Friday, October 22, 2010

Chicago

I went with Ryan to Chicago last weekend for his ophthalmology conference. It was fantastic. Perfect fall weather - sunny with crisp, cool air, thankfully bringing on the change of clothing that I really miss this time of year. And a few days of blessed non-fuzzy hair. Not to mention an amazingly cool city. (We really love big cities.)








Turns out it was a great year to go too since this year Ryan got it paid for so we lived it up and stayed in the new Trump hotel - one of the tallest buildings in the U.S. and super swanky.  I think it was the reward for the one of the first winners of The Apprentice to oversee it's development. We even had super posh bathrobes and slippers - although with the monogrammed TRUMP right on my feet I sort of felt like I was sneaking into the slippers of Donald himself every night.  It even had a fully equipped kitchen with a dishwasher and everything. Tons of mood lighting (I was very fond of that since I always think I look nasty in fluorescent hotel lighting), buttons for everything, and $25 blinged out bottled waters available.







 





And I was just about to say, hmm, the only hotel I may have stayed in that was nicer than this was one in Malaysia that had tv screens inlaid in the bathroom mirror.  Until I realized, oh, this one does too.









Great views of the city out the window (of the John Hancock building I think? Or is that the Sears Tower?)












I did some good shopping the first day I was there until Ryan was off work and then we went out for some Chicago-style deep dish pizza and swung by some lounge with people from work for a while.  The next day while Ryan was at a conference I figured it would actually be more economically efficient for me to pay 29 bucks to go sit on a sightseeing bus all day than for me to be roaming free....which would of course mean more shopping.  I made the mistake of getting off at one little stop on the tour...on the Magnificent Mile of course with an H&M right there, and well, I'm only by an H&M once every few years.  And then I was reminded that they have a maternity section while I was hunting around for a bathroom, and while a tiny maternity section, it packed a good punch, and well... my economic efficiency theory went out the window.

That night we went to a work party at the Ritz Carlton, then off to another dinner at some French Vietnamese place.  And on to another after party at some other hotel after that.... Really, it turned out to not be as restful a trip as I thought it might be what with all the late night partying, early morning trips to the airport, and my aching body from all the walking.




The next day Ryan ditched the conference and we took an architectural boat tour (I loved both the tours I took and learned a ton of interesting facts).









A few of my favorite buildings were both right by our hotel - the Wrigley Building (left).




And the Chicago Tribune building (right).
 This one was especially cool because inlaid around the building are various mismatched pieces - a piece from the Taj Mahal, a piece from the Forbidden City in Peking, a piece from Pompei, a piece from the pyramids, and on and on from various historical places around the world - even a piece from the moon.

We then ate our way through everything authentically Chicago that we hadn't tried yet - ate a Chicago dog, an Italian beef sandwich, and another version of Chicago-style pizza.









All the rich Chicago history made me love seeing pictures like this around too. 














 Then we stopped at at the Merchandise Mart - the largest public building in the world (just smaller than the Pentagon, but the Pentagon isn't a public building) and looked over the free Luxe home show that was going on. I've decided I love this type of kitchen:

While I really like the clean look of more modern-looking kitchens and I love dark woods the most, I've realized I love the ambiance created by a really warm-looking kitchen. To me it seems really homey and inviting and says come chat with me in the kitchen while we make dinner; bring your friends home and don't worry about getting your finger prints all over the stainless steel appliances.







That night we went over to the John Hancock building (another one of the tallest in the city) and went to a lounge up top with amazing views of the city.  Even the bathrooms had the same views.









Then we had a 10:30pm reservation for dinner (I know, that's so weird to me) at a place called the Girl and the Goat - apparently owned by a girl who was a winner of Top Chef (Stephanie - maybe from season one? That's supposed to be her in the picture although I hear it doesn't look like her).  Cool and chic place, with a totally funky menu:





That's right, roasted pig face.  And lots of goat parts and tongues and livers and other strange animals and body parts that you don't normally eat.  (And no, I wasn't a big fan of the pig face - strange now that I think about it, I really do love pig in most any form....)


Anyhow, it made for yet another very late night and a wake up call at 5am to get to the airport and back to my sick, disobedient and screaming children.  Aaahhhh.  Really, I have a hard adjustment getting back to real life.  Either my kids get out of whack when I'm gone or I just forget for a few days how demanding they are and how much they can scream and cry and not listen to anything I say!!  At least while we're away all we seem to remember is how cute they are and the funny things they say that we miss.  I guess I should go away more often.  :)   (And yes, I realize I have a pretty good track record of this lately, with another childless trip to L.A. coming up next month.)  Thanks to my mom who was brave enough to watch all three crazy kids. I'm sure she was reminded of how her life once was and wondered what she must have done wrong to have to be going through it again.  :)

11 comments:

Aunt Sharon said...

Jenny, these are amazing photos. I guess I just can't quite get used to modern cameras that turn out such good pictures so quickly. I can see that I am going to enjoy travelling with you vicariously and enjoying your travelogues. I love the warm yellow kitchen too, and all the amazing architecture. When I was in Chicago it was 6 degrees below zero and windy and I don't even remember looking up. This was a wonderful way to enjoy Chicago. Yes, it was Bill Rancic who won the first Apprentice show and now he still loves Chicago and his wife Giuliana Rancic loves LA. Oh, well.....

AnnaMarie Ferrell said...

Wow! AWESOME that you got another childless trip. You really live it up on those! The only childless trips I make are working scrapbooking shows with my friend. I might need to change that.

LuAnn said...

Wow, you did a handful of things I haven't. Goes to show that splendor of the city. Never a dull moment. I regret that I never visited the Merchandise Mart. I hope to go back as a tourist before long. I still kind of wonder if Chicago is my real home. I miss it more than I have ever missed the mountains.

Jenilee said...

Another amazing trip. That is great. I am thinking Seth needs to attend some conferences so I can tag along.

SuburbiaMom said...

I think I'd like you to plan MY next trip! Such a fun time!

P.S. The kids are young, I think they missed you. 4 or 5 days without mom is like a month to them...

Aunt Sharon said...

So fun to see your triple doubles that came in the BYU Magazine in today's mail, Jennie....

duck said...

Sooo cool! I've never been to chicago, but those are some pretty cool pics you took.. makes me wanna go. Your mother is seriously a saint!! I love her. and p.s. you are a big fat liar that you're 5+ months pregnant!!.. you look amazing

Melanie said...

I have been to Chicago many times but your pictures make it look new to me! What a beautiful city.
I think the best part of traveling with out your kids is missing them. I think it is important to get away. Glad you had a great time!

Rachel said...

How fun, Jen! You look beautiful!

Darcy said...

Hey Jen! I am seriously thinking about getting your stroller. What are your thoughts on it?

erin sheely said...

i am so glad that you got to go to chicago! i love all of your pictures. you look fantastic! i love chicago