Friday, September 11, 2009

there's no place like home... *UPDATED!*

Hey Guys,

So my mom and I were in the Windy City this past week (although it was more like the Slightly-Breezy-Very-Foggy City, in my opinion...)

It was great to have so much time away from the house - combined with my trip to Berea/Oberlin, it's the most time away from my house since MAY! Yikes.

Anyway, we did TONS of shopping (fortunately for my dad, we did most of it at discount stores/H&M - the big names we just window shopped). I got some really fantastic pieces at SUPER low prices. I absolutely love love love H&M, and Chicago's Michigan Avenue store was definitely the best I've ever been in - even better than the last time I was in New York! I'm really into the whole 80's revival, and it was definitely in full swing at H&M. I found an amazing super pale denim jacket with puffy sleeves and really nice details on the bottom. I also found the perfect pair of lace up high-heeled oxfords and a variety of brightly colored tights (although I wore the shimmery purple ones to the bar last night and snagged them on a stool and didn't notice til there was already a hole - any advice on fixing that would be so welcome!). We also stopped by Filene's Basement (which I'd been hearing about but never visited). There was a lot of not-so-great stuff there, but a few reallllllly sweet finds for my mom and I. She got a couple of really cute things, and I found a pair of Betsey Johnson massively awesome rhinestoned sandals. Originally $250 and I found them for $60... I almost died.

We did a couple of tours - a bus tour around the city, and a really cool architecture tour on the Chicago River. Unfortunately, I forgot my sunscreen and ended up with a moderately scorched scalp. Bit of warning to all of you readers with cancer: NEVER forget to wear sunscreen on your bald head, even if you don't think you'll need it! It was super foggy when we went on our tour, and my mom & I both managed to get sunburned. A rosy scalp neither feels good nor is an attractive look. I've been moisturizing like crazy to make sure that it doesn't start to peel (which I'm pretty sure would just drive the boys crazy...)

Anyway, we also took a day trip to Oak Park to check out Ernest Hemingway's birthplace, as well as the 35(ish) Frank Lloyd Wright homes in town. This may make me sound like an idiot, but before that trip I'd always thought that Wright had been designing in the 50's - I'd had no idea that it was really the 1890's and early 1900's. That makes him even more impressive. Instead of doing the typical walking tour, my mom and I stumbled upon Rickshaw Rick - which sounds extra-cheesy, but really he was AMAZING! He took us all around Oak Park on an actual rickshaw. He knew so much about everything in Oak Park, and gave my mom and I a great tour. If any of you are planning a trip to Chicago, I definitely recommend a day in Oak Park with Rick.

My Mom & I in the rickshaw before the tour... Lookin' good in our shades

My lovely Mom in front of Ernest Hemingway's birthplace

We stayed in this very European little hotel called the Raffaello - also highly recommended. The beds were some of the most comfortable I've ever slept in, and the rooms were excellent - clean, light, and very pretty. The only thing was that they weren't particularly "service" oriented (no room service that I noticed, not very much concierge service) but I'm cool with that. Plus, we found an authentic Italian cafe (coffee, pastries, bar, lunch service) just down the street that we ate breakfast at every day. Our last day I even managed to remember enough to order in Italian (from the real Italians who work there). The Raffaello is in an amazing location as well - on Delaware, just block off of Michigan, and right by the John Hancock building. Right by all of the best shopping, but far enough off Michigan that it's quiet and peaceful, even in the city. It's also located right next to the Casino Club - an EXTREMELY mysterious and exclusive club for billionaires. No, not millionaires - BILLIONAIRES. Plus, Oprah's main residence is just around the corner. Awesome neighborhood!

Me on a fountain at the Presbyterian Church across the street from the Hancock Building

Me eating lunch & sipping champagne at the American Girl Cafe

I totally forgot to write about the fantastic lunch my mom and I had at the American Girl Cafe in Chicago... It was almost like a tea party - dolls included! We (obviously) hadn't brought any of my American Girl dolls along, so they even let us borrow one (actually... the sort of forced her on us, haha) to have lunch with! My mom and I each had a drink - I can't remember what it was called - that was cranberry and champagne - SO GOOD! For lunch, we got a "welcome" of a warm cinnamon roll, an appetizer of veggies and strawberries with cheese, a main course of cheese & cranberry quiche (great with the champagne!) and a dessert with a piece of cake, a cookie, and a cup of chocolate mousse (OMG sooooo delicious). We got tiny portions of everything, but when it all added up, we were so full by the end! The decor was amazing, too - lots of black and white and pink, with chandeliers decorated with daisies. Definitely not little-girly, but plenty whimsical!

I'm off to bed (again...) but I'll be back soon - tomorrow we're going to the Cincinnati Zoo for a Children's Hospital event. I'm excited to go back to the zoo for the first time in YEARS! I'll hopefully have lots of pictures and stories.

Lots of Love,


  1. you sound like youre on a shopping spree.. i have a feeling that you will visit that feline store again.. atleast one more time before leaving chicago. ive seen the pics of oak park before. beautiful place.. must had been quite the tour. you written nicely about it. i had gone for a pigrimage once when i was in college, where i had to shave my head and walk around. i remember how that felt. especially walking around in that sun with a bald head. so i know what you mean. i guess you need a nice hat . you should check some out. waiting for those pics of yours from the zoo.. have fun!

  2. haha youre an h&m fan like i am. i live in nyc. im not sure which h&m's you went to but we have PLENTY all with different feels.

    and yes, peeling brings all the boys to the yard. :) hope u have a great time at the zoo

  3. Wow the cheese and cranberry quiche sounds sooo good.... any idea what kind of cheese it was?

    It sounds like you had a really fun girls' trip with your mom!