Chicago: a wedding & time with our godson.

Wednesday, July 4th, our alarm blared at 5:30am. Aaron and I got up, got ready and made our way to LAX.
I was so excited because we were headed to CHICAGO!
and we all know how much I adore that city…. but this time was even more special because we were going to see one of my best friends get married AND to see our awesome godson!

Aaron was able to upgrade our tickets and soon after we arrived at the gate they began boarding priority passengers.

Coffee in hand we boarded the plane and got settled in. yay for more legroom!

We landed in Chicago around 3pm local time. Grabbed our luggage and took the blue line downtown. It was 104 degrees when we landed…  so we had a sweaty train ride and then an even sweatier walk from the blue line stop to our hotel.

We checked into our hotel, changed to some cooler clothes, and then walked the 30ish minute walk to Giordano’s for some much needed deep-dish pizza (and Giordano’s is my favorite place!)
Deep-dish pizza is not necessarily the best food choice when its over a 100 degrees outside, but it was delicious… and well worth wait.

After dinner we walked around my old neighborhood a bit and I was able to snap a photo of my old building. I really love my old neighborhood…

Then we walked to Fox & Obel (my favorite market) and then along the lakefront, through Millenium Park and Grant Park and then back to our hotel. It was HOT but as the sun began to set a slight breeze rolled in and it started feeling quite pleasant.

[Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park]

People were everywhere waiting for the fireworks to start; we made our way to the Irish Pub at the bottom level of our hotel and found a table outside to enjoy some water, beer, and listen to the fireworks (we couldn’t see them due to trees; which was fine be me). It was a lovely evening and I was just glad to be back in Chicago.

 [our hotel, the Hilton Chicago]

We made our way up to our room, showered, and then climbed into bed. We could see suburb fireworks going off in various directions in the distance right from our hotel bed; which was a nice surprise! We watched them as we fell asleep.

Thursday we woke up, got ready, and headed to Yolk (one of my favorite breakfast places in Chicago!) to meet up with Casey, Melissa, and our adorable godson Dexter (who has gotten so big!)

 [Eggs Florentine at Yolk]

After breakfast we wandered around Michigan Ave going in-and-out of stores to take advantage of their air conditioning. We stopped at Vosges and grabbed some of their delicious chocolate covered toffee and went to the Lego Store for Dexter 🙂

Then we made our way to Wicker Park for some delicious beer and pizza (yes, pizza again, but a different style!) at this fantastic place we try to visit each trip, Piece Brewery & Pizzeria.

Rain came out of nowhere and it poured while we were eating, luckily the rain stopped just as we were leaving so we were able to walk around a bit in some cooler temperatures before the humidity took over.

We took the train back to our hotel so that we could shower and change, and then we headed back out on the [very steamy at this point!] blue line towards Casey and Melissa’s house.
Our friends Peter and Diana came over and we enjoyed some dinner and beer. Peter never disappoints in the beer department (being a beer distributor and all) and, per usual, we enjoyed a tasting flight of various fantastic (and rare!) beers:

 [Apocalypse Cow by Three Floyds Brewing Co.]
 [Zombie Dust by Three Floyds Brewing Co.]

 [Rabbid Rabbit by Three Floyds Brewing Co.]

[Frangelic Mountain Brown by Founders Brewing Co.]
[Dexter was sleepy from watching us taste so many beers]
We stayed at Casey & Melissa’s until it was way too late (and we were a little too buzzed) so we headed to the train and went back to our hotel to crash.

Friday we got up, and went to breakfast at Yolk, again.
Then we checked out of the hotel and went to pick up our rental car. I have never used a car in Chicago (it seems so weird to me since the CTA and Metra can get you where ever you need to go!) but we were heading out to the suburbs and actually needed one. We picked up a fellow bridesmaid, Marissa, on our way, and then embarked on our more than an hour commute to the suburb of West Chicago & St Charles.

We arrived at the venue RIGHT as rehearsal was starting (thank goodness for good timing) and we quickly did a practice run of the [outdoor!] wedding in 100+ degree heat and relentless sunshine.

Afterwards we headed to our hotel to check in, and shower. We went down to the brides room and helped as everyone did some last minute wedding things… well as steam my dress and Aaron’s suit. I’m so glad the bride’s sister brought her steamer with her!

Everyone headed to a nearby Irish Pub for the very low key and very lovely rehearsal dinner. The majority of us came back to the hotel and enjoyed a beer in the lobby before all heading to bed before the big day.

Saturday we got up and found some much needed coffee. I met the bride and fellow bridesmaids in the hotel board room to get our hair and make up done. Time flew by quickly and before we knew it, it was time to head to the venue.

Once at the venue (a very pretty golf club) we were able to get the bride in her dress and the last minute, tiny details taken care of.
The coordinator came in and let us know it was time to begin and we got outside to our “holding area” to discover that the temperature had dropped to a pleasant 80 something degrees with a cool wind! It was perfect!

The ceremony went on without any problems, the couple exchanged their vows and we took our pictures in the best weather we had experienced in days. The reception was lovely and we danced (and drank!) the night away until it was time to go back to the hotel.

Sunday we got up (later than we would have liked) and slowly got ready, packed up our things, checked out of the hotel and headed to another suburb to the bride’s parents home.

We enjoyed a “Chicago-style” cook out for lunch, said our goodbyes and congratulations’ to the bride and groom and then headed back to the city to drop off our rent car. The rental car location was [thankfully] right by the blue line, so we hopped on that and made one last stop at Casey and Melissa’s to give our godson one more hug before leaving….. and enjoyed a beer on the patio with Casey 🙂

We hopped back on the blue line, got to O’Hare, made our way through security and onto the plane.
6 hours later we were home. And exhausted.

We made it back to LA with some great mid-west beer and a bottle of wine thanks to the bride & groom 🙂 they know us too well!

[a great selection of Chicago area beers]

 [a bottle of wine with the Chemistry of fermentation on it;
The bride is contributing to my Chemistry nerd-ness!)
We are already trying to plan our next trip to Chicago. Its such a great city filled with some wonderful people…. and we cant wait to spend more time with them.

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