds perched on the Irish Famine Memorial.

Later we walked towards Faneuil Hall and Christopher Columbus Park and took some photos of Boston Harbor.

We stopped at Salty Dog Seafood Grille for dinner alfresco. Ahh – that is what vacation is all about.

Afterwards we all grabbed giant cookies in Quincy Market.

All these historic sights were within walking distance of our hotel, which is one of the things I love about Boston. We walked and walked and saw so many things. It’s a quaint little city with a lot of mixed architecture—old and new. The skyscrapers really dwarf the old historical brick buildings.

Day two began in Boston Common and Boston Public Garden. We leisurely strolled through the park on a gorgeous sunny day, and we came upon this hill covered in American flags for Memorial Day. Lisa and I had fun snapping pictures—we joke that we end up with almost identical pictures when we travel together.

A very shy State Capitol building – trying to hide behind the tree.

Boston Common is the home of some very friendly squirrels.

Then we walked down Commonwealth Avenue Mall and through the neighborhood around Newbury St.

From there, we walked back through the Esplanade along the Charles River Basin, then down Charles St. and through the Beacon Hill neighborhood.

And, believe it or not, this was all before lunch.

It’s amazing how much you can see in Boston in a few hours of walking. As if this wasn’t enough for one day, after lunch we took the train out to Boston Public Library and had a look around. The library has a very grand courtyard in the middle.

Later that night, we met Tiffany and Luke at Anthony’s Pier 4 for dinner. It’s a scenic restaurant right on the water. Seafood, wine and friends are the best combination! We ended the night with a night cap (or two, or three) at Lucky’s Lounge.

Enjoying drinks while on vacation. We take this job very seriously.

These guys, not so much.

And thus ended our first full day in Boston. But, wait! There’s more!

The next morning Lisa’s fiance, Branden, flew in bright and early and we headed to the Sam Adams brewery, only to find that there was a long line for the tour. We didn’t have enough time to wait for it since Lisa and Branden needed to head to a wedding later that day. So we did the next best thing – we sat outside at nearby Ula Cafe and tried some specialty Sam Adams brews. Well, they did. The one in my hand was a prop—I still haven’t acquired the taste.

Then L & B were off to get ready for the wedding and Drew and I were off to spend the afternoon in Cambridge. We jumped off the train in Harvard Square and looked around for Herrell’s ice cream. I’d passed through Cambridge briefly for work about 4 years ago and my coworker took us to Herrell’s. Sadly, it is now closed; no wonder it took us forever to find it. Instead, we found a goodbye note in the window. So, we walked through the Harvard campus where they were just wrapping up that day’s graduation ceremonies (good timing to visit…).

The Harvard Coop bookstore had a great collection of hard to find books, so Drew picked up a bunch and we sat on the steps of the Harvard Library. I thought maybe I would soak up some of the smart vibes floating around the place.

After a break at John Harvard’s Brewhouse, we headed back to chill before our dinner at Troquet for our anniversary.

Oh. My. God. That was the best meal. And the dessert! Three types of sorbet. To die for.

Our final day in Boston was another gorgeous one—good thing, since we had tickets to see the Red Sox. We started the day at the USS Constitution in Boston Navy Yard.

We walked up to the Bunker Hill Monument, and then followed the Freedom Trail through Charlestown, across the bridge and back into the city where we hopped on the train to the game.

A Phillies fan at Fenway

After the Red Sox win, we went to dinner at Woodward Restaurant in the Ames hotel. It was really cool – they serve the entrees to share. So we got a variety and all tried a little. Then I realized: “Woah I haven’t tried Boston Creme Pie yet!!!” So we made an emergency stop at Cheers for dessert.

Great way to end a great trip; Boston is now one of my favorite cities. Can’t wait to go again. Drew would head back to the bookstore and I’d head back to Troquet to get me some more of that sorbet.

Luckily, I don’t have to wait another 6 months to see my sister. We have a once-in-a-lifetime girls trip to Napa in July with our mom where we’ll probably spend more time talking about wedding stuff than wine. 🙂

See all of my pictures from the trip on Flickr.

*Blog post title is a lyric from the song “Twilight In Boston” by Jonathan Richman

you take me the way i am

My sister and her boyfriend got engaged! We’re so excited! Lisa and Branden met three and a half years ago in Brooklyn. They’re planning a New York wedding next spring. She asked me to be Matron of Honor of course. And as part of my job, I’m going to design her a wedding website.

Between my sister-in-law getting married in September and my sister next year – we’re going to have a busy year. It’s going to be very memorable and I’ll love every minute!

*Blog post title is a lyric from the song “The Way I Am” by Ingrid Michaelson