If you've been around these parts over the past year or so, you are familiar with how my blogger turned real life friendship (ahem-sisterhood) with Steph came about. We have officially had adventures together all the way from Naples FL, to Ohio, to Texas-TWICE (Houston, San Antonio, and the Texas Hill Country), and lastly as of this past weekend we added Chicago to the list.

I would say the worst part of these trips we take together is how fast they seem to go, as usual. Can't we get like three whole weeks together?! That would be really ideal. However, the best part of our trips together, and what I try to focus on, is realizing that these are only the beginning. We have so many more ahead of us (and are usually already planning for the next by the time I'm writing this), and I can thank this awesome blogging world for bringing us together and making this happen. I get excited just thinking about what is next for us! Steph and Beau will always be a part of my life and I'm (we) are so incredibly thankful for this.

So, let's get into this Chicago recap, shall we?

We stayed at the gorgeous Ritz-Carlton Chicago, Michigan Ave location.

 {views from our room}
 {the lobby}

This hotel is stunning, in a great location, is pet friendly, and has an outdoor bar situated in the back that has a fireplace and is really fancy. Highly recommend staying here if you get the opportunity! We were so shocked with how accommodating they were with Rocky - they had bowls and fresh water set out for him when we arrived and it was honestly really easy having him there with us!

In fact, he told us he was living the high life and prefers the hotel life... ;)

King Rocky says please arrange your luggage at the bottom of the bed so I can jump up and down easier and look even more spoiled rotten.

We all arrived really late Thursday evening, so we actually just went to a small bar where one of Beau's friends works to visit with him and have a casual night together. That casual night turned into us staying up until 4am, meeting random ladies in the elevator with questionable outfits ("WHOA LADY!"), and housing leftover cheesecake to the face like a boss (#classy) in our hotel room.

The next day, our main goal was just to walk around the city to see everything and to take our time exploring everything. Aka: be complete tourists. We wanted to enjoy our time together and not be super rushed, so we kind of just started by walking all the way down Michigan Ave. and stopping at all the "hot spots"!


One thing we knew for sure was that we wanted to get famous deep dish Chicago style pizza (how could you not?! Steph's no cheese diet wasn't going to get in the way of this!) and we were going to go to Lou Malnati's, but it was a little farther from where we were and our hotel concierge recommended Gino's East, so we decided to go there.

We actually got seated really quickly here, the service was great and the building was really cool, but we didn't love the pizza. Was it good? Absolutely! Who dislikes pizza of any kind? But we just didn't love it. Everyone has their own preferences, so if you are visiting don't let that stop you from going here.

 waiting for our seat at Gino's

From what I've heard though (and from some of your rec's!), Lou Malnati's is the best of the best, so I think I will be taking a trip back so I can say I tried it and compare the two. :) Yup, that's a must.

After we got our pizza fix, we explored some more by going to see THE BEAN, Millenium Park, and going into a few shops.

 {sigh...how cute are they? such Chicago studs!}
{can you spot us in the bean in this pic? :)}

All of these things are "must-do's" when visiting Chicago! Everything was just so beautiful. I loved seeing all the different buildings (the last time I was in Chicago was when I was in my early teens and I don't remember a lot of it) and the river.

After all of the walking around we did, we decided to go to the top of the Trump Tower for drinks and to see the view of the city because we had heard the view could not be beat. At $12 for a beer, we decided to skip the drinks and just take in the view, then go back to our room for the drink part. ha.

All of these pictures are taken from the top of the Trump Tower....one of the best views I have ever seen and let's just not talk about the pretty blue skies.

After some drinks and naps (from some of us), we ended up going to dinner at Shaw's Crab House, and Beau's friend Chris joined us here as well. The food here was great...all of us got the seafood platter (crab cake, scallops, shrimp) except Billy, and he got the fried shrimp. :)

After dinner, we decided to venture to some bars. Looking back, we hardly got any pictures from after dinner any of the nights because we were just having so much fun that pulling out our cameras seemed like a not so pleasant idea.

We went to this crazy, semi secret lounge called The Violet Hour in the Wicker Park area, where the door is hidden and it's pitch black on the inside and is pretty upscale and swanky.

The Violet Hour's house rule is this: "please do not bring anyone to The Violet Hour that you wouldn't bring to your mother's house for Sunday dinner." Dead serious.

They don't take reservations and they have no light beer, but they do have a crazy good cocktail menu. It was definitely a different experience and fun seeing.

via The Violet Hour

Afterwards, we headed to more of a "college style" bar called Trinity, where Chris's girlfriend works, and me and Steph had the time of our lives here.

We played beer pong against these recent college graduates boys and completely worked the table. Would you expect any less from us?! Why we have no pictures of this epic beer pong experience is beyond me, but I really wish I did at this point. There was dancing, more dancing, some creepers on the side, and so many laughs (oh wait, this would explain the no pictures part.)

Honestly one of my favorite times that I've had with Steph. It was like we were back in college together tearing it up on the beer pong table......which, by the way, we would have DEFINITELY done if we went to the same college. ;)

OK OK, that's a wrap for Part 1.

Part 2 includes much more goodness...trust me. Stay tuned! :)



  1. I LOVE Chicago! I'm so glad you guys had fun! Love all these pictures! Especially the one of you and Steph holding hands! I can't wait to read part 2!

  2. Chicago is definitely on my must visit list! It looks like y'all had a blast! Can't wait to see part 2!

  3. So much fun! Don't you just love the blue blue skies in Chicago! I swear they are always that way! Lou Malnati's is Derek's fav and Giordano's is mine! Highly suggest both. So now the question is....do you love Nashville or Chicago more? They are so close in my experience of my favorite cities!

  4. Saturday was definitely the better weather of the weekend.
    Glad to see you enjoyed your time here.

  5. AHHH SO FUN i want to see chicago so bad!!

    beer pong against college boys...wouldnt expect anything less! i love you guys!!

    and rocky...king of the ritz. such a little stud!


  6. That hotel was gorgeous!! Too cute you both wore green military jackets! Looks like you had a blast!! Beer Pong Champs of Chicago!

  7. You can tell y'all had so much fun!! Y'all really did squeeze a lot into a few days!! Can't wait to see more!!

  8. Oh my gosh! I absolutely love your heart picture in the Bean. I went to Chicago in 2003 when I was on Oprah and although we did go downtown, I had never even heard of the bean until seeing it on a picture on a blog! What an amazing trip that you had and how fun is that that you have made such a fantastic relationship through blogging! And that hotel, oh em gee!

  9. I can't believe you guys became friends IRL from the blog world! :)
    That's absolutely wonderful to hear, seeing that I am new to this blog world...
    This trip looks fun!

    Born and raised in Chicago, and you definitely hit the high points.
    If you ever come back, you should try doing tea time at the peninsula!



  10. Love it all! :) One of these day's I'll get to Chicago! Totally envious of you and Steph's friendship- it's seriously beautiful!

  11. This makes me SO excited to be going to Whitney tomorrow!!! I love that you match in your green jackets. But where's the part about you chucking you r phone. Still waiting on that story.

  12. It looks like you had so much fun and Chicago looks beautiful! That pizza looks delish, but I'll talk your word for it, and if I ever go I'll be sure and try the famous pizza joint!

    Hosting my 1st giveaway!


  13. Looks like you guys had a blast! It is so much fun reading your posts about each other, it is absolutely amazing that blogging brought you guys together for life!! Friendships like what you two have are hard to come by!! Cant wait to read recap 2!!!

  14. Gotta love the Magnificent Mile!!

  15. Looks like such a fun weekend and it's so cool that you two girls have such a strong friendship thanks to blogging. Chicago is on my must visit list- looking forward to part 2.

  16. I loved following you and Steph on Instagram during your trip--looks like you had a great time! I love Chicago, it's such a fun city...I need to go for a visit soon! xoxo

  17. Yay! you went to Violet Hour! It's an experience. PS- we are having a drink next time you come to town. Glad you had a good time. I've lived here for 2.5 years and still have so much to explore.

  18. Ooooh okay so you left out the part about why your phone got broken ;) Steph spilled the beans on the twit so now I'm curious! Either way, looks like a blast and makes me miss Chicago! I need to go back for a visit soon!

  19. You look so pretty! You girls look like you definitely lived it up. Makes me wanna visit Chicago that much more!

  20. Looks so fun!! I would love to take a trip to Chicago sometime!!

  21. Love part one :) Cannot wait to see part two! & I love how you all set the suitcases up for sweet Rocky!

  22. What a fun trip! Cant wait to see part 2!

  23. Ah I loved Chicago! You should have went to Lou Malnati's they literally had hands down the best salad ever.. I know I know your suppose to have pizza but seriously the salad was to die for. I love that Rocky came! Adorable!

  24. Chicago looks like a nice city! I love seeing and learning about new places across the globe through blog posts like this :)

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  25. That pizza looks delicious! What a fun city!


  26. Sounds like a blast!! Love that you went a couple weeks after us but hit up ALL new places. And the Ritz sounds so nice...you fancy huh!

  27. Awesome photos of a great trip girls - always such fun when you two are together!
    Now please come and visit me next ?!?!

  28. I am so in love with that city. Looks like day 1 was a big success. :)

  29. Chicago is on my bucket list. It's just one city I think I'd love
    Looks like you all were tearing it up! So much fun!
    Can't wait till part 2

  30. Chicago is so much fun!! We are going again next April. Gino's East was our first stop last time...in fact, our names are in white out under the bar ;)


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