Monday, August 2, 2010

Chicago According to Ryan and a Few OOTDs

Hey there, happy Monday!  I am experiencing a happiness hangover today after spending the last few days showing my little brother the city of Chicago!  I had been begging my parents to send Ryan up from Texas, and after an early bout of homesickness and some tears to my dad, the ticket was bought and the plans were made.  We had an incredible time, and though I am so sad my little bro is back home, I am still giddy from the fun we had this weekend.  Here are “a few” pictures from his stay in our new city.  (I saw “a few” because yall know I can’t ever just post two or three pictures!)

DSCN3383Here we are at the airport Wednesday night, with Ryan fresh off the plane.  I hadn’t seen my brother since we said goodbye in Texas, so I was really excited to see him.  And I swear he has grown three feet since I saw him last!

DSCN3396 Thursday morning we headed into the city.  Our first stop…the John Hancock Observatory.  I did the Hancock a few years ago when Matt and I were in Chicago for a conference (translation: Matt was attending a conference; I tagged along for the vacation), but seeing it now that I have more of a reference point for the city was really great.  Plus, they just redid their audio tours, and not to sound like a huge audio-tour loving nerd, but they’re really good.  An added bonus…David Schwimmer narrates the tour :)

DSCN3400 The view from the 94th floor is, in my opinion, the best in the city.  This picture captures what I love so much about Chicago.  They’ve got buildings, sights, and city things galore, yet they also have outdoor space that just can’t be beat.  It really is the best of both worlds (cue Miley Cyrus!)

DSCN3391   Pulling a Ferris Bueller, Ryan leaned his forehead against the glass and said, “I think I see my dad.”  Funny, funny kid, I tell you.

DSCN3404 Self shots never get old, especially when you’re a thousand feet in the air!

DSCN3406For lunch, I met up with Melissa, a dear friend from high school.  (Ryan wanted to meet up with some friends from his old school in England who live in Chicago, so it worked out perfectly.)  Melissa is one of the most wonderful people I know.  She tells it like it is, and I love that about her.  We lunched on the Magnificent Mile at the Ralph Lauren Restaurant.  The weather was insanely gorgeous, and we got the perfect little patio table.  After lunch, we shopped till we dropped, though I was well behaved and only bought a dress :)

DSCN3419Friday night, we celebrated Ryan’s 18th birthday back at our place.  His birthday was earlier in the month, but since we weren’t in Texas to celebrate, we celebrated a little late.  After a yummy steak dinner (thanks Matt!), we sang “happy birthday” over a delicious coconut gelato cake from Whole Foods (that I may or may not have had for breakfast this morning.)  We got this crazy candle for free last year when we ordered all of the sparklers for our wedding exit.  On the box, the candle promised to “sparkle.”  That was a severe understatement, because as you can see, we had a fireworks show in our apartment in the middle of the cake!

DSCN3424-1Saturday morning, we hopped on the red line and headed towards the museum campus.  I am finally figuring out the Chicago train system, and was so thrilled to go all weekend without getting lost, going the wrong way, or having to ask for directions!

DSCN3427We walked through Grant Park and stopped at the “headless bigfoot army statues.”  I’m certain that is what the sculptors meant to call this piece…

DSCN3433 :)

DSCN3432Walking around Chicago never gets old to me.  (Ok, I lie, last year when we visited in January, walking around in the snow for longer than thirty minutes was kind of miserable.)  But when its as gorgeous as it was this past weekend, I could walk anywhere and everywhere!

DSCN3436En route to the museum, we stopped for Chicago dogs.  I’m still a tourist and ask for ketchup and mustard only.  I’m unphased by the dirty looks from the hot dog man.  No surprise though, Ryan was adventurous and went Chicago style with all the fixins.

DSCN3471We spent the day at the Shedd Aquarium, without a doubt one of the best aquariums in the world.  Its just as cool on the inside as it is on the outside.  Note to self: trying to go on a Saturday is a horrible idea.  A horrible idea that resulted in us becoming “members” so we could avoid the hour and a half wait time lol.  We figure we’ll visit the museum several times this year, particularly when guests are in town, so it seemed like a good “investment.”  (Or a really expensive way to avoid an hour and a half wait!)

DSCN3450Inside the aquarium.  Did I mention this place was really well done?

DSCN3463After we’d seen most of the aquarium, we had some time to kill before the dolphin show, so we headed outside and sat in the park that connects the aquarium to the planetarium.  It was so nice to just relax and people watch for a bit.  The view was amazing, and the company was even better!

DSCN3464 Sometimes I still can’t believe we live here!

DSCN3466And in case great weather and fun family aren’t enough, we added soft serve ice cream cones to complete our Saturday :)

DSCN3477After the dolphin show (which was slightly underwhelming), we headed to Buckingham fountain, one of my favorite places in the city!  During the John Hancock audio tour, I found out that the fountain does a water show every hour on the hour so we headed over, grabbed a few iced coffees, and parked ourselves on a bench for an hour.  If you visit Chicago, you have to come sit and enjoy this little gem.  I could literally sit here for hours!

DSCN3478After Buckingham fountain, we headed to Lincoln Park to meet our friends, Matt and Christie, for dinner at Cafe Ba Ba Reeba.  I love love love this restaurant and can’t get enough of their yummy tapas and sangria.  Though my brother just got back from spending three weeks in Salamanca, Spain, he agreed that Cafe Ba Ba Reeba’s tapas are out of this world amazing!

DSCN3481 Sunday was Ryan’s last day in Chicago, so we headed in early to squeeze in a few last things before he left.  Looking at all these pictures makes me miss him already :(

DSCN3487 After a quick lunch downtown, we did the Chicago River Architecture Boat Tour.  We first did the tour shortly after moving to Chicago, and we loved it so much, we wanted to do it again.  If you are in town, you have to do this tour.  Its a bit pricey, but its a really great way to see the city and hear some interesting facts about Chicago.

DSCN3488After the tour and a little Cubs shirt shopping for Ryan, we hit up Millennium Park.  I had been wanting to snap some pics there all weekend.

DSCN3494I will never ever get tired of taking pictures in The Bean.  (Its really called “Cloud Gate” but I prefer the local lingo.)  Can you spot us?!

DSCN3492There we are! :)

DSCN3501Hahahaha, I am a picture taking nerd that will never tire of these photo ops :)  Judging from Matt’s face though, apparently he will lol.

DSCN3506We made a last minute stop at Garrett’s popcorn, and we bought some of the “Chicago mix” (aka cheese and caramel popcorn mixed together) to send home to my parents.  Knowing my dad, he is probably snacking on this as we speak.

DSCN3503We snagged a shady spot in Millennium Park to enjoy our afternoon popcorn snack.

DSCN3510The cheesy remnants of Ryan and Matt’s Garrett’s goodness :)

DSCN3504Sadly, the day was coming to an end, and we had to head back to take Ryan to the airport.  It was so hard to say goodbye at the airport, and I may or may not have cried most of the way home.  My little brother is the light of my life and has been for the past 18 years.  Being far away from him is really hard, but weekends like this past one make it much more bearable.  We had so much fun, and Matt and I are already counting down till Ryan’s next visit to Chicago!

I’ve also included a few of my OOTDs from the weekend.  My typical outfit for a summer day seeing the city tends to be a jersey dress, tissue cardigan, sandals, and a colorful accessory.  This weekend was no exception!


Dress: Banana Republic

Cardigan: Ann Taylor

Necklace: Target

Earrings: my wedding day gift from Matt

Ring: David Yurman

Sunglasses: Juicy Couture

Sandals: Rampage via Macys


Dress: Max and Cleo {last seen here}

Cardigan: the Gap

Hat: Dillards {last seen here}

Bracelet: vintage

Sandals: Sam Edelman via Nordstrom

Sunglasses: Prada

And since this post was all about our special guest from Texas, I thought it was only fair he get his own little OOTD shout out :)


Tshirt: the Gap

Shorts: Abercrombie and Fitch

Shades: H&M

Sandals: picked up in Italy on our vacation two years ago

Watch: Adidas

Good looks: from his sister ;)

Hope your weekend was fabulous!


Meghan said...

Reading about your outing in Chicago, I was recently up there in the beginning of July (my older sister lives there), and I noticed you took an architectural boat tour, I hope you didn't use Windella (sp?), we used them and our tour guide got sick (hungover) the whole hour and a half tour!! Hope you had better luck!

Jules said...

Your pictures make me want to travel to Chicago NOW. I have only ever heard great things. I especially love the view from the 94th floor and the pictures from before/after the dolphin show. Looks like you guys had an amazing weekend!

Rachel said...

so fun! Love him...cant wait to take pics of Ryan!!! EEK! You guys are Adorable!

Allison said...

Jules, you should definitely visit Chicago, it is a fantastic city, I love it!

Meghan, that is horrible! We did use Wendella, but we've had good luck both times with guides. I think if I were in your spot, I would have definitely had to have asked for my money back! That is terrible!

TeachingInHeels said...

Great visit with your brother!! I would love to go back to Chicago, since I was there for under 24 much to see!!

Pixie said...

omgoodness you have made me want to go and see everything, maybe one day we will get there. It looks like you had fun with your brother, hope he can visit you again soon, its hard when you live so far away. x

Chloe said...

You + you brother = major, major cuteness! Love this post, and um...send some cheese + caramel popcorn to MEEE! I love eating it that way! Must be a midwest thing, as I've yet to see it here in Colorado. :(

I've never been to Chicago, but it's definitely on my list. Now, to actually put that list in motion...

Maggie said...

Yay for Cubs shirt shopping! Great pictures!

Kendall and Brooks said...

um...Ryan has facial hair. That is all.

Christina said...

Aww, I love reading about you and your brother. You are both so cute! I have a similar relationship with my little brother and hope that my daughter will grow up similarly with her brother. Hope you get to see your little brother again soon!

Mel said...

Great photo's - you guys had a blast! Email me the photo of RL Cafe for my scrapbook please? Your awesome! Great to catch up!

Tina said...

Ohhh it looks like you had so much fun!! Thats so great you and your brother have such an awesome relationship! :) And your outfits are adorable, as always!!

Tina said...

OMG you and your brother are SO cute - physically & your relationship!!!!! Your outfits are adorable too. I really enjoyed reading about your tour of Chicago and it helps me know what to do when I go (I've been twice and never did a proper tour). One thing though - boo to the Cubs - go Cards! :)

Evi said...

haha you are too cute! i loved looking at all your pictures, looks like you had an incredible time :)