December 13, 2011

Travel Tuesday: To Chicago (and back) We Go

It was a whirlwind weekend for this curious puppy - we made our first trip to Chicago to visit our college bestie Dr. Meg for a surprise birthday party, with some great stops for work along the way, and then flew back early Sunday to see the lovely {av} and join in her first-ever Blogger Blitz Washington at one of our favorite restaurants, Urbana.
Vintage suitcases in the lobby of The James. So fun!
My beautiful room - chic and minimalist.

Along the way, we got to explore some of the Windy City's best sights, including a stay at The James Chicago (which we conveniently booked using SniqueAway, one of our favorite travel sale sites). From there, we headed down the Magnificent Mile and did a bit of shopping before popping into hotspot The Purple Pig with our good friend B, a new Chicago resident. Sadly, it was a bit crowded, so we opted for the less chic but nevertheless quite good Bandera before enjoying a long afternoon of shopping.
Spiked Hot Chocolate, YUM

The great menu - there was even a "toppings" bar!
It was freezing, so we warmed up with spiked hot chocolate at the Park Hyatt Chicago's NoMi restaurant, which offers great views of the lake and downtown's shopping district, before yours truly headed over to luxe hotel The Elysian for a relaxing spa afternoon. The facilities were gorgeous and the treatment quite good, but the staff, in our opinion, could use some work for the cost and rating given the hotel.

Then it was a quick stop at Barney's to freshen our makeup - where we met and chatted with celeb makeup artist Claudio Riaz - before heading to drinks at Sable in the Hotel Palomar with Dr. Meg and another college friend, A. Can you say awesome? Loved the tequila cocktail "Second Wind" and the delish chicken and waffles, but the whole menu was great. Of course it's a sister resto to our fave Urbana, which we went to on Sunday ... no shock there.
Claudio Riaz via Arizona Foothills Magazine
That's the "Second Wind" up front - you can't see the great sidecars they came with!

Sunday was full of shopping before a surprise party for Dr. Meg at Bangers & Lace in Wicker Park, where we sampled our first Chicago-style hot dog. Yum! Then it was off to what might be the most hipster hangout we've ever visited - a place called Rite Liquors, which happened to be a bar INSIDE a liquor store. So creepy, so awesome. I wish I'd taken a photo. Tres fun.
Chicago Dog! Image via The Paupered Chef

One more night at The James (we were so sad to see it go!) and it was back to DC, where we met up with {av} for Blogger Blitz DC! It was so great to meet and chat with 40 of the city's most fashionable and fun lady bloggers.
The best nametags I've ever seen.

Totally worth the $10 entrance fee to get this great lookbook of all of the gals!

We can't wait to check out all of your blogs, including the adorable gals behind  The Capital Barbie, Julip Made, A Lacey Perspective, Rosa Loves DC and many, many more.

We've got a lot of reading for this week - but don't miss tomorrow's great installment of Wellness Wednesday, where the team from Sports Club LA has a workout sure to keep you looking fab in those holiday cocktail dresses!


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