First stop- Boyfriend M and I drove six hours to see two of my absolute best friends, MA and ADP. We arrived super late, so we nixed our original dinner plans and went out for greasy pizza and beers instead. It was fun to hang out with MA and her boyfriend and ADP and her husband. Boyfriend M and I stayed at ADP's house and I told her, "I can't believe we're old enough for husbands and houses!" Our trip to visit MA and ADP was too short - I need to visit you girls again soon!
Second stop- The college town where my sister lives. We spent Saturday (the 12th) exploring her campus and city. Boyfriend M, sister H and I boarded a train around 10pm that evening and rode overnight to a little city in Illinois where my aunt lives.
On Sunday we took a huge nap - sleep on the train was near impossible - and then went out for margaritas. We explored the town some, went out for coffee, and watched Portlandia.
Monday we walked to an art market and got buttery croissants for breakfast. M, H, and I walked around the town peeking into bookstores and antique shops. Then we discovered an Urban Outfitters and spent a good portion of the afternoon - and a good portion of our wallets - inside. For dinner, Aunt K made salmon and sweet potatoes and then took us out for frozen custard. And then we began an epic battle of Settlers of Catan (this is a game that we played daily/religiously/unabashedly).
Third stop - Chicago.
Before going to the Windy City, I e-mailed Laura and asked for coffee shop and dessert recommendations. She was super helpful and hilarious! When recommending a couple dessert shops within close proximity, she suggested a dessert crawl. Perhaps if we hadn't eaten giant cinnamon rolls as an appetizer (see below), we would have done the dessert crawl/sugar coma thing. We did, though, go to The Bourgeois Pig Cafe in Lincoln Park, which was one of Laura's picks. The mochas at Bourgeois are divine, and the chandeliers and chalkboard menus make the cafe feel cozy. (Thanks so much for your help, Laura!)
While in Chicago we also shopped around in Andersonville, visited Millennium Park, enjoyed deep dish pizza at Giordano's, and stood in the sky-box at the Sears/Willis Tower.
A quirky shop in Andersonville/Chicago - Foursided; I love this section of romance cards, simply called "Lovey Crap"
Pretty things at an antique shop (Roost) in Andersonville/Chicago
Looking 108 stories down onto the streets of Chicago; Sears/Wills Tower
The perfect sweet & salty snack: Garrett Popcorn (another pick from Laura; thanks!)
We got back from Chicago on Wednesday and spent the day lounging around and exploring the city my aunt lives in. We went on a bike ride, checked out the local artist co-op, ate too many pastries, played Catan, and hung out with our cousin. Then Aunt K made a lovely dinner:
Delicious dinner Aunt K made: snow crab legs, salad, and blueberries
On Thursday boyfriend M, sister H and I walked to a burger joint and then had dessert a cute cupcake shop. I had a cinnamon cupcake with spicy pepper buttercream and sugar cinnamon sprinkle...and I've been craving another one ever since. In the afternoon, we shopped some more (sorry, boyfriend M!), and played with our aunt's dogs. Our aunts took us out to a local Thai place for dinner and then afterward we all watched a documentary called Catfish (creepy!). It was an unordinary St. Patrick's Day - especially compared to St. Patrick's Day 2010 in Destin, Florida with friends (another story for another day) - but it was so nice to relax and soak up conversation with family.
Friday we took an early morning bike ride and grabbed crossiants from the art market. Then our aunt drove us back to sister H's college town. We spent the weekend laughing, going on a late-night donut run, sipping good cold coffee at a quirky coffee shop, and watching my sister graduate from her bike mechanic class. (She's so cool!)
We departed ways with Aunt K and sister H and drove to my hometown. Sunday morning boyfriend M and I went to church with my mom and step-dad and then we all went to brunch.
First day of spring; taken while having brunch
Sunday evening I drove back to my college town and prepared for a busy week.
I'm sorry this took so long to post! I think the craziness is winding down...at least until next week. I still plan to share a recipe and a plant tutorial with you all soon.
Thanks so much for reading! Xo.